The Ramban (Reb Moshe ben Nachman, known also as Nachmanides) had a student whose name was Reb Avner. Avner rebelled vehemently against his respected teacher and the observance of Judaism. One Yom Kippur he encountered the Ramban, who asked him what prompted him to rebel. Avner responded that he once heard the Ramban say that everyone and everything in the world, including all the mitzvos, were hinted to in the Torah portion of Haazinu. Deciding that this was impossible, Avner surmised that all of Judaism must likewise be flawed.

The Ramban told him, “I still maintain that what I said is true. Ask me whatever you wish.”

In great wonderment, Avner asked, “If it is as you say, then show me where my name Avner is written in the portion.”

The Ramban quoted the passage “Amarti afeihem ashbisah mei’enosh zichram — I thought I would make an end of them; I would eliminate mention of them from mankind,” and said, “The third letter of [the last four] words make up the name ‘Avner,’ with the letter reish for ‘Reb’ as the first one.”

Devastated at how gravely mistaken he had been, Avner asked the Ramban for a way to rectify all his wrongdoings. The Ramban said, “You heard it directly from the Torah”: “Amarti afeihem ashbisah mei’enosh zichram.” Distraught, he embarked on a journey by sea and was never seen again.

What is most intriguing about this story — says the Rebbe — is that his name, as it is hinted to in the Torah, includes the honorable title of Reb, which he merited through his repentance in asking his teacher if there was a remedy for his spiritual decline. And in truth, even before repenting, he carried the title Reb.

Toras Menachem 5742, vol. 1, p. 109