Who should be called Rabbi?

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  • #1822335
    toast
    Participant

    I find the title Rabbi to be pretty subjective. It seems to be based more on appearance than any sort of real criteria (unlike the title Doctor for example).
    I would think that Smichah should be necessary but that isn’t necessarily the case. Examples:

    Is a rebbe (even elementary grades), does not have smichah
    Is not a rebbe and does not have smichah, does have a beard
    An accountant with a beard/smichah
    Is very learned, does not have smichah
    Has a trimmed beard/short beard/long beard/trimmed long/unkept
    Is an official Rabbi
    Has smichah and/or rebbe without a beard

    #1822525
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The mishna says in Pirkei Avos that if a person learns even one letter from someone, he is suppose ro call him rabbi which literally means my teacher. David learned two things alone from Doag and he called him rabbi.
    The question is how do we know one letter? Explains the Besht that sometimes one letter is more productive than two things alone. We learn from one letter that addition really diminishes.

    #1822555
    RebbeDebbie
    Participant

    Reb Eliezer, how does that work when one learns from a heretic (say Reform, Conservative, or Open “Orthodox”)? If one has learned one letter from one a the above then this causes problems.

    For example, if one refers to Avi Weiss (the creator of Open “Orthodox”) as Rabbi Avi Weiss (including other YCT graduates), then are we not giving credibility to the Open “Orthodox” movement in the same manner as if one were to daven in a Reform place?

    #1822554
    Joseph
    Participant

    There’s no such thing as real smicha anymore.

    Also, the Chofetz Chaim didn’t have smicha (until he was an old man and got it for a technical governmental need.) Was the Chofetz Chaim therefore not a rabbi?

    #1822563
    iacisrmma
    Participant

    RebbeDebbie: Rabbi Avi Weiss actually provides your answer. He did receive semicha before his open orthodoxy revolution.

    #1822570
    Takes2-2tango
    Participant

    Just stick to MR. It’s alot less complicated

    #1822577
    toast
    Participant

    Jospeh, in your world who should be called Rabbi?

    #1822589
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Mr. used to be a great title Mar. When one returned a wish gam lemar was told, say, gam lemosuk.

    #1822588
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Currently, semicha is an acknowledgement of ones rebbi that he can pasken.

    #1822569
    follick2
    Participant

    how does that work when one learns from a heretic

    I suppose you would have to ask R’ Meir and his teacher Acher

    #1822571
    RebbeDebbie
    Participant

    iacisrmma: The same can be said for Abraham Herschel before he became a Conservative Rabbi and taught at the JTS. So back to my original question, if someone that teaches heretical views also teaches alef-beis (that’s two letters not one) should they be addressed as Rabbi by any frum yid? Would you daven in their non orthodox shul?

    #1822608
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    What about Steinsaltz נציב מלח who became a Baal Teshuva after writing apikorsishe books. How does he do teshuva? He will be in Gan Eden and his talmidim in the Gehonim.

    #1822610
    Takes2-2tango
    Participant

    “What about Steinsaltz נציב מלח who became a Baal Teshuva after writing apikorsishe books. How does he do teshuva? He will be in Gan Eden and his talmidim in the Gehonim”

    What books specifically which he wrote are apikorsis?
    You have the names?

    #1822618
    benignuman
    Participant

    Rav Moshe, in teshuvos, when referring to Reform or Conservative Rabbis would spell out the word “rabbi” as if it was an english word–something like “רעבבי”

    I view “Rabbi” as a title we use when interacting with the secular world. It should be used to denote some position of religious authority, whether in a shul, yeshivah, kashrus org., etc.

    Internally, I prefer to use Rav and I use that for anyone that I would feel comfortable relying on for a halachic decision.

    #1822651
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    If it is not directly apikorsus, it can be misunderstood, חכמים הזהרו בדבריכם, what he wrote.

    #1822639
    toast
    Participant

    It would be nice to hear from Joseph who he calls a rabbi

    #1822634
    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Rav Meir called אלישה בן אבו׳ (sorry don’t know how to spell his name) rebbe after he went off the derech

    #1822633
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Actually, in written references, just use the letter “R” which can be read as “Rabbi”, “Rav”, “Reb” , “Rebbitzen” or R’L., “Rabbanit”. Such deliberate obfuscation is a useful tool when seeking to avoid a potentially confrontational or embarrassing encounter. In live situations, where speaking directly to or about a person, than you have to be even more circumspect by finding some honorific title that doesn’t illegitimately endow the person with “status” or “legitimacy” that has not been earned or recognized. Or perhaps adopt a Trumpian approach and create a nickname for the individual or use one of the “new age” gender neutral/undecided pronouns like “they” for he/she etc. Also, you could use the persons first and last names but I wouldn’t want to be the person referencing a gadol as Mr. XYZ, versus Maran, Sar Hatorah, Chacham, Harav, Hagodol etc.

    #1822700
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    English is very clumsy. To give respect to a Rav, we must speak to him in third person. You sometimes is too forward.

    #1822812
    Dr. E
    Participant

    I have seen some contemporary Rabbonim referred to or called for Kibbudim as “Harav Hagaon” and some as “Hagaon Harav”. What is the a difference exactly? And what does it take to get bumped up from Rav to “Harav”? And is there a status difference between Kapotas with plastic buttons and covered ones?

    #1822922
    toast
    Participant

    I think these things are highly subjective and not too indicative of anything concrete. Joseph, who do you consider to be worthy of being called a rabbi? I hope you aren’t shying away from this one. It isn’t like you.

    #1822927
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The above question, a beard does not make a Rabbi.

    #1822961
    toast
    Participant

    That is my point. A beard shouldn’t make a rabbi.
    Joseph said that smichah does not make a rabbi.
    Hence my question. According to Joseph that smichah is irrelevant, what should be the proper criteria for calling someone a rabbi? He has failed to reply.

    #1823159
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    It say in RMA CH’M 243,6 that you are not allowed to be served by a talmid chacham who knows gemora. He comes before one who knows halacha. I think, even though halacha is more important but to know the source of the halacha is important having the ability to compare one thing to another.

    #1823157
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The RMA in CH’M 242,14 gives two views about a semicha:
    1. His rebbi gives him permission to pasken when he is alive, so if the rebbe is not alive anymore, it is unnecessary.
    2. It shows he is knowledgeable in gitin and kidushin. I don’t understand this one because he gets tested on Yorei Deah and maybe, Choshen Mishpat but not Even Ezreh. If he does not have semicha, the get and chalitza would not be good, except if people know he is knowledeable and he does not get semicha because of humility.
    If it is a question of aguna, there is a place to be lenient. The idea is that if someone does this, he must know what he is doing. The RMA finishes that currently semicha is a means of asking permission to pasken.

    #1823167
    Joseph
    Participant

    toast: Was the Chofetz Chaim simply a Mr. until he was 85 when he finally got smicha only as a result of needing to communicate with the Polish government, who insisted on only dealing with a rabbi?

    #1823173
    Joseph
    Participant

    Reb Eliezer: Very few rabbis or even general poskim are truly very knowledgeable in gittin, halacha l’maaisa.

    #1823207
    toast
    Participant

    Joseph: Wikipedia seems to know better about the Choftez Chaim than you do. He was a Rav at a young age, then established a Yeshiva. They say he was 30. A town Rabbi, establishing a Yeshiva, and a real Talmid Chacham….I think everyone would agree deserves the title.

    I was not opining that smichah should be the only possible criterion. But in general beards are a bad qualifier. Smichah is indicative of something. A guy like you Joseph who I suppose has a beard without smichah and who is not a rebbe is a Mister. You are not a rabbi.

    #1823223
    Joseph
    Participant

    toast: Wikipedia is an am haaretz. Assume anything they say about Yidden as likely false. Your example is another proof. They know little about the Chofetz Chaim, who had no smicha until he was in his 80s.

    #1823224
    RebbeDebbie
    Participant

    If bead becomes a determining criteria, then most of the hipsters in Brooklyn will gain the title of Rabbi.

    #1823225
    RebbeDebbie
    Participant

    If having a beard becomes a determining criteria, then most of the hipsters in Brooklyn will gain the title of Rabbi.

    #1823259
    toast
    Participant

    Joseph: Wikipedia isn’t one person. It is open collaboration. Thus, it is well researched and self-correcting on well known entries.
    Once again. Smichah isn’t the sole criterion. It is supposed to be an indicator.
    The Chofetz Chaim was a town rabbi, a leader of a Yeshiva, and most importantly a major Torah scholar. That is enough to earn the title.
    My question to you, once again, is considering that you don’t view smichah with any legitimacy, what criteria do you consider necessary for the title rabbi? Is it just the beard or being a rebbe?

    #1823296
    Joseph
    Participant

    toast: I don’t disagree with most of your last comment. As you said the Chofetz Chaim was a town rabbi, a leader of a Yeshiva, and most importantly a major Torah scholar and as such was clearly, unambiguously and indisputably a rabbi despite having no smicha. My only point being that smicha isn’t required to be a rabbi (or Rov) today.

    Also note that any person with smicha can, at will, issue smicha to any other individual. Even a newly minted rabbi who just received his own smicha can immediately give smicha to others. Such is a core feature of smicha.

    I did not say that I “don’t view smichah with any legitimacy.” If you got smicha from, say, the Chazon Ish it certainly has a lot of legitimacy and confers rabbinical status on said individual.

    I will certainly say that some smichas today don’t have any legitimacy.

    #1823354
    toast
    Participant

    Yada yada yada. Can you tell us who should be called a rabbi, rav, a rav, harav etc. Let it rip.

    #1823443
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Think of smicha the same way you would think of a graduate degree from a university in a secular context. Earning an advanced degree from Harvard, Yale or Stanford is a considerably more rigorous and legitimately prestigious achievement than the same degree from Yenavelt State Online University. Likewise, for some CR readers, smicha conferred by a rosh yeshiva at BMG, Telz, MIr etc. conveys considerably greater respect and prestige for legitimate reasons, namely the rigor of the learning, the comprehensiveness of the testing and the gadlus of the rabbonim conveying the smicha as compared to a smicha from REITS or R’L from Rav Avi Weiss or JTS. There are a lot of “Rebbeles” opening their own shuls and yeshivos in recent years with smicha from rabbonim whose own provenance is questionable but yet they have the standing to produce another generation of “rebbeim”.

    #1823534
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    In olden times semicha was יורה יורה kwnowing 110 simanim of YD and sometimes ידין ידין knowing CM.

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