Q&A: Using Rabeinu’s Name

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

Author: Ozer Bergman

Ozer Bergman is an editor for the Breslov Research Institute, a spiritual coach, and author of Where Earth and Heaven Kiss: A Practical Guide to Rebbe Nachman's Path of Meditation.

Share This Post On


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

    Post a Reply
    • 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.

      Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *