A leading rabbi of the Vishnitz dynasty shocked chassidim at the third Sabbath (Shalosh Seuadah)meal and said, “Don’t call me ‘Rebbe” because he does not deserve the title. He told followers to address him only with the title “Rabbi.”
“Rebbe,” a word derived from the Hebrew word for “Rabbi, is used in Chassidic movements to designate a leader of the community and a spiritual guide, while a “Rabbi” is one who rules on matters of Jewish law.
Asking chassidim to address him only as “rabbi,” he confessed, “I did not behave as I should have in my youth. This is the truth,” he was quoted as saying by the Cheder Haredim website.
He spoke at the traditional late afternoon meal at the Vishnitz Torah study center in Bnei Brak on the day of the anniversary of the death of one of the founders of the Vishnitz Chassidic movement.
The rabbi, whose name was not disclosed, said he previously asked his family not to call him “Rebbe” and that now he has decided to extendÂ his request to the general community, but chassidim said he did not obligate them to act accordingly.
“The Vishnitz custom in the Days of Rosh HaShanah to Yom Kippur is to look to the Rebbe, a title that at this time I do not deserve,” the rabbi said. “I ask you not to do so and also not to do anything against Jewish law. I ask everybody in this hall that when they stand for the Amidah prayer to be sure they do so towards the east,” in the direction of the site of the destroyed Holy Temples. The “Amidah” prayer is the central part of prayers in the morning, afternoon and evening.
Source: Arutz Sheva