Inspired by this question, I have often heard people pronounce the name רבא as Rava and the name רבה as Rabbah. Is there a basis for this differentiation? Does anybody know where it comes from?

  • I think that's how the grammar specifies them to be.
    – Scimonster
    Feb 11, 2015 at 7:55
  • 1
    @Cnsermoit In Aramaic the word רבא is pronounced rabba. Look at the Targum (which has nekudos) any time the word comes up. If in fact the amoras name was pronounced this way and not Rava,it would explain why the two names are mixed up so often.
    – user6591
    Feb 11, 2015 at 12:45
  • I've also heard this. I believe that it's a big stretch to say that רבא and רבה are the same person, because there are some instances where they argue with each other (rather famously, Gittin 2a-b).
    – MTL
    Feb 11, 2015 at 14:42
  • @Shokhet someone suggested they were the same person?
    – user6591
    Feb 11, 2015 at 17:32
  • 3
    It doesn't answer your question, but in Yeshiva we were (somewhat ironically) taught "יהא שמיה רבא", explained as, "If it is a 'ה', his name is Rabbah"
    – Menachem
    Feb 12, 2015 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


רַבָּה is written explicitly in the Torah the way we pronounce it in Bereishis 26,14: וַיְהִי לוֹ מִקְנֵה צֹאן וּמִקְנֵה בָקָר וַעֲבֻדָּה רַבָּה.

Its a name of a place in Samuel 12,27 and Chronicles 1 20,1: נִלְחַ֣מְתִּי בְרַבָּ֔ה גַּם־לָכַ֖דְתִּי אֶת־עִ֥יר הַמָּֽיִם

It is also a name in Yechezkel 5,5: וְנָתַתִּ֤י אֶת־רַבָּה֙

It is also name of a place/person in Jeremiah 49:3 צְעַקְנָה֮ בְּנ֣וֹת רַבָּה֒

But רָבָא is not explicitly written anywhere in tenach so in order to differentiate between the 2 names, the minhag is that we pronounce it with a kometz under the Reish and a komeitz under the beis and then the beis automatically doesn't have a dageish and is pronounced Rovo (ashkenazi) or Rava (sefaradi) which sounds different to Rabo or raba.

These are example of words wich the 2 letters before the end have 2 komeitzs ther is no dageish in the letter before the end:
Bereishis 11,3:הָבָה נִלְבְּנָה לְבֵנִים

Bereishis 11,4:הָבָה נִבְנֶה לָּנוּ עִיר

Bereishis 11,7: הָבָה נֵרְדָה וְנָבְלָה שָׁם שְׂפָתָם

Bereishis 29,21 applies toa noun:וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל לָבָן הָבָה אֶת אִשְׁתִּי

And here is a Noun in Melachim 1 15,8וַיִּמְלֹ֛ךְ אָסָ֥א בְנ֖וֹ תַּחְתָּֽיו

In Aramaic as well we find the word הָכָ֑א (which means here") many many times where the a kometz under the first letter and a komeitz under the second letter which drops the dageish just like רָבָא

Also בָּבָא appears many times which means gate and is a noun has the same rule as רָבָא.

So רָבָא is grammatically correct without a dageish in the Beis.


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