In the Beracha of Elohai, we refer to God using a number of different descriptives. Towards the end, we give thanks to God as:

רִבּוֹן כָּל הַמַּעֲשִׂים, אֲדוֹן כָּל הַנְּשָׁמוֹת.

What are some sources which speak of the difference between רבון and אדון?


1 Answer 1


From what I could quickly gather the first reference to (אדון(י is when Sarah laughed to herself after overhearing what יי said to Abraham in Bereshith 18:12. The English translation uses a lower cased "lord or husband" as translated in my Chumash. In modern Hebrew אדון can be used for the English "sir, mister, master, lord." If you understand the נְקֻדּוֹת (niqqudot) in modern Hebrew, this question can easily rabbit hole into eternity. The Hebrew roots of these words are the guiding lights, אדון has a root of דון.

In regards to רבון, I could only find a root variable of רבון in scripture thus far. In Daniel 9:18 it is stated לֹ֣א עַל־צִדְקֹתֵ֗ינוּ אֲנַ֨חְנוּ מַפִּילִ֤ים תַּחֲנוּנֵ֙ינוּ֙ לְפָנֶ֔יךָ כִּ֖י עַל־רַחֲמֶ֥יךָ הָרַבִּֽים׃; or Not because of any merit of ours do we lay our plea before You but because of Your abundant mercies. The root variable of רִבּוֹן is הָרַבִּֽים or abundant in English. In modern Hebrew words such as "gentlemen, maximum, and interest (banking) also share the same root, רבב. If you wish to dive deeper into רבון, this is a great place to find sources from TaNaKh.

With all that being said, it would seem that the difference depends; Do you speak/read Hebrew?

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya! Please take a moment to look at our tour, as this is different than other sites you might be used to. Could you possibly edit to explain how this directly answers the question?
    – DonielF
    Jan 17, 2020 at 13:01
  • Thank you for the welcome. The question is 'What are some sources which speak of the difference between רבון and אדון?' The answer to the question is/was stated above. What part of my answer do you not understand? The sources are Daniel 9:18 & Bereshith 18:12. The first two biblical usages of the words that I could find with minimum research. Jan 17, 2020 at 18:08
  • But this doesn’t actually explain how the words are being used differently in these contexts.
    – DonielF
    Jan 18, 2020 at 19:54
  • (1) שבוע טובת, the question was "What are some sources which speak of the difference between רבון and אדון?." Not "how" they are being used differently. Please feel free to answer how you feel is appropriate. I did read something interesting this past Shabbat. Jan 19, 2020 at 1:14
  • (2) In Rambam's ( may his memory be blessed ) "Guide for the Perplexed, Vol. 1, Chapter 70" he speaks about the verb לִרְכּוֹב ( in modern Hebrew ) or "to ride" in English. Although the root of Rakab is רכב, in my opinion they are similar. In explaining your question regarding this מעשה בראשית or "work of in the beginning of creation," without expounding too much; It seems that רבון as used in various Siddurim is conveying the notion of יי as riding on the Universe as in רבונו של עולם (Ribono shel olam) Jan 19, 2020 at 1:21

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