What does Rav mean? #general


WALTER SPECTOR
 

Dear Genners,

I had a great uncle's tombstone translated. His father's name(my ggfather)
was translated as Rav Yosef. On the nine other tombstones for his
children is just Yosef. Does Rav have a special significance?

Walter Spector
Philadelphia
educonser@comcast.net

Searching:
SPECTOR- Zaslov (Izyaslov) Volhynia Gub. Ukraine-Woodbine NJ-Phila. PA;
EBY (AB) Rushany, Grodno Gub. Belarus-Woodbine NJ- Phila.PA;
BECKER- Klevan, Rovno Phila. PA Brooklyn NY: SELTZER (ZELTZER) Rovno,
Klevan, Alexandria; -Brooklyn NY LONDE,- LANDAU, LONDON, LANDER,
Proskrov- Phila. -PA GREENSTEIN- Boston MA:
PITKOWSKI Rushany, Grodno Gub. STEINBERG - Philadelphia


Joseph Hirschfield
 

Rav means rabbi. Rav Yosef was Rabbi Yosef.

Joe Hirschfield
Portage, MI
MINOWITSKI- Brest-Litovsk, Belarus
HIRSCHFELD, LINDENBAUM, BUXBAUM, BUCHSBAUM-Skwarzawa, Kamionka Strumilowa,
Glinany, Sielec Bienkow, Galicia


Benzy Shani <bzs@...>
 

Walter Spector wrote:
I had a great uncle's tombstone translated. His father's name(my ggfather)
was translated as Rav Yosef. On the nine other tombstones for his children
is just Yosef. Does Rav have a special significance?
___

What it really says is "Reb Yosef".
"Reb" is a way of respecting someone who is not actually a Rabbi. It is
tantamount to inscribing "the honorable", or "Mr.".
On the tombstone of an "ordained" Rabbi it would have said "Harav".
Usually "Reb" is not spelled out, and instead it will say Resh-apostrophe.
The absence of "Reb" on any other tombstone is insignificant as the title is
not an official one and is not mandatory.

To make a short story long, the title "Rav", in the rabbinical sense,
followed by the first name (Rav Yosef) or full patronymic (Rav Shmuel bar
Nachman), is reserved for the Babylonian Amoraim, the Sevoraim, and the
Gaonim - the scholars of the Babylonian Talmud and post-Talmudic era.
(The Gaonim had the title Gaon following their name, e. g., Rav Saadiah
Gaon).
This was probably designed to demonstrate the defference of these scholars
to the Tannaim - the Mishnaic scholars - who were referred to as "Rabbi"
(pronounced with a long "e" sound at the end), followed by either their
first name alone (Rabbi Akiva) , their full patronymic (Rabbi Elazar ben
Azaria), or their first name followed by their location (Rabbi Yehuda ish
Kefar Ichos) or profession (Rabbi Yochanan Hasandlar).
Mishnaic scholars who were not "ordained" as Rabbis, did not carry the title
"Rabbi" (ben Zoma, ben Bagbag).

The title "Rabban" was only used in reference to Presidents of the
Sanhedrin, but this title only came into use after the destruction of the
Temple. (The Talmud teaches that "greater than Rabban is his own name", i.e.
the greatest greats need no title before their names (Hillel, Shamai, etc.).

The Palestinian Amoraim - the scholars of the Jerusalem Talmud - retained
the title "Rabbi", but this isn't to say that they deferred to the Tannaim
to any lesser extent than their Babylonian conterparts.

In the middle-ages, Rabbis were addressed as "Rabbeinu" (our Rabbi), or as
"Rabbi". The reason this latter was less common is that the

The form Harav-First Name- Surname, is the modern usage.

All the Best,
Benzy Shani

MODERATOR NOTE: Responses related to genealogy will be considered
for posting. Others should be sent privately.


MBernet@...
 

In a message dated 8/10/2006 6:22:04 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
educonser@comcast.net writes:

< < I had a great uncle's tombstone translated. His father's name(my
ggfather) was translated as Rav Yosef. On the nine other tombstones
for his children is just Yosef. Does Rav have a special significance? >>

==The Hebrew word rav means "great," "much," "many."

==It is also a title meaning "master." In the Talmud, and among Ashkenazim,
Rav is a title for a rabbi--or, more correctly, Rabbi is an English rendering
of Rav.

==A rabbi is usually referred to in official documents and on tombstones as
heRav (the Rabbi) or Morenu heRav (our teacher, the Rabbi) or heRav haGaon
(the Rabbi and exalted scholar) or other words attesting to his status.

==It was common among Ashkenazim to bestow an honorary title to just about
any adult male. The most common form was Reb, Yiddish for Rav (identical
spelling in both Hebrew and Yiddish, but lacking the initial heh, for "the" that
marks heRav as a rabbi).

==heRav is a rabbi. Reb is used as an honorific title for just about any
adult male who hasn't been caught stealing or selling pork, the equivalent of
Mr. By coincidence, the Hebrew for Mister is Mar (actually an Aramaic term)
spelled mem-resh or M-R, and for Mrs it's MaRaTH, the Th in old Jerusalem and
Ashkenazi pronunciation being pronounced rather like an S, so that MRS in
Aramaic is . . . . MRS.

==The tombstone of a real rabbi, even if he couldn't preach and never kept a
job for long is almost always inscribed with a number of honorific terms
that go beyond Rav. What you have on the tombstone in question is almost
certainly a simple "Reb" or "Mr."

Michael Bernet, New York


Judith Romney Wegner
 

At 6:57 PM -0400 8/10/06, JOECYP@aol.com wrote:

Rav means rabbi. Rav Yosef was Rabbi Yosef.
Actually, not quite. Many people nowadays misread the abbreviation
"R" as Rav when in reality it represents the Yiddish word "Reb" --
which, when written out in full, is spelled the same way as "Rav"
which means simply "Mr" and not "Rabbi" at all. The confusion of
"Rav" with "Reb" is very common nowadays because so many Jews are
unfamiliar with Yiddish and unaware that "R" = "Rev" = "Mr."

This would explain why Walter Spector's ancestor was designated on
other stones or documents simply as "Yosef" and not as"Rav Yosef."

An actual rabbi is normally designated with the definite article as
HA-Rav (meaning "The Rabbi" ) So-and- so ben So-and-so.

Judith Romney Wegner