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Q&A: Using Rabeinu’s Name

by Ozer Bergman
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Q: I’ve heard many shiurim from Rabbi Rosenfeld where he stressed that we *never* refer to Rebbe Nachman by his name (mea culpa) but rather as “Rabbeinu haKadosh”. Why are most Breslov teachers not careful about this?

A: You should ask those who do mention the Rebbe’s name why they do it.

Chazal consider calling/mentioning one’s rebbe name an act of contempt because it indicates that the student considers himself his rebbe’s equal. Among themselves, I think all Breslovers refer to Rabbeinu zal as “Rabbeinu zal” or as “Rabbeinu hakodesh.” However, when talking with non-Breslovers people say “Rabbe Nachman zal” in order to avoid confusion and the like.

Hoped this helped.

kol tuv.
Ozer Bergman

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2 comments

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chaim May 3, 2011 - 12:19 pm

many use THE REBBA and what the Rabbi meant was not to say nachman with out the rebbe, maybe question about saying NACHMAN MEUMAN .

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Yossi Katz
Yossi Katz May 4, 2011 - 2:21 pm

Received via Ozer Berman:
“Simply that there is a difference between “addressing” and “referring to” a person. For example, we say, “Hillel says…,” but we wouldn’t have addressed him by saying, “Good morning Hillel.”

Agav, those Tanaaim etc. who are referred to only by name: some never qualified to be call “Rebbe” (or “Rav” for an Amora). Others, like Hillel, reached such a level that to be called “Rebbe” didn’t do him justice.

Chazal do say that “mora rabakh” should be like “mora Shemayim” (Rebbe Eliezer ben Shamua in Avos 4:15), but of course, not to make one’s rebbe into an avodah zarah c”v.

Hope this helped.

kol tuv.
OB”

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