Who’s Your Rebbe?

The other day, I was disciplining a wrongdoer while screaming, "Who’s Your Rebbe?"

I then proceeded to give a very complicated Talmudic discourse inspired by this blog post on HirHurim:

It seems that R. Yehudah assumes that you can only have one rebbe while both R. Meir and R. Yossi accept that you can have more than one. It is, therefore, noteworthy that R. Yehudah and R. Meir disagree on the subjects that he must teach you in order to be a rebbe. The Gemara (Avodah Zarah 19a-b) strongly recommends learning texts from only one teacher but learning methods of analyzing multiple texts from more than one teacher.

Therefore, if a rebbe must be someone who taught you to analyze texts, and we accept the advice from Avodah Zarah 19a-b that you should learn this skill from more than one person, then either you have more than one rebbe or your rebbe has to teach you other subjects as well. R. Yehudah chooses the latter — you can have only one rebbe but he can teach you other subjects. R. Meir chooses the former — you can have more than one rebbe but he must teach you to analyze texts.

Tzvee posts: "Can you say conflicts of interest? Rabbis issue laws that put themselves ahead of parents – "returning his lost items before your father’s"? Laws that legislate utter obeisance? Methinks this raises a host of moral, ethical and logical issues that ought to be aired."

Joel Rich posts: "This very observation got me tossed from the Big D’s shiur many years ago. (IIRC it was only viewed as a minor penalty requiring the pretense of going to the office and turning myself in)"

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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