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 '15 at 7:55
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    @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 '15 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). – Shokhet Feb 11 '15 at 14:42
  • @Shokhet someone suggested they were the same person? – user6591 Feb 11 '15 at 17:32
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    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 '15 at 4:52

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

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 or Rava 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:וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל לָבָן הָבָה אֶת אִשְׁתִּי

Bereishis 30,1: וַתֹּאמֶר אֶל יַעֲקֹב הָבָה לִּי בָנִים

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

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    Are you sure that Hebrew and Aramaic follow the same rules of grammar and pronunciation? – Joel K Oct 19 '17 at 10:25
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    Talmud Bavli is actually mostly written in Hebrew in this example from Rovo in succah 2a there is only 1 aramaic wordin bold ורבא אמר מהכא (ויקרא כג, מב) בסוכות תשבו שבעת ימים ואמרה תורה כל שבעת הימים צא מדירת קבע ושב בדירת עראי עד עשרים אמה אדם עושה דירתו דירת עראי למעלה מעשרים אמה אין אדם עושה דירתו דירת עראי אלא דירת קבע and that word does follow the Hebrew grammatical rule the כ does not have a dagesh because the ה and the כ both have a komeitz underneath them. – user15464 Oct 19 '17 at 12:03

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