Hanina Segan ha-Kohanim

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For the 2nd century Tanna sage, see Haninah.
Rabbinical Eras

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 lived during the destruction of Second Temple of Jerusalem, and had testified, following that event, on what he had seen occur on the Holy Temple. He was the son Rabbi Simeon ben ha-Segan. 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 25th of Sivan month on the Hebrew calendar (Hebrew: כ"ה בסיוון‎; Arba'ah Turim and Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 580).

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".;

Talmud, Tractate Sota, 42a

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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