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It is customary to put many honorific titles before most modern day Rabbis (I've even seen seforim that write Harav Hagaon etc. etc. So-And-So). Many times one sees long lines of adjactives praising the Rabbi being quoted.

Yet, we refer to most of the earlier Rabbis with much less adjectives. I've never heard anyone say Harav Hagaon Rashkebehag Kvod Kdushas Moshe Zatzal when referring to Moshe Rabbeinu.

Is it that we have more respect to our Rabbis than they did in the past?

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Could you really have said that Moshe was Rosh Kol Benei HaGolah? There was no Golah! – Double AA Jan 9 '12 at 19:40
The more titles a person needs, the less we are sure of their greatness. Or some quote like that. The more names I see before a rabbi the less respect I assume they have in the greater community, or there would be no need for the honorifics. – avi Jan 9 '12 at 19:43
There is a concept (it's first mentioned, as far as I know, by R. Sherira Gaon) that גדול מרבן שמו, the highest accolade that can be given a person is that he doesn't need a title. Hence, he says, the sages of the generations up to Hillel and Shammai didn't have titles; with the decline of Torah knowledge that began then, there developed the hierarchy of titles rabban, rabbi, and rav. (Though that doesn't really answer your question about multiple titles.) – Alex Jan 10 '12 at 14:44
@Alex, yet we do call them Avraham avinu, Yitzchak avinu, Yaakov avinu, Yosef hatzadik, Moshe rabenu, Aharon hakohen, David hamelech, and Sh'lomo hamelech, and not Avraham, Yitzchak, et al. – msh210 Jan 10 '12 at 16:20
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Since nobody answered, I'll just restate my comment.

The more praises and titles a person needs, the more I feel the person is not widely respected. If they were really well known, they would not need the titles, people would just know who you were talking about when you said "Moshe" or "Hillel."

The reality is your question should be reversed, and you should ask why we shower titles and statements on people who we should be refering to respectfully? I can not count the number of times I have heard HaGaon HaRav X being used as a way to mock the followers of that Rabbi.

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Good answer. I didnt realize that the question was a question – Adam Mosheh Jan 10 '12 at 21:27

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