Calling people with questionable smicha Rabbi
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- This topic has 72 replies, 37 voices, and was last updated 9 years, 2 months ago by yoelhoffman.
February 12, 2013 2:34 am at 2:34 am #995580Veltz MeshugenerMember
This is a great topic because all the people ever who didn’t get smicha were equally accomplished in Torah and all didn’t get smicha for the same reason and all had the same position although it’s not clear from the earlier posters whether it was in klei kodesh or not. It goes without saying that all the people who did get smicha are equally accomplished in Torah and all have the same occupation as spiritual authorities in which they are called upon to rely on their Torah knowledge regularly. That’s why it’s important that there be a rule that all people with smicha be referred to the same was as all other people with smicha, and all people without smicha be referred to the same way as all other people without smicha. Relatedly, if you follow the rules carefully, you will never make the tragic error of calling someone “rabbi” who didn’t deserve it.February 12, 2013 3:06 am at 3:06 am #995581
thegra: ” Yasher Koach to chafetzchaim613 (I cannot agree with you more regarding everything you said).”
Thanks, I appreciate that.
“It goes without saying that all the people who did get smicha are equally accomplished in Torah and all have the same occupation as spiritual authorities….Relatedly, if you follow the rules carefully, you will never make the tragic error of calling someone “rabbi” who didn’t deserve it.”
Charles: “I made a donation of $4000 and got smicha within 6 months; from someone who was also a Medical Doctor, btw.”
I am not surprised (well I am a little) though my own experiences in this area is what inspired me to start this thread in the first place.February 13, 2013 9:55 pm at 9:55 pm #995582goldtoes68Member
You still would call a Catholic Priest, father or a protestant minister, Reverend. Even if you don’t follow their religion. It is a sign of respect. So too should every rabbi you meet be called rabbi or you are just disrespecting the individual.February 13, 2013 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm #995583ari-freeParticipant
mdd asked: Since when did mastery of davka a portion of Y.D. as opposed to anything else make one a Rabbi?
See Sanhedrin 5b. There are 3 classes of semicha. Yoreh Yoreh (can rule on issur/heter), Yadin Yadin (can rule on monetary law) and Yatir Bechoros Yatir (can deal with korbonos issues)February 13, 2013 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm #995584
ari-free: “See Sanhedrin 5b. There are 3 classes of semicha. Yoreh Yoreh (can rule on issur/heter), Yadin Yadin (can rule on monetary law) and Yatir Bechoros Yatir (can deal with korbonos issues)”
The smicha the gemerah was referring has not existed since the 5th century.
goldtoes68: “You still would call a Catholic Priest, father or a protestant minister, Reverend.”
You are really using that to make your point after reading this thread? I suppose you would refer to Jesus as Jesus C. as well because that is a form of respect and is the way he is called in those circles. Did the gemerah refer to a typical sadducee as “Rabbi Sadducee so and so”?
There are many halachic issues with calling a priest father. There was even just a book published “Why Priests?: A Failed Tradition”.
I don’t know if you are being sarcastic or not but thank you for making that point though.February 13, 2013 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm #995585PBTMember
I’ve gotten smicha from a number of charity-seeking organizations who got my address. And even from the former Rov of my shul for his daughter’s chasena. And I’ve never even learned in Yeshiva. I became Baal Teshuva in my early 30s.February 14, 2013 12:19 am at 12:19 am #995586Torah613TorahParticipant
Is there an actual issur, that you are NOT ALLOWED to call someone without smicha, Rabbi?
I have always erred on the side of respect and call everyone, Rabbi, Dr, etc. Let them correct me. But is there a halachic issue in calling someone Rabbi, for darchei shalom?February 14, 2013 1:27 am at 1:27 am #995587
Torah613613Torah: “Is there an actual issur, that you are NOT ALLOWED to call someone without smicha, Rabbi? I have always erred on the side of respect and call everyone, Rabbi, Dr, etc. Let them correct me. But is there a halachic issue in calling someone Rabbi, for darchei shalom?”
I think you can easily tell where someone is holding after learning with them for even a few min. There was once someone in my shule for instance who had smicha he received from the 1970’s. I noticed some people called him Rabbi in my shule so I asked him a question on a gemera I was learning hoping he could help. He said he was not able to make a laining on ANY gemera apart from one daf in kiddushin that he had learned over and over again and then went on to recite it from memory. In short, he wasn’t really able to read Aramaic well. He said he doesn’t know why people call him Rabbi but he doesn’t stop them either.
On the other hand, there is a guy from Lakewood who comes to visit during the chagim who does not have smicha but he is the unofficial Rov of the shule whenever he comes. Everyone goes to him to ask questions- even the official Rabbi.February 14, 2013 1:55 am at 1:55 am #995588Torah613TorahParticipant
CC613: I’m a girl and therefore cannot evaluate a person’s learning that way. I do sense how “comfortable” the person is quoting Tanach, so if it’s a big deal that they know a random Chazal, they are probably not that educated. But I cannot tell anything about their halachic expertise.
I need to know the following: Is it permissible to call someone who is not a Rabbi, “Rabbi”?February 14, 2013 2:26 am at 2:26 am #995589
Torah613613Torah: “I need to know the following: Is it permissible to call someone who is not a Rabbi, “Rabbi”?
Of course it is. There are many people in my yeshiva without official smicha who are called Rabbi. In fact, there is no official smicha today- period. So from an halachic standpoint it’s a non-issue.February 14, 2013 3:45 am at 3:45 am #995590rebdonielMember
R’ Avigdor Miller said that anyone who learned 500 blatt gemara with Rashi and Tosafot could use the title rabbi.February 14, 2013 5:06 am at 5:06 am #995591Oh Shreck!Participant
RebDoniel: Are you hinting something?December 16, 2013 1:28 am at 1:28 am #995592yoelhoffmanMember
I have a master’s degree in education, became BT, learned in a yeshiva in Israel for a few years, never made it to the highest sheur, but received a Semicha by passing a test over various topics in Issur v’Heter even tho my Hebrew and Gemorah-learning skills were weak. I did so so I could complete against Conservative and Reform “Rabbis” for Jewish educator positions at JCC’s, CAJE’s/BJE’s, Jewish Federations, Hillels… As a result, the people who came to my 100s of classes that I taught over the years were given a Torah-true perspective on the material which they would not have receive if a non-Orthodox rabbi held my position. And, since obtaining this Semicha, I, of course, continued my learning. However, I never use the title Rav when getting an Aliyah. If others with a “quickie” Semicha would do the same I see nothing wrong with it.December 16, 2013 3:18 pm at 3:18 pm #995593jewishfeminist02Member
My cousin got married while her brother was in the middle of learning for smicha. She put “Rabbi” in front of his name on his place card at the wedding. He has now finished smicha, but jokes when people ask him where he got it that it came from his sister!December 16, 2013 3:40 pm at 3:40 pm #995594charliehallParticipant
Be respectful and call anyone who has been given any kind of semicha “rabbi”. If you don’t trust the semicha, just don’t ask them shilas!December 16, 2013 6:09 pm at 6:09 pm #995595apushatayidParticipant
Reminds me of the yeshiva where they didnt call anyone to an aliya as “harav”, except the rabbeim in the yeshiva. everyone else who got an aliya was “reb ploni, but never harav ploni”. Once at a simcha in the yeshiva, a relative of the baal simcha was to get an aliya and they saw how on his tallis bag he had “harav ploni” stiched onto the bag. he was called up for his aliya, “reb harav ploni”. all the insiders got the joke, he didnt. he believed they called him up with the kavod he felt was due him. win win all around.December 16, 2013 7:18 pm at 7:18 pm #995596aishes choverParticipant
My husband is a chover but not a rabbi. He’s humble, so it doesn’t bother him that his title never gets used, but I want everyone to know it, so I use it here.December 19, 2013 7:34 pm at 7:34 pm #995597About TimeParticipant
‘As an example, HaRav Trager cited an incident that took place in America, when Reb Chaim Kreiswirth conferred semichoh upon a certain man and subsequently discovered that the recipient had behaved unworthily. Giving some excuse, Reb Chaim immediately took the document back. The recipient took Reb Chaim to court, claiming that what had been given could not be revoked and that he could not retract the semichoh after having given it.
Reb Chaim went to court and argued that there is a distinction between a permit and a diploma. A diploma is an earned title which, once conferred, cannot be retracted. This is customary the world over.December 22, 2013 12:59 am at 12:59 am #995598rabbiofberlinParticipant
About Time; this is a nice story but I doubt it happened,unless you show it to me in actual print. Couets in the US would not get involved in such a dispute- it would breach the First Amendment.December 22, 2013 3:59 pm at 3:59 pm #995599☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
ROB, that story appeared in a yahrtzeit article on a different website. I don’t think it’s a whole lot more unreliable than had it appeared in print (which it might have, as well).December 22, 2013 4:51 pm at 4:51 pm #995600WolfishMusingsParticipant
A diploma is an earned title which, once conferred, cannot be retracted. This is customary the world over.
Actually, a diploma (or, more specifically, a degree) can be revoked. Many colleges will revoke a degree if they find that you engaged in academic fraud while obtaining it.
The WolfDecember 22, 2013 5:15 pm at 5:15 pm #995601Sam2Participant
Wolf: That’s different, though. There it’s an Iglai Milsa L’mafrea that you never earned it. By Smicha or a “permit”, we are saying that you can have it revoked post-facto, even if it was completely legitimately earned.December 25, 2013 8:58 pm at 8:58 pm #995602yoelhoffmanMember
I heard that Reb Shlomo Carlebach gave two different types of Semicha’s. One was for his Hevrei who hung out with him, knew “something,” and wanted the title to help them get part-time teaching gigs at Hebrew Highs, JCC adult ed classes, etc. He also gave another Semicha which required a pretty solid knowledge of Talmud and Halakhah, and was geared for those who wanted to be the rabbi of a synagogue.
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