In Judaism, Rabbi is Hebrew for "teacher." The basic form of the rabbi developed in the Pharisaic and Talmudic era, when learned teachers assembled to codify Judaism's written and oral laws. The title "rabbi" was first used in the first century CE. In more recent centuries, the duties of a rabbi became increasingly influenced by the duties of the Protestant Christian minister, hence the title "pulpit rabbis", and in 19th-century Germany and the United States rabbinic activities including sermons, pastoral counseling, and representing the community to the outside, all increased in importance.

Within the various Jewish denominations there are different requirements for rabbinic ordination, and differences in opinion regarding who is recognized as a rabbi. For example, Orthodox Judaism does not ordain women as rabbis. Non-Orthodox movements have chosen to do so for what they view as halakhic reasons (Conservative Judaism) as well as ethical reasons (Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism).[1][2]


The Hebrew word "master" רב rav [ˈʀäv], (irregular plural רבנים rabanim [ʀäbäˈnim]), which literally means "great one", is the original Hebrew form of the title. The form of the title in English and many other languages derives from the possessive form in Hebrew of rav: רַבִּי rabbi [ˈʀäbbi], meaning "My Master", which is the way a student would address a master of Torah. The word Rav in turn derives from the Semitic root ר-ב-ב (R-B-B), which in biblical Aramaic means "great" in many senses, including "revered", but appears primarily as a prefix in construct forms.[3] Although the usage rabbim "many" (as 1 Kings 18:25, הָרַבִּים) "the majority, the multitude" occurs for the assembly of the community in the Dead Sea scrolls, there is no evidence to support an association with the later title "Rabbi."[4] The root is cognate to Arabic ربّ rabb, meaning "lord" (generally used when talking about God, but also about temporal lords). As a sign of great respect, some great rabbis are simply called "The Rav".

A rabbi is not an occupation found in the Hebrew Bible, and ancient generations did not employ related titles such as Rabban, Ribbi, or Rab to describe either the Babylonian sages or the sages in Israel.[note 1] The titles "Rabban" and "Rabbi" are first mentioned in Jewish literature in the Mishnah. The term was first used for Rabban Gamaliel the elder, Rabban Simeon his son, and Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai, all of whom were patriarchs or presidents of the Sanhedrin in the first century.[note 2] The title "Rabbi" occurs (in Greek transliteration ῥαββί rhabbi) in the books of Matthew, Mark, and John in the New Testament, where it is used in reference to "Scribes and Pharisees" as well as to Jesus.[5][6] According to some, the title "rabbi" or "rabban" was first used after 70 CE to refer to Yochanan ben Zakkai and his students, and references in rabbinic texts and the New Testament to rabbis earlier in the 1st century are anachronisms.[7] Other scholars believe that the term "rabbi" was a well-known informal title by the beginning of the first century CE, and thus that the Jewish and Christian references to rabbis in this period can be accurate.[8]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Rabbyn
Alemannisch: Rabbiner
العربية: حاخام
aragonés: Rabí
asturianu: Rabín
azərbaycanca: Ravvin
беларуская: Рабін
български: Равин
brezhoneg: Rabin
català: Rabí
čeština: Rabín
dansk: Rabbiner
Deutsch: Rabbiner
eesti: Rabi
Ελληνικά: Ραββίνος
español: Rabino
Esperanto: Rabeno
euskara: Errabino
فارسی: ربی
français: Rabbin
galego: Rabino
𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺: 𐍂𐌰𐌱𐌱𐌴𐌹
한국어: 랍비
հայերեն: Ռաբբի
hrvatski: Rabin
Ido: Rabino
Bahasa Indonesia: Rabi
interlingua: Rabbi
íslenska: Rabbíni
italiano: Rabbino
עברית: רב
Jawa: Rabi
ქართული: რაბინი
қазақша: Раввин
Kiswahili: Rabi
kurdî: Xaxam
Ladino: Rabino
Latina: Rabbinus
latviešu: Rabīns
Lëtzebuergesch: Rabbiner
lietuvių: Rabinas
magyar: Rabbi
Malagasy: Raby
Bahasa Melayu: Rabai
Nederlands: Rabbijn
日本語: ラビ
norsk: Rabbiner
norsk nynorsk: Rabbinar
occitan: Rabin
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਰੱਬੀ
ភាសាខ្មែរ: រ៉ាប៊ី
polski: Rabin
português: Rabino
română: Rabin
русский: Раввин
Scots: Rabbi
shqip: Rabini
Simple English: Rabbi
slovenčina: Rabín
slovenščina: Rabin
српски / srpski: Рабин
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Rabin
suomi: Rabbi
svenska: Rabbin
Tagalog: Rabino
ไทย: รับบี
Türkçe: Haham
українська: Рабин
اردو: ربی
vèneto: Rabín
Tiếng Việt: Rabbi
Winaray: Rabino
ייִדיש: רב
中文: 拉比