Reb (Yiddish)

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Reb (/ˈrɛb/, Yiddish: רב) is a Yiddish honorific traditionally used for Orthodox Jewish men. It is not a rabbinic title; it is the equivalent of the English "mister". In writing it is abbreviated as ר׳. It may also be a short form of Rebbe.

History[edit]

The title was adopted by Orthodox Jews at the time of the schism with the Karaites, as a sign of loyalty to Rabbinic Judaism.[1]

Usage[edit]

When addressing someone directly, Reb is usually used with the first name only ("May I help you, Reb Chaim?"). In other circumstances, it can be used with either the first name or the full name ("This is Reb Chaim Jacobs."; "Would you please help Reb Chaim?"). In formal written address, it is usually used along with the full name.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Halikhot Shlomo 1:370-373;
    Salo Wittmayer Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, vol. 5 p. 283