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Father bought university male student to the house. & Daughter commented about it.

Daughter: I heard once that the Rabbi, Who must praise himself has a congregation of one.

Student: Your daughter has a quick and witty tongue.

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A congregation is a group of people that come together. When speaking about a religious figure (rabbi, priest, imam), congregation is often taken to mean "the followers" (those who consider this rabbi to be their rabbi).

a congregation of one

This expresses that there is only one member in this congregation. It's not really a group of people, it's just one person.

In essence, the daughter is mocking the rabbi for having only one follower. It implies that the quality of the rabbi is directly evidenced by the size of the congregation (small congregation = bad rabbi).


If you want an analogy:

Tom has been doing stand-up comedy for a while now. His mom runs the fan club, and is also the only member of the fan club.

I'm not as witty as the daughter, but the same principle applies here. Tom is being mocked for only having a single fan (and it's his mom, to make it even worse).

  • +1 In fact, this hypothetical Rabbi has no followers: the one person in the congregation is the Rabbi himself. – StoneyB Aug 4 '17 at 9:24
  • @StoneyB: From the provided context, it could also have meant that student as the sole follower. It somewhat hinges on the conversation in which this was stated. But yes, I agree that it probably refers to the rabbi himself. – Flater Aug 4 '17 at 11:55

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