Then Y’SHUAH said … 2
"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3
So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do … 5
"Everything they do is done for men to see: … 6
they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7
they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’
8"But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, … 12For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, … 13"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! … " and then He lists their hypocrisy in not living and acting according to their teachings. Note, that He does NOT condemn their knowledge – to the contrary, he affirms it in verse 2 & 3: "you must obey them and do everything they tell you."
The context of chapter 23 should leave no doubt that Y’SHUAH was placing a caution on the misuse of this title of address in the way that it is commonly done by both the bearers of this title and their followers. In this instance, the context of chapter 23 applies the misuse to the bearers, i.e. the Rabbis. teachers or ‘fathers’ (reverends, pastors, bishops etc) themselves.
But many followers of their teachers commit this misuse also by accepting and presenting the declarations and interpretations of their specific teacher:
– as the final word on a matter;
– rejecting all alternatives, often without considering such alternative interpretations, even without proper personal research of the matter;
– putting it even above the Word of God itself. Of course, this format is used against Rabbis constantly, accusing them of "man-made interpretations" and failing to realize that someone has to interpret the often not so obvious issues in the Word. They reject the Divine Mandate given to the very Rabbinic Ordination to be the Interpreters of His Word. They fail to realize in doing this, that they themselves are actually committing the very act which He cautioned against, namely to suggest their own interpretation as that Divinely mandated interpretation!
I could go on for hours – but I think that I have set the gist of thinking and action in this regard. THAT is what He cautioned against … i.e. "don’t put the interpretations of your teacher-idols above that which has been sanctioned by God" – the reason being obvious when one observes the results of this misuse in the Babylonish labyrinth of interpretations and the division of spirit that it causes especially in Messianism – but also in Judaism.
The intent of the bearer in applying this title to self, highlights this misuse even further. When a fully "smicha’d" orthodox Rabbi applies this title, he does so after qualifying in the extensive multiple years course and being approved according to the credentials of the 3000 year old "academy" of Rabbinism. So often however, this title is applied by students who have never even seen the inside of a Jewish synagogue. Most of them have never studied under Jewish Rabbis and in fact, reject the orthodox Rabbinic academy of teaching altogether. They qualify according to their own estimation of "Rabbinic knowledge", or the estimation of their evenly unqualified teachers. The very fact that they usurp the title of ‘Rabbi’ infers that they are on a par with "Rabbinic knowledge" – in fact, they regard themselves as more authentic rabbinic than truly Jewishly educated Rabbis.
The caution verbalized in Math. 23 on using or applying the TITLE ‘Rabbi’ or ‘Father’ therefore refers to the INTENT of usage by the spokesperson or the bearer of this title: viz. Don’t use the title to boost your self image and importance, or to hero-worship your teacher.
Kol HaTor Vision
Rabbi is English for the Aramaic "Raboni" which is obviously not found in the Hebrew Torah.
However, the Aramaic "raboni" comes from the Hebrew "adonai" – and "adonai" is found all throughout the Torah to refer to HaShem, to Abraham, Eliezar, Isaac, Joseph, and Moses, to name a few.
The equivalent translation of "adonai" into English is "master" which is also the translation for "raboni."
Keep in mind that addressing someone as Mr. is the same as saying "Mister" which comes from "Master." So essentially if translated properly, Yeshua would be saying "call no one Mister. for you have only one Mister."
Obviously, he can’t contradict Torah that shows Aaron calling Moses "Mister/Master." ("adonai"), so therefore he must be addressing a different usage of the term – that is, the concept behind it, and not the vocalization of "raboni" which transliterates into "rabbi." What Yeshua teaches can’t contradict the Torah when it shows Aaron calling Moses "adonai" and Moses doesn’t stop him.