Why Do We Daven for the Sick Using the Mother's Name?
When we say Tehilim for sick people we always ask for a refuah for the person using their name and their mother's name. Why do we not use the father's name? The Maharshal answers (Shabbos 66b) that people recognize that the mother is the true mother while with a father it is less clear.
Rav Binyomin Zilber (Az Nidbiru 14:24) explains that the establishment of paternity is only by assumption, using the rule of Rov that most children are the son of their mother's husband. One of the fundamentals of Tefila says Rav Zilber is that things must be presented with crystal clarity before Hashem. Hashem is truth and our tefilos must be based on pure truth as if we see it before our eyes and not based on a Halachic truth.
He proves this from the gemara (Yuma 69b) that says that after the Churban Yirmiya and Daniel took the words Nora and Gibor out of the description of Hashem in Shmoneh Esrei. The claim was that Hashem could not be seen as awesome and powerful in light of the suffering of His people without any response. The Anshei Knesses HaGedola only restored it after they said that if Hashem was not Nora, how could Am Yisroel survive among the seventy nations and His strength was that He kept quiet and let the Reshaim wreak havoc. The gemara then asks how could the Nevi'im change the language Moshe established. The gemara answers that since Hashem is Emes they could not daven something untruthful.
This begs the question, says Rav Zilber, did the Nevi'im think it was a lie that Hashem was Nora? He answers that since it appeared that Hashem did not have the power to protect His people, and davening must be obviously truthful to all, those words were no longer appropriate. Only after the Anshei Knesses HaGedola determined that in light of all these tragedies Hashem is clearly Gibor and Nora, only then did they agree to restore.
US, 2012-02-11 21:15:02 I heard once that we use the mother's name as a mother invokes a greater level of mercy than a father. Does anyone know the source for this ?DC, 2012-02-12 07:54:45 The Pshat I always heard was Chamira Sakanta Meissura so with regards to Sakana we don't rely on the Rov (Rov B'ilos Achar Habaal)