by Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
First off, today is Purim, and I wish you a happy Purim.
Next, I have a question about something. If it is too personal, I will understand if you do not answer, but why do you refuse to call yourself ‘Reb Gutman,’ and instead only use your personal name. After all, if people want to honor you with the title “Reb”, I think that you should take it.
There are a number of good reasons why I shun your generous title. Let me give you two of them. First and foremost, the Talmud tells us that the “Rabbis require titles to bring honor to themselves,” (such as Rav, Rabbi, Gaon, Reb, and so on) but the Prophets, who were so much greater than they were, have always been known by just their first names!
Secondly, a Jewish teacher or writer (and his works), will often become known by his rosh hatevot (the initial letters of his name). For instance, you might not know who Rabbi Moses ben Maimon is, but you certainly know the Rambam. You might not recognize Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman’s name, but you definitely have heard of the Ramban.
Well, a good friend and well-meaning associate decided to give me a promotion from being just plain “Gutman” to becoming “Reb Gutman.” Unassuming enough, right? But before this, I, and my writings might have been called the “Gubeg” (My father’s name was Gershon). Gubeg seems okay, but after my new lofty title, the initial letters became Rgbg. You might think that this is pronounced Regbag, and I would become the “Regbag,” but I know that it will be pronounced in a more fitting manner, which is Ragbag, and I and my work will become known as the “Rag Bag.”
So, with all due respect, you can just call me Gutman.
Have a happy Purim