Being a rabbi (in a business or political relationship)

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    Did you know that the term being someone’s “rabbi”, in the context of a business or political relationship, means (with no religious or spiritual significance) “a primary sponsor or protector”, although there’s a second meaning of “mentor or teacher”.

    From “Safire’s Political Dictionary” (by William Safire):

    rabbi: Sponsor, or sage adviser; mentor.

    When given a unique political sense, this word has no religious or spiritual significance. In political relationships, a rabbi is primarily a sponsor or protector, although there is a second meaning of mentor or teacher.

    Safire then compares the term rabbi (in the above context) to the term “guru” and notes that “In political usage, guru is for outsiders, rabbi is for insiders.”


    So why can’t a woman be a Rabbi?


    Because according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of the noun sage is “a profoundly wise man.


    This sounds analogous to referring to a secular book as the “bible” for a particular area of knowledge. E.g., if you’re manufacturing widgets, “So-and-so’s book on making widgets is the bible.”


    I’ve referred to a place as a Mecca before. Was that wrong?

    Like-minded people really do flock and congregate in this particular city.

    Now that I’ve read thus thread, that must sound weird to someone who regards Mecca as a holy place. I totally meant it in a secular way.

    Interesting. I don’t know how I’d react if I heard someone casually referring to a rabbi as some business or political mentor.

    Avi K

    At least at one time a “rabbi” in nYc political parlance was someone who gave a person protektzia for a job. Perhaps a woman would be a rabbit.

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