Earning Your Acronym like Rambam, Ramban, Rashba…
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- This topic has 12 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 6 years ago by streekgeek.
May 9, 2017 5:57 am at 5:57 am #1272520LightbriteParticipant
1) Do rabbonim today get their own acronyms?
2) What does it take for the Jewish people to give you one?
3) Did people refer to the rabbi by his acronym back in the day? Like could someone ever call the Rambam as the Rambam as he spoke to another person about him?
4) Or was that name made after the fact to make it easier to write and talk about him or something?
Thank you 🙂May 9, 2017 9:09 am at 9:09 am #1272592akupermaParticipant
It helps to be dead, very dead. No one referred to Rashi or Rambam by an acronym when they were alive. Remember when they were alive, no one considered the “Rishonim” to be anything more than contemporary rabbanim (except maybe the Rambam, who was known as a leading physican/political leader at the time, as well).May 9, 2017 10:29 am at 10:29 am #1272683apushatayidParticipant
Everyone has an acronym. When alive it us usually Shlita, after 120, Z’l.May 9, 2017 11:33 am at 11:33 am #1272787lowerourtuition11210Participant
LB: I don’t know how it started but it may be as simple as trying to save on ink. It is shorter to write the initials than the whole name.May 9, 2017 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm #1272857WinnieThePoohParticipant
Not only does it help being dead, but it also helps to have made such a significant contribution to klal yisroel, that people are repeating things in your name or learning your Torah, so much that they need a good way to refer to you.
I wonder if it originally developed as short-hand by people in the printing business? Easier to write Rashi (3 letters in Hebrew) than R’ Shlomo Yitzchaki.
Many of the Rishonim (Rabbanim who lived in Mid Ages, 11-15 century) are known by their acronyms. Achronim (period following rishonim) are known by their acronyms (e.g. the Gra, Malbim, Netizv, the GRYZ) or their sefarim- (e.g. the Chofetz Chaim, Chasam Sofer, Meshech Chochma). Contemporary Rabbanim (including those who were niftar within a generation or so) are known usually by their names-probably because people still remember them as people, not just from their sefarim. So when you say R’ Moshe, you are referring to R’ Moshe Feinstein, not the Rambam or Chasam Sofer. It takes some perspective of time to consistently call the Rav after his work instead of his name. Most likely eventually we will permanently add the Igros Moshe and the Yabia Omer (R’ Ovadia Yosef) to the list.May 9, 2017 1:01 pm at 1:01 pm #1272881JosephParticipant
The Chofetz Chaim was known and called as such during his lifetime.May 9, 2017 2:35 pm at 2:35 pm #1272978WinnieThePoohParticipant
I forgot to mention, here on the CR, acronyms come easy- I am often WTP, you are LB, there are PBA, DY, LU, CTL, etc. Sorry, Joseph, no acronym for you.May 9, 2017 3:03 pm at 3:03 pm #1272968apushatayidParticipant
Saying that the people in Rashis Dor considered him nothing more “than a contemporary rav”, or that the Rambam was “just a leading physican/political leader” is like saying people in this generation consider Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita “just another Talmudist”. It is downright disrespectful to Rashi Z’l , Rambam, Z’l and yb’l Rav Chaim shlita as well as a slap in the face to those who lived then, and those who live now.May 9, 2017 6:26 pm at 6:26 pm #1273168Neville ChaimBerlinParticipant
I already have mine: NC”B. Guess I should probably get cracking on that sefer halachah.May 11, 2017 12:37 am at 12:37 am #1273973LightbriteParticipant
WTP: Good point! I didn’t think of that ☺May 11, 2017 12:38 am at 12:38 am #1273969Lilmod UlelamaidParticipant
When I was about 7 years old and learned about Rashi, I decided that I was going to be like Rashi and write a peirush on the Siddur (since the Chumash had already been done by Rashi). I gave myself an acronym (my initials) and sat down to work. I had a chiddush on Ma Tovu, but I couldn’t write it down right away because I decided I had to start from Modah Ani.
Well, guess what? I never got up to Ma Tovu because my sisters called me out to play before I got very far. And I no longer remember what my chiddush on Ma Tovu was. Oh, well.May 11, 2017 1:16 pm at 1:16 pm #1274222Avram in MDParticipant
I’ve heard that Rav Shlomo Yitzchak (Rashi) would modestly sign his letters with his initials (shin-yud), and that others would then use that convention when referring to him, first respectfully putting a reish (rav) in front, making “Rashi.” So it’s highly likely that he was referred to as “Rashi” even when he was alive. As for others with acronyms, I have no idea.May 11, 2017 6:19 pm at 6:19 pm #1274353streekgeekParticipant
I had a Rabbi in high school who used to give over erev Shabbos divrei torah from the Razdaf. It took some time till we caught on they were his own peirushim.
(and a shoutout to all my fellow classmates on here…)
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