Chapter 5: What is a Rebbe?

          In Judaism your tour guide is referred to as a "Rebbe". The term “Rebbe” suggests a spiritual guide who can advise you about Judaism.

          When God gave the Torah to the Jewish nation approximately 3,500 years ago, He ordained that its transmission should be perpetuated through a teacher-student relationship; in Hebrew, this is known as a Rebbe-Talmid relationship. Judaism has depended on this Rebbe-Talmid relationship to remain intact throughout the millennia.

          Hence, if you want to study Judaism and receive its tradition, you need to find a Rebbe who has received the tradition from the previous generation.

          So how do you go about finding yourself a Rebbe?

          It’s not so hard. All over the world today, there are Jews, young and old, men and women who are devoting their lives to Jewish outreach; they are devoting their lives to helping YOU in your search.       If you have read this far you have already been reached and encountered by one such outreach effort.

Did you ever wonder if anyone cares about you? The Torah commands us to look out for our fellow Jew - that's you.

We would like you to know, there are hundreds of Jews throughout the world who have devoted their lives to helping beginners like yourself discover Judaism. Over the past four decades Jewish outreach boasts an impressive record of accomplishment bringing Judaism to tens of thousands of previously unaffiliated.

          Outreach personnel are helping Jews discover their Judaism by actually going out and making contact with them. Their outreach efforts take place at such diverse locations as: The Western Wall, The Hebrew University, University of Michigan, Queens College, UCLA and on the street corners of Tel Aviv and New York City, as well as in workplaces in major metropolitan areas.

          It is not only outreach personnel who can be your Rebbe but really anyone versed in Torah scholarship.  The reason we recommend an outreach professional is because they have devoted their lives to helping Jews like you. They are trained not only to impart knowledge, but to guide and coach. By hooking up with such an individual you will be afforded the support you need both educationally and socially.  Getting in touch with an outreach person should be one of the very first things you do.  Don't go it alone; there are sincere, concerned professionals out there to help you get started.

          To find an outreach person to contact in your locale, please refer to the appendix in the back of this volume.

          How do you choose which Rebbe is right for you?

You are the one who determines who your Rebbe is going to be.  The obvious question is, how do you make your determination?  Without giving a lengthy list of points to look for let us offer what should be your single most important consideration:  RAPPORT.

          Through your own experience with the individual you will quickly be able to determine if there is a positive rapport.  Don't be turned off by externals; speak with the person, see if there is good communication.  You wouldn't believe the number of times we've heard "That Rabbi really knows where I'm coming from".

          Keep in mind, as you grow your needs for a Rebbe will also grow and you may advance to other Rebbeim (plural of Rebbe). In fact, having more than one Rebbe can be advantageous; each Rebbe can impart to you additional knowledge and subtleties of Judaism.

In Summary:  The concept of Rebbe is critical to your growth in Judaism!  Getting a Rebbe is really where you should begin. So get yourself a Rebbe! 


Last updated on: 03/31/2020
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