Hanina Segan ha-Kohanim

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For the 2nd century Tanna sage, see Haninah.

Hanina [Hananyah] Segan ha-Kohanim [1] (Hebrew: ר' חנינא (חנניה) סגן הכהנים‎, lit. "R. Hanina (Hananiah) [the] Segan (Deputy) Ha-Kohanim (High priest)") was of the first Generation of the Jewish Tanna sages. He was the father of Rabbi Simeon ben ha-Segan.

He lived during the destruction of Second Temple of Jerusalem, and had testified, following that event, on what he had seen occur during the destruction; the book "Yihusei Tanna'im ve-Amora'im" cites that he was killed along with Shimon ben Gamliel and Ishmael ben Elisha ha-Kohen. It is said that he was one of the Ten Martyrs, and was killed on the 25th of Sivan.[2]

Hanina earned his title due to the role he fulfilled - as Deputy to the Kohen Gadol (High priest) in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. Ha-Segan was a position with the responsibility of overseeing the actions of the work of the Temple's priests (Kohens) staff, as well as a stand-in position, ready to take the role of High priest in case he will be found unfit to serve the holy work on the temple. In that conjunction, Hanina was considered a "Segan Ha-Kohanim", only second to the High priest, as R. Hanina himself indicates: "R. Hanina the Segan of the priests said: Why a 'Segan' [Deputy] is ever appointed ? In case the high-priest became unfit for service, the 'Segan' [Deputy] should enter at once to do the service".[3]

At his time, many High priests reshuffled, while he remained in his role, and for that reason, it is believed to be the possible reason he was named 'Segan ha-Kohanim' rather than the more common term used in the Gemara: 'Ha-Segan'.

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