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Rashi, Rambam, the Maharal, the Rosh, the Rema, etc. are all usually referred to by their acronyms. This custom makes sense in a culture that is mostly transmitted through the written word where ink and paper were not cheap - someone wrote רש"י, so I say Rashi.

Who was the first person to be generally addressed as an acronym? Who popularized the use of that acronym?

marked as duplicate by yydl, Michoel, Isaac Moses, Seth J, Charles Koppelman Apr 9 '13 at 16:04

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  • How about רשב"י? – sam Apr 7 '13 at 23:07
  • @sam Is that what he called himself? – Double AA Apr 7 '13 at 23:33
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    what does "generally addressed" mean? By himself about himself? By contemporaries to his face? By others after his death? – rosends Apr 7 '13 at 23:59
  • @Dan That's why I am asking the second question - Who popularized the use of that acronym?. I think "generally addressed" means "at some point in time". – Charles Koppelman Apr 8 '13 at 2:37
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    @msh210, technically, that's what an acronym is. If it is not pronounced as such, it is just a generic abbreviation. – Daniel Apr 9 '13 at 13:28

A possible candidate would be the Amora אביי - whose real name was נחמני but was called אביי by the acronym for אֲשֶׁר-בְּךָ יְרֻחַם יָתוֹם. Read more details here.

Unless you want to argue it was Avraham Avinu: אַבְרָהָם, כִּי אַב-הֲמוֹן גּוֹיִם נְתַתִּיךָ


Some people (I believe erroneously) claim that Maccabee is from Mi Chamocha B'elim YHWH. If that is the case, I go with Judah the Maccabee. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maccabees

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