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In modern times, since the term rabbi has become commonplace and oft-used, the term rav has come to connote a rabbi with a much greater level of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding in Torah matters, above and beyond what has come to be known as a 'career rabbi' who, for example, conducts significant life events as his salaried job, rather than a person who studies and delves into Torah full-time for no reward or compensation.
In the Talmud, the title Rav generally precedes the names of Babylonian Amoraim, whereas the title Rabbi generally precedes the names of ordained scholars in The Land of Israel (whether Tannaim or Amoraim).
In the Talmud, Rav or Rab (used alone) is a common name for Abba Arika, the first Amora, who established the great yeshiva at Sura, which, using the Mishnah as text, led to the compilation of the Talmud.
From the 16th century and onwards, Rav' or the Rav generally referred to Rabbi Obadiah ben Abraham, a.k.a. haRav miBartenura (the Rav from Bartenura). Rabbi Obadiah miBartenura becomes the Hebrew acronym Rabbi `Obadiah of Bartenura (רע"ב).
More recently, as a sign of great respect, some rabbis are simply called the Rav even outside of their personal followings. Note that when the word is pronounced using a patakh, the meaning is almost universally rabbi Obadiah ben Abraham of Bartenura. When using a kamatz, the term can refer to, among others:
- Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik: Among Centrist and Modern Orthodox Orthodox Jews, particularly in North America. Sometimes spelled "The Rov".
- Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi: His Code of Jewish Law is often called the Shulchan Aruch HaRav, "Shulchan Aruch of the Rav" .
- The Vilna Gaon: The line of his disciples and their actual descendants (who include both of the Rabbis Soloveitchik on this list) is called Beit HaRav, "The House of the Rav."
- The Brisker Rav: In most Haredi yeshivos, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik is referred to by his Yiddish name (Rav Yoshe Ber), and the term Rov (kamatz pronounced as in Ashkenazic) means the Brisker Rav.
- Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook: His followers in Israel will often refer to him as "The Rav".
- Rabbi Moshe Feinstein: A leading halachic authority of his generation from the mid to late 20th century; his p’sakim (halachic rulings) were accepted worldwide.
In a synagogue
The title Rav HaTzair (or Rav HaTza'ir) refers to an assistant rabbi. Tzair means young, in Hebrew, and the prefix Ha means "the"; the combination can be used to mean the younger of a pair: Rav HaTzair, in context, can refer to the younger of a pair of rabbis, or Junior Rav.
- Berkson "1:6 Yehoshua ben Perahiah and Nittai of Arbel received from them. Yehoshua ben Perahiah said: Choose for yourself a mentor; acquire for yourself a friend; and judge every person in a favorable light."
- The Talmud: what it is and what it says：Jacob Neusner
- Adin Steinsaltz, The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition; A Reference Guide (New York: Random House, 1989), p. 139.
- PhilologosSeptember 19; 2003. "Rav, Rebbe, Rabbi". The Forward. Retrieved 2020-06-07.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- "Feinstein, Rav Moshe". Orthodox Union. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
- "Fifty Years in the Pulpit: Seven Veteran Rabbis Tell It Like It Was". JewishAction.com. January 2008.
listen to the rav's Shabbos HaGadol drasha
- "From the Pulpit".
... to feel the rav is looking after them
- "The Power of Many".
the Rav Hatza'ir, .. son of the current Rav
- "Edgware residents unite against free school bid" (PDF). April 25, 2013.
Boruch Halberstam, Rav Hatzair of Kiryat Sanz ... last week.
- "Harav Chaim Yeshayah Koenig, zt"l, Yokke Rav". hamodia.com. May 1, 2016.
served as Rav hatza'ir under his father's supervision
- "Contender ABD Bobov".
... his younger brother ... the Rav Hatzair (Junior Rav)