Reply To: the rav

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ubiquitin: Like you said, it’s subjective. I also refer to R Moshe Feinstein (my grandfather’s rebbi) as Reb Moshe, with obviously the utmost respect. My grandfather calls him Reb Moshe or the Rosh Yeshiva (obviously with even greater respect, having spent many years exposed to his greatness). But in that scenario, it is the convention to say this as a marker of respect. I don’t know if it is the case that in the past just saying JB was considered respectful, but in the current climate it is not, so one cannot use the subjectivity excuse anymore. If there was an era when it was considered respectful, it has long passed. I’ve heard lectures from many of R Soloveitchik’s prominent and close talmidim and spoken intensively with one of them and none of them have ever called him by that name (and one was very outspoken against it). It is “the rav” or “R Soloveitchik.” So it does seem as though whatever convention which may have justified some potential subjective okayness of calling him “JB” has passed.