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In Brachot 49a, it talks about what people must say in birkat hamazon.

The top of the page is part of a braita, which quotes רבי אבא as saying that to fulfill their obligation, one must mention, among other things, brit milah and the Torah in the bracha on the land (נודה לך), and malchut David in the next bracha.

The Gemara then says this supports רבי אילעא אמר רבי יעקב בר אחא משום רבינו, who says the same thing.

When i learned this, i heard something interesting. Both the רבי אבא of the braita and רבינו of the Gemara are the same person - the man commonly known as רב. The source for רבי אבא is in the mesoret hashas gloss. ArtScroll brings Rashash as the source for רב being called רבינו.
I don't think רבינו here refers to רבי יהודה הנשיא, because he is usually called רבינו הקדוש when not referred to as רבי.

If that is the case, that they are the same person, what does the Gemara gain by bringing both statements of רב, under two names?

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    It supports רבי אילעא's statement that Rabbeinu said it (independent corroboration). – Yishai Dec 25 '14 at 22:50
  • Would demonstrating that Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi is indeed called Rabbeinu (without HaKadosh) answer your question? – Y     e     z Dec 25 '14 at 22:58
  • @YeZ If you can provide sufficient evidence that that is the case, then i guess so. See meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/q/2179/5151 – Scimonster Dec 25 '14 at 23:11
  • @Scimonster Right - I was wondering how much you were assuming A, or taking A as a given of the question. – Y     e     z Dec 25 '14 at 23:13
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The מגיד תעלומה suggests that you cannot say that רבי אבא is רב in this case, because further on רב is quoted by רב חננאל as taking a different view.

The יפה תלמוד ג"ח suggests that in this case, רבינו is רבינו הקדוש for the same reason - רב being quoted further on as contradicting this din.

The עטרת שאול discusses this at length, suggesting different points. Among them:

  1. רבינו is רבינו הקדוש - he points to ביצה דף כב as support for that.

  2. He and quotes a sefer called לשם זבח as saying that in this case רבינו is שמואל (based on the fact that in the Yerushalmi רב יעקב בר אחא is often quoting him).

  3. He then (in rather terse language) poses some questions on the sugia, including how the Rambam paskens, and concludes that both are one consistent opinion. So everyone is quoting רב. If so, he doesn't spell it out, but the answer to your question would have to be that רבי אילעא's statement is being supported as accurately quoting רב, and given the potentially contradictory statement further on, that becomes an important clarification of רב's opinion.

  4. He suggests that רבי אבא's statement ends earlier and the conclusion (that one does not fulfill the obligation) is the conlusion of the author of the ברייתא, not a direct quote of רבי אבא. Note, however, that given the time frame this kind of assumes that רבי אבא isn't רב, otherwise רב is at best the last of the Tanayim. However, he doesn't seem to stick with that idea in any event.

  5. In a long involved point which I would encourage you to read inside to understand, he says there are two distinct cases going on over here. One is about women being Yotzei men with Birchas HaMazon since they don't have equal obligations in them and the other is the man himself saying his own Birchas HaMazon.

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