The dummies guide to Charedi rabbinic titles
Yated Neeman (Hebrew) made history yesterday when it called R' Aharon Leib Steinman מרן. The title מרן until now had been reserved only for R' Elyashiv and crowns R' Steinman as his successor.
This led me to realize that many of the casual readers of Yated Neeman and this blog don't know the subtle differences in titles used and what they mean. Therefore I offer an an explanation of the Rabbinic titles that the Charedi press (mostly Yated) uses:
1. הרב - This is used for every Charedi public figure. All of the Charedi MKs are called Harav, for example, Harav Eli Yishai.
2. הרה"ג - הרב הגאון - Since everyone is called Harav someone who is a Rabbi of a community, shul, etc. or a Rosh Yeshiva, Ram, etc. can't also just be Harav. Therefore they have now become הרב הגאון and when they are introduced the speaker generally just says Hagaon.
3. הגאון - This is applied to certain important Rabbinic figures as they are more important then the average rabbinic figure who is הרב הגאון
4. הגאון הגדול - Since every shul rabbi and Rosh Yeshiva is already הרב הגאון, we need a new title for the Gedolim. We can't have someone like R' Chaim Kanivsky referred to by the same title as your local community Rabbi. Therefore they came up with הגאון הגדול, the great Gaon, for Rabbanim like R' Chaim Kanievsky, R' Shmuel Auerbach etc.
5. מרן - This title is reserved for the person who is considered to be the Gadol Hador. First it was R' Shach, then R' Elyashiv and for the first time yesterday R' Steinman.
(Edited July 5th)