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What is the role and function of the synagogue rabbi?

What is the role and function of the synagogue rabbi?


What is the function of a rabbi? What is his purpose and mission? What is he there to accomplish? I would imagine that if you would ask three different rabbis you would probably get three unique responses. Perhaps that might be because they each are serving three unique communities; three distinct groups of people, with different needs and desires.

You asked; so I will give you my take on the issue. A rabbi is there to service his community and provide them in all areas of life. This obviously begins with catering to their religious needs: weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and the like. Some people might need some guidance in their religious observances. Then there is the social aspect. Some people might need counseling for their marriage while others might need a supportive shoulder, while yet others might need help in being able to find a business contact.

A rabbi is all that, and more. All this is merely reactive, how a rabbi reacts to his community and duly serves as such. But there is the proactive side of a rabbi; one that needs to encourage growth; one that has to foster unity amongst his respective community and has to promote Jewish identity and pride amongst his congregants. Mostly, he needs to stand up and gaze into the crowd, better yet, go into the crowd, and see what he can do to better this community and its people in all aspects, religious and social alike.

Needless to say, all of the above is done in a manner that is imbued and embodied with the spirit of the Torah; as the Torah is our guide to living a morally, ethically and religiously productive life. The Rabbi is our tour guide.

What do you think is the role of a rabbi?

May I suggest that you visit a local Chabad Center to see for yourself what a rabbi is all about.

All the best,

Rabbi Shmuel Kogan,

Rabbi Shmuel Kogan of Brooklyn, NY, is a responder for's Ask the Rabbi feature.
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September 29, 2013
Function of Rabbi
Thank you. Excellent article. Very informative. Brief and to the point.
Peter Grathios