The Rebbe reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Rebbe

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Rebbe is a title that may be given to a rabbi in Orthodox Judaism, particular in Hasidic Judaism. It is a Hebrew word denoting "my teacher".

Orthodox Jews use the term to denote someone that their perceive not only as the religious leader of their congregation, but as their spiritual advisor and mentor. A rebbe is someone whose views are accepted not just on issues of religious dogma and practice, but in all arenas of life, such as politics and social and issues.

One example is Orthodox Hasidic Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the last leader of the Chabad Lubavitch hasidim; he was referred to as "The Rebbe" by Lubavitch Hasidim. Each Hasidic sect refers to their leader as "The Rebbe".

In Israel, the best known Hasidic sects are the Ger, Vizhnits and Belz Hasidim, each sect having their own rebbes. In the United States of America there are the Satmar, Puppa Skulen Bobov, and Lubavitch Hasidim.

Some Hasidic rebbes have thousands of followers, or disciples called hasidim, (meaning "righteous ones"), whilst others may have only a few hundred. Some only have a title , but don't have a following beyond their own family members.

See also: Rabbi, Hasidic Judaism