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    I. Respecting Your
    Torah Teacher
    Calling a Torah
    scholar by his title is
    a matter of showing
    honor to the Torah.
    You must show respect
    to your mentor, your rebbe, by, for
    example, rising when he enters a room
    (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De’ah 242:16).
    Among the other obligations to your
    mentor is refraining from calling him
    by his name (ibid., 15). The Rema adds
    that you may call him by his name if you
    preface his name with the title “rabbi”
    (or another title of respect).
    You must also respect someone who
    taught you a little Torah – even just one
    word. However, the respect you must
    show him is less than what you must
    show your mentor (Shulchan Aruch,
    Yoreh De’ah 242:30). The Sedei Chemed
    encyclopedia (Ma’areches chaf, no. 104)
    quotes the Tzapichis Bi-Dvash who
    argues that you may call such a teacher
    by name, without a title, while Rav
    Yechezkel Landau (18th cen., Czech;

    Tzelach, Berachos 4a sv. va-ani) holds
    you must use a title although you need
    not call him just “rebbe.” Rav Yisrael
    Lipschitz (19th cen., Germany; Tiferes
    Yisrael, Avos 6:3 no. 50) also contends
    that you are obligated to call him by a
    II. Respecting a Rabbi
    The Sifra (Lev. 19:32, quoted by Rashi,
    ad loc.) says that all the obligations
    to honor the elderly also applies to all
    Torah scholars, even if they never taught
    you anything. Quite surprisingly, no
    subsequent Medieval or early Modern
    source repeats that obligation. Shulchan
    Aruch (Yoreh De’ah 243:6, 244:1)
    follows the unanimous precedent and
    states that your only obligation to respect
    Torah scholars consists of rising when
    they enter your vicinity and refraining
    from insulting them. Rav Chaim Yosef
    David Azulai (Chida, 18th cen., Israel;
    Birkei Yosef, Yoreh De’ah 244:6)
    notes that the Sifra’s extensive list of
    mandatory respectful practices was
    disputed and concludes that the law
    requires nothing more than rising and

    refraining from insulting. However, Rav
    Yisrael Meir Kagan (20th cen., Russia;
    Chafetz Chaim, Asin, n. 8 in asterisk)
    assumes that the law follows the Sifra
    and leaves as an open question why the
    codes neglect to mention it.
    Everyone agrees that you have to call
    your mentor by a title. If the rabbi only
    taught you a little, there is a debate
    whether you may call him by his name.
    Regarding a rabbi who is not your
    teacher, according to Chida, you do
    not have to call by a title. According to
    Chafetz Chaim, you must use a title and
    may not call him by his name alone. I
    would like to suggest a proof for Chafetz
    Chaim’s view.
    III. A Rabbi’s Inheritance
    The Gemara (Kesubos 85b) tells the
    story of a man who bequeathed his estate
    to Tuviah, without identifying the man
    beyond saying the first name. To whom
    should the court give all his belongings?
    ”A certain man said (to those present at
    his deathbed): ‘My property (should go)
    to Tuviah. He passed away, and Tuviah
    came (to claim his possessions).
    Rabbi Yochanan said: Tuviah has
    come. (If the deceased had) said: My
    property should go to Tuviah, and Rav
    Tuviah came forward, (it is assumed
    that this is not the person the deceased
    had in mind, for he) said: To Tuviah.
    He did not say: To Rav Tuviah. But
    if (Rav Tuviah) is a person who is
    friendly (with the deceased), then he
    was friendly with him.” (translation
    adapted from Koren Steinsaltz)
    If someone named Tuviah comes
    forward, the court accepts that he was
    the intended recipient. If someone
    named Rav Tuviah comes forward,
    then we reject him because the
    deceased named Tuviah as his heir.
    He would have called the rabbi by
    his title as Rav Tuviah. The exception
    is if they were friends. If a rabbi is
    your good friend, you call him by
    his first name and don’t necessarily
    use his title. Then Rav Tuviah would
    have been just plain Tuviah to the
    deceased, his friend, and could have
    been the intended heir.
    IV. The Rabbi’s Buddy
    We see from here two things. First,
    you normally call a rabbi by his title.
    Even if he isn’t your teacher, you still

    call him by the title and not by his first
    name. However, if you are good friends,
    the title isn’t necessary. In fact, we expect
    you to call him by his first name without
    any title. Rav Yosef Chaviva (15th cen.,
    Spain; Chiddushei Nimukei Yosef, ad
    loc.) says this explicitly: “Friendly with
    him: Was with him regularly. Since they
    were friendly, he called him by his name
    as if he was not ordained.” (Note that the
    Gemara uses the title Rav Tuviah and not
    Rabbi Tuviah, implying that he was in
    Babylonia where they could not continue
    the formal chain of rabbinic ordination.)
    According to Chida, that you do not
    have to call a rabbi by his title unless he
    is your teacher, why does the Gemara
    need the condition that the rabbi was
    friendly with the deceased? A man,
    particularly an old man, established in
    the community, would call a rabbi by his
    first name, just plain Tuviah, even if they
    aren’t friends. Unless Rav Tuviah is his
    teacher, he would just be plain Tuviah.
    However, according to Chafetz Chaim,
    you have to call him Rav Tuviah because
    he is a rabbi, even if you don’t know him
    well. It’s a matter of kevod ha-Torah,
    respecting the Torah. Only if he is your
    friend, you can set aside the formalities
    and call him just Tuviah. Therefore, this
    passage seems to support the Chafetz
    Chaim’s view against the Chida’s.