In the Jewish religion, the Torah is a holy book par excellence. Its content can be interpreted in several ways, for this reason there is a teacher who presents himself within the Jewish communities as an expert with knowledge of the Torah: the rabbi. Therefore, the rabbi is a spiritual guide and a teacher who teaches Jewish doctrine.
The figure of the rabbi in Jewish communities
The rabbi is, above all, a profound connoisseur of the Jewish religion, that is, of sacred texts, traditions, history and Jewish symbolism. In relation to their activities, they can be formative, spiritual or liturgical. Anyway, the rabbi is a leader of the Jewish community.
Its functions are diverse and some of the most significant are as follows:
- – Is the most authoritative interpreter of Jewish law within a community;
- – Marriages are celebrated in synagogues and the rabbi is the religious authority that formalizes the union between a man and a woman;
- – Is a spiritual advisor and a servant of God who is at the service of the community;
- – He is a teacher who teaches the precepts of the Torah and seeks to adapt its content to the context of the current world;
- – From a personal point of view, it works as a moral reference , an individual whose conduct serves as an example to be followed by others.
The appointment of a rabbi
The nomination process depends on a rabbinical court , an institution that is part of a community and that examines the knowledge and human qualities of a candidate rabbi. In this sense, a rabbi must know the Torah in depth, learn Hebrew and undergo a period of training and formation. In addition to his great knowledge, he must have certain qualities (a deep faith in Yahvéh, honesty , spirit of service to the community and observance of Jewish law).
the first rabbis
Historically, the first rabbis emerged from the Pharisees living in Israel in the 1st century ad. C, during Roman rule. In this community, a small group (the tannaim) started the rabbinical tradition and wrote the Mishna, a text that collects Jewish laws and their oral tradition.