Av Beit Din

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The av beit din (Hebrew: אָב בֵּית דִּיןʾabh bêth dîn, "chief of the court" or "chief justice"or "chief justice"[1]), also spelled av beis din or abh beth din and abbreviated ABD (אב״ד‬), was the second-highest-ranking member of the Sanhedrin during the Second Temple period, and served as an assistant to the Nasi.[2]

The president, who bore the title Nasi "Prince", was in a way the supervisor of the court, which consisted of seventy additional members. Any judgment issued by the Sanhedrin in the absence of the Nasi was invalid.[2]

The Av Beit Din was known as the "Master of the Court" (Av Beit Din)." and he was the most learned and important of these seventy members. [3]

The last Av Beth Din in Jewish tradition is Menahem the Essene who abdicated to "serve the King" in 20BCE. Caiaphas was set to be next Av Beth Din but was opposed by the House of Shammai until Gamaliel became Nasi. Talmudic Judaism does not recognise any Av Beth Din after Menachem.

Modern usage[edit]

In modern times the title av beis din is often used as an honorific for the presiding rabbi of a beth din (rabbinical court), who is typically the salaried rabbi of the local Jewish community and usually a posek ("decisor" of Halakha). It is also abbreviated as AB"D when it is after the name of the Chief Rabbi of a national Jewish community.

It can also refer to the most senior member of the court.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yaakov Yosef Reinman (2002). Medrash Rabba HaMeVoAr. ISBN 1583306102.
  2. ^ a b Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. "The Jewish Court System".
  3. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "BET DIN". Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  4. ^ "What is a Beit Din".