October 7, 2016 3:59 am at 3:59 am #618483y1234Member
why did yeshiva world called the rav (rabbi yosef dov Soloveitchik) Rav J. B. Soloveitchik please change it rightaway
is chutzpah to call him thatOctober 7, 2016 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm #1185847
He referred to himself as Rabbi JB Soloveitchik, his students referred to him as that during his lifetime and his colleagues and rabbinical equals called him that when speaking to him (without the title and last name obviously, just his initials which was his preferred nickname) and when referring to him.
He also self-identified in his writings as Rabbi JB Soloveitchik.October 7, 2016 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm #1185848
Don’t worry, I just logged into my computer and changed it! He will know longer be called that anymore!October 7, 2016 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm #1185849
“Der Rov” (The Rov) is the longtime title the Brisker Rov has been known as. In the yeshiva velt when you simply refer to The Rov most folks will assume you’re referring to the Brisker Rov. Since RJBS was a nephew of the Brisker Rov some of his students later began referring to him as The Rav.October 8, 2016 7:35 pm at 7:35 pm #1185850
Joseph, thank you so much! I am so happy to hear a limud zchus on those people who do it.October 9, 2016 12:19 am at 12:19 am #1185851Geordie613Participant
My rebbi in the Mir, once referred to him as “Reb Yoshe Ber fun Amerikeh”.October 9, 2016 1:17 am at 1:17 am #1185852
Lilmod, what did I provide a limud zchus for?October 9, 2016 1:56 am at 1:56 am #1185853yeshivishe kupParticipant
In Boston, he started a school called Maimonides (RAMBAM), and he sarted it under his name Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik. (Just moved away from Boston)….October 9, 2016 3:06 am at 3:06 am #1185854
i love my rabbi:) his such an amazing person:)October 9, 2016 3:16 am at 3:16 am #1185855takahmamashParticipant
i love my rabbi:) his such an amazing person:)
That’s nice, but what does it have to do with the topic?October 9, 2016 5:20 am at 5:20 am #1185856MDGParticipant
“is chutzpah to call him that “
As Joseph pointed out above, calling him Rabbi JB Soloveitchik is not a problem. Some people, who are trying to denigrate, will just say JB. That’s a problem.October 9, 2016 8:14 am at 8:14 am #1185857
Joseph – the people who call him JB.October 9, 2016 8:36 am at 8:36 am #1185858
y1234 – Coming from a Black Hat Yeshivah background where we are accustomed to talking to Rabbanim in 3rd person I too was terribly bothered by this title “JB” and found it difficult to refer to him in that manner. However, commentator Joseph is correct. This title was not given to him by the Yeshivish world, but rather from his Talmidim. I don’t know details, so I’ll assume that commentator Joseph is right that he gave himself that title. If he did so it was probably to distinguish himself from his cousin Rav Berel Soloveichik z”l (both were named Yosef Dov after the Beis HaLevi). The Yeshivish world probably accepted this title used being that it helped distinguish which Rav Yosef Dov was being spoken about.
It should be noted that a lack of understanding of Kavod was unfortunately an issue in the early days in America. I was told by someone who was close to Rav Moshe Feinstein, z”l that his first talmidim used to refer to him as “the Chief”. I don’t believe that anyone meant to be disrespectful. They just didn’t grow up with the concept of speaking in 3rd person or giving illustrious titles.October 9, 2016 8:51 am at 8:51 am #1185859Neville ChaimBerlinParticipant
Why would it be a problem? Why would it even be something people say to denigrate? Does “JB” have an inappropriate meaning that I don’t know about?October 9, 2016 10:12 am at 10:12 am #1185860
Neville ChaimBerlin – referring to a choshev Rav with a nickname or the like shows a lack of reverence. Kavod Rav is very important and “JB” is not a respectful title. It’s something you’d call a friend, not people you need to show respect to. Imagine calling your father or mother by their initials.
Regardless, this unbecoming title stuck and that is how he is referred to by many. Among his talmidim, however, he is also referred to as “The Rav”.
The most important point to take note of is that this title, “JB”, was NOT introduced by the Black Hat community.
y1234 should consider apologizing for insinuating that YWN had any intention to disparage his name.October 9, 2016 1:35 pm at 1:35 pm #1185861
takahmamash – sorry i just think my rav an amazing person.October 9, 2016 4:29 pm at 4:29 pm #1185862
I had a teacher in high school who referred to him as JB. My friend, the daughter of a close talmid of R Soloveitchik, was horrified. I don’t know where the term originated, but it’s currently only used by the yeshivish/chassidish community- Modern Orthodox people say “the Rav.” Especially in these communities, which have so much respect for rabbinic authority, I personally don’t see how people don’t consider how disrespectful it is to call a rabbi solely by his initials. (In writing, people might write RJBS or RYDS in the same way that they’d write RMF for R Moshe Feinstein- but that retains reference to the respectful title and is merely writing shorthand. Just JB is beyond that.)
One MO person once told me that she felt offended even when people would say R JB Soloveitchik- because she felt that yeshivish/chassidish people calling him by an English name is specifically looking down on him, because many consider it an inferior way of being called and they could refer to him (as plenty do) by his Hebrew/Yiddish name. I told her that people weren’t thinking about it like that and were’t actually being insulting, but I hope that in fact she is wrong about that (the indication on this thread is that it is just retaining the way that he referred to himself, which is obviously fine). But just saying JB is disrespectful.October 9, 2016 4:38 pm at 4:38 pm #1185863
writersoul, he himself referred to himself primarily by his English, not Hebrew, name and that was how most of his contemporaries, both other rabbis and his students, primarily referred to him as. When an equal (i.e. another Rabbi) would speak to him, he would call him JB. The objection is when one refers to him without his rabbinic title, not when one uses his English initials in liue of his first name – which is exactly how he preferred it and referred to himself. (Like you said, referring to him as RJBS isn’t different than referring to Rav Moshe as RMF in writing.)October 9, 2016 4:50 pm at 4:50 pm #1185864
A Yeshivish friend of mine, while on a date with a YU guy, innocently made a reference to JB, and the guy was very insulted. She clearly had no idea there was anything offensive about the term or she obviously would not have used it in that setting. She was mortified when she realized that he was offended and that he considered it derogatory.
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writersoul – thanks for your comment. I think the problem in this case is that the Brisker Dynasty is B”H so full of Gedolim, Chochomim, and Chashuvim, it is necessary to distinguish one from the other and that is the main reason the label “JB” stuck. I don’t know what goes on today, but in my Yeshiva years we never used the term to disparage him. Yes, we did not hold of his shitot, but that did not mean that we felt the need to disparage him (at least not in my circles). Unfortunately, the term “the Rav” can not be use and for two reasons. 1) It is too vague to understand which Rav is being referred to (I believe Rav Kook was also referred to as “The Rav” by his talmidim). 2) Most would assume you are talking about their Rosh Yeshiva. Thus, a more direct title is necessary. The Yeshivish world did not create this title, but in time adopted it into their lexicon.October 9, 2016 7:02 pm at 7:02 pm #1185866
writersoul – we call my rabbi “rabbi —-” and theres plenty of mo people that his the rabbi for.October 10, 2016 3:44 am at 3:44 am #1185867
Joseph: I agree with you. I personally don’t see the problem with saying R Joseph B Soloveitchik or R JB Soloveitchik, as long as everything is said in a way respectful of him. I was mentioning one person’s objection, but like you said I don’t think it is an actual issue. (Quoting things I said back at me won’t somehow prove me wrong about anything.)
lilmod: Definitely an honest mistake for many, I’m sure. Until high school I had no idea who he was, and if someone’s only exposure to him was by people referring to him as JB, then it makes sense. It’s just a shame that that’s the case to begin with. I definitely wouldn’t blame anyone for an inadvertent mistake.
Softwords: Though I’m in an environment where the vast majority of people say “the Rav” to refer to R Soloveitchik and it is very obvious that this is who they mean, I just say R Soloveitchik, because I know how confusing it is when people say “the Rav” (until very recently, I’d’ve had no idea who these people were referring to, to be honest) and it’s honestly not as instinctive to me as it is to them. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it can’t be used, just that it is confusing. And for many of those who say “the Rav,” they are indeed referring to someone who for them is their Rosh Yeshiva- after all, he granted an incredible number of semicha certifications and was a rosh yeshiva of many of those who today call him the Rav. Also, there are definitely other ways to distinguish the rabbanim of the Brisker dynasty- especially as the Israeli Briskers are almost never called Rav Soloveitchik (they’re called Reb Avrohom Yehoshua or R Dovid or the Griz or the Brisker Rav [which can be confusing itself to people who aren’t in the know] or R Chaim Brisker- we’ve worked a lot of this out already without resorting to names that have become seen as derogatory).
Sparkly: Sounds good- what are you trying to say?October 10, 2016 3:53 am at 3:53 am #1185868y1234Member
a reply of Softwords:
im a talmad of a black hat yeshiva darchei torah of far rockaway and my rosh yeshiva rabbi shlomo avigdor altusky said “it very disrespectful to call rabbi yosef dov Soloveitchik
rabbi jb or jb”
and im not to go apologizing ywn since they should apologize or add least
change it!!!!October 10, 2016 4:14 am at 4:14 am #1185869
DONT SAY that mo call their rabbis by their initials this is false. we call him rabbi whatever his last name is.October 10, 2016 9:39 am at 9:39 am #1185870
y1234 – I agree it’s disrespectful. However, 1) the Olam is Noheg to refer to him that way and 2) being so, YWN most likely did not mean any disrespect (like you accused them of). Furthermore, if your intentions are really L’shem Shamiyim shouldn’t you be writing them privately instead of posting your complaints on a public forum for all to see? Aren’t we supposed to approach those that we need to give Tochacha to privately first (wherever possible)?October 10, 2016 10:14 am at 10:14 am #1185871
y1234 – you may be right, but what confused me (and bothered me) was that you wrote yeshiva world. I had no idea you meant YWN. I thought you meant the Yeshivish oilam, and I was bothered by the fact that someone is speaking Loshon Hara about an entire group in Am Yisrael online!!!
If you meant YWN, you are right for pointing it out to them – however, I don’t know if this is the right place. Do they read these posts? Is there a way you can right something in the comment section of the article? That would probably be more appropriate (and less halachically problematic) than writing it here.October 10, 2016 1:32 pm at 1:32 pm #1185872DaMosheParticipant
y1234: I also learned in Darchei, and I can back that up. My brother once asked R’ Altusky about learning R’ Soloveitchik’s seforim on Gemara, and R’ Altusky told him to definitely learn them, as the chiddushim are amazing – and he had all the seforim in his house! My brother asked why they don’t have them in the yeshiva beis medrash, and R’ Altusky told him that since there is a difference of opinion regarding some of his hashkafos, he felt some of the younger boys in the yeshiva might take it as an endorsement of ALL his works if they had his seforim there. But he did encourage older students to learn his chiddushim.
My Rav (a close student of R’ Herschel Schachter shlita) told me a funny story. I don’t remember if it was with a relative or a close friend of his, but it was someone close.
So this person came from a family that was mostly yeshivish, and most of his siblings learned in Chareidi yeshivos. He went to YU, and received semichah there.
He once came home for a Yom Tov, and one of his siblings also came home from yeshiva in Israel. At a meal, his father asked the brother to say over a shtikel Torah. He told the YU guy, “Listen, so you can see how a REAL yeshiva guy learns!” The brother began saying it, and my Rav’s friend had to hold back his laughter – he was saying over a chiddush from R’ Soloveitchik zt”l!
When he finished, the father said, “So, you see? That was a wonderful chiddush! Do you learn things like that in your modern Yeshiva University?”
He replied by turning to his brother. “Abba is right. That was beautiful! Who did you learn it from?” The brother hemmed and hawed. “It sounds like a Soloveitchik type of chiddush. What do you think?” Again, the brother hemmed and hawed. The father asked, “Nu, where is it from?” The brother finally cracked and said it was from R’ JB Soloveitchik. The father never insulted YU again.October 10, 2016 1:41 pm at 1:41 pm #1185873tiawdParticipant
Since I try not to bash any rabbanim, whether or not I hold of their shittos, I generally call him R’ Yoshe Ber. I think that name is pretty unambiguous; if I was referring to his cousin from Eretz Yisrael I would say R’ Berel.October 10, 2016 3:00 pm at 3:00 pm #1185874☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
The brother finally cracked and said it was from R’ JB Soloveitchik.
According to the OP, that was chutzpah.October 10, 2016 3:47 pm at 3:47 pm #1185875ubiquitinParticipant
I am a bit confused by this discussion
“respect” and “disrespect” is to a certain extent subjective and to a larger extent depends on intention.
there is nothing inherently respectful or disrespectfu labout wearing a hat indoors yet in a church it is considered disrespectful and in a shul (levadil elef alfei havdalos) it is not.
As for names.
I refer to R’ Moshe Feinstein as “Reb Moshe” as I’m sure many of you do. I have cousin who, shall we say, is not part of the olam hayeshivos and he was very surprised that i would refer to the “Great Rabbi Feinstein” by his first name with a mere prefix of Reb given to any Reb Gimpel
I’m sure most (or all) of you agree that Referring to R’ Moshe in said manner is in no way disrespectful.
(note this isnt true for everybody If I refer to my Local shul rAv Rabbi Almoni as Reb Ploni arguably that is disrespectful since that is not the convention)
when it comes to some Taanaim and Amoraim we refer to some of them by their first names without any prefix (Hillel, Shamai, Shmuel, Abaye etc)
I’m sure you will agree these arent disrespectful
Their are many many Gedolim who we refer to by the titles of their Works again without any prefix (eg the chazon Ish, the Aruch hashulchan, chasam Sofer the lsit goes on and on)
The point is respect/disrespect is largely based on convention and intention.
there is no denying that The Rav referred to himself in his writings as “Rabbi J.B. Solovitchik” Furthermore many of his talmidim did and do refer to him as “JB” as a term of endearment (though not so much publicly). If the intent is not disrespectful given that it is somewhat accepted (Certainly ” Rabbi J.B. Solovitchik” and (I would argue “JB” as well) it is not automatically disrespectful.October 10, 2016 3:55 pm at 3:55 pm #1185876It is Time for TruthParticipant
Hate to break it to some of you
In the ’50s alot of distinguished men were known as the Rav
R’ Kalmanovitz,etc.October 10, 2016 4:11 pm at 4:11 pm #1185877
ubiq: Rabbi Gorelick, a rosh yeshiva at YU (and the father of the South Fallsburg rosh yeshiva), when referring to Rabbi Soloveitchik would simply refer to him as “JB”.October 10, 2016 4:21 pm at 4:21 pm #1185878ubiquitinParticipant
Yep thats my point. My father does as well, he in no way means it in a disrespectful manner to say the leastOctober 10, 2016 5:25 pm at 5:25 pm #1185879apushatayidParticipant
Interesting. I have never heard a single talmid of the Rav ever, refer to their Rebbe as JB, Rav JB, or Joseph. Not Rabbk Genack, Not Rav Doniel Lander, not Rav Heshy Reichman not Rabbi Willig, none. It is also true I have not heard every one of his thousands of talmidim speak so I can not say definitively none do. I can definitively say, I have never heard it.October 10, 2016 6:15 pm at 6:15 pm #1185880
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.October 10, 2016 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm #1185881
An interesting thought came to my head after reading ubiquitin’s comment. Did anyone else notice that while we are all arguing whether the title “JB” should be dropped or not, not one person spoke disparagingly about Rav Soloveitchik, even those that may disagree with some of his Hashgafic teachings? That says something very positive about him and also about all of us!
Gmar Chatima Tova!October 10, 2016 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm #1185882Neville ChaimBerlinParticipant
YWN included Rav in the title if I remember correctly. You MO’s will really grasp for anything to be offended won’t you?October 10, 2016 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm #1185883
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Thanks to Avi K. for posting this on another thread! Hopefully, that’s something we will all be able to attain this Yom Kippur!
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