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What is a High Priest?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

Library » History » The Holy Temples » Temple Personalities | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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From amongst the Kohanim, the holy descendants of Aaron, one person was selected to serve as Kohen Gadol (High Priest). Ideally, this person was a great Tzaddik who also served as the spiritual leader of the generation.

The most significant task of the Kohen Gadol was the implementation of the Yom Kippur service in the Temple. On this day he would enter the otherwise un-enterable Holy of Holies four times, with the mission of attaining forgiveness and atonement on behalf of all the Jews.

The most significant task of the Kohen Gadol was the implementation of the Yom Kippur service in the Temple
[Yom Kippur saw the convergence of the holiest elements of time, space and life: the holiest time, Yom Kippur; the holiest location, the Holy of Holies; and the holiest person, the Kohen Gadol.] 

Today, there is no Kohen Gadol, as there is no Temple.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Jewish Identity » Kohains and Levites » The Holy Tribe

Tzaddik
(fem. Tzidkanit; pl. Tzaddikim). A saint, or righteous person.
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement. This late-autumn high-holiday is the holiest day of the year. We devote this day to repentance and all healthy adults are required to fast.
Kohanim
Plural form of Kohain. Priests of G-d. This title belongs to the male descendants of Aaron, brother of Moses. The primary function of the Kohain was to serve in the Holy Temple. Today the Kohain is still revered and it is his function to recite the Priestly Blessings on certain occasions.
Aaron
Brother of Moses. First High Priest of Israel and progenitor of all Kohanim (priests) until this very day. Died in the year 1272 b.c.e.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.