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In Judaism, a person qualified by study of the Hebrew scriptures and the Talmud to serve as spiritual leader of a Jewish community or congregation. Ordination can be conferred by any rabbi, but it usually depends on a written statement issued by the candidate's teacher. Though rabbis are considered teachers rather than priests, they conduct religious services, assist at Bar Mitzvahs, perform marriages, and are present at funerals. In questions of divorce, a rabbi's role depends on an appointment to a special court of Jewish law. The rabbi also counsels and consoles members of his congregation and oversees the religious education of the young.
Variants of RABBI
rabbi or rebbe
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on rabbi, visit Britannica.com.