There is a custom in the authentic Lithuanian yeshiva world to call people Reb just like you could say Mr Smith. Thus we have even the greatest of Torah scholars being called as "Mr Smith" as in "Reb Chaim" [that is Chaim Soloveitchik] or the "Chafetz Chaim." Or "Reb Moshe" [Moshe Feintstein]. "Reb Aaron" [Aaron Kotler]. But this is only a custom. [That is "Reb" is the same as "Mr."]
Sephardim have a custom that is also admirable. For authentic Torah Scholars they use the name the Talmud gives them: "Rav." So for the greatest Sephardi Torah Scholar we have "Rav Ovadia Joseph."
Gentiles for some reason have not learned to make this distinction, nor have most secular Jews. I have no idea why this is.
But my guess is that the true Torah scholars never made it their business to make this distinction which leaves all us simple Jews in a award position. It is almost impossible to tell who is real and who is putting on an act.
So why do not the true scholars speak up? I could not even begin to guess. It is like unspoken rule.
In the name of all of us simple Jews, I ask the true Torah scholars to help us to make this important distinction. Because without it everyone suffers.
But the silence of Torah scholars is puzzling in more ways than one. Everyone reading this probably knows just what I mean and has encountered this in many other ways. Maybe there is something good about their silence I do not know. But I speak my mind.