I understand that when praying for a sick person, whether privately or in a mishaberach following the Torah reading, one should omit honorifics; e.g. not to use "HaRav" when praying for a rabbi, or not inserting "haKohen" or "haLevi" in the name for a kohen or levi. For example, just last night, our rav had us pray for an ill levi without mentioning his tribal status when giving us his name. Many people I know, however, don't know this. What is the source and reasoning for excluding the honorific, and are there any contrary opinions? Is including honorifics wrong?

  • 2
    perhaps, similar to the story on page 6 of this pdf: youngisrael.org/content/PDFs/YouthGroupGuides/… , we don't want Heaven to inspect the person's honorifics too closely, when requesting mercy.
    – Menachem
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 16:33
  • In "What is the source and reasoning for this practice" are you referring to inclusion or exclusion of the honorific?
    – msh210
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 17:15
  • @msh210: I'm asking for the source for exclusion of the honorific AND if there are contrary opinions. Commented May 28, 2013 at 20:00
  • 1
    No source - just a thought. MiSheberach for a sick person uses the mother's name, not the father's. The tribe comes from the father, so is not appropriate to mention it.
    – Epicentre
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 10:19
  • @Epicentre, doesn't explain for a rav. Commented May 22, 2014 at 16:00

1 Answer 1


Sefer Chasidim siman 800:

אדם שמתפלל על אביו אם הוא חולה לא יאמר תרפא אבא מארי או לאדוני אבא רפא

One who is praying for his sick father should not say "Heal my father my master" or "To my master my father heal"

See continuation there, where he brings Elisha not referring to Eliyahu as his master as an example - not just father/son.

Birkei Yosef Yoreh De'ah 242 (explaining Sefer Chasidim1):

אין גבהות לפני המקום

There is no stature (lit. highness) before Hashem

It is inappropriate to mention someone else's stature when speaking to Hashem, as everyone is nothing compared to His greatness.

1Birkei Yosef seems that he is quoting Sefer Chasidim, but I did not find those words in our text of Sefer Chasidim.

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