What happened in history so that there are no-longer high priests?

If succession for the role is by descendant of Aaron, what conditions prevent a new high priest from existing.

  • 7
    What would the point be of designating one? If not, I don't see why you expect anyone to have designated one nowadays that you ask why no one has.
    – Double AA
    May 26, 2020 at 13:49
  • @rosends That's a pretty controversial article. The line "merely 'assumptions' with no halachic or scientific certainty" is borderline heretical in fact, as chazaka is actual a deorayta level proof.
    – Double AA
    May 26, 2020 at 14:04
  • I wonder what would be the procedure for “electing” a new high priest.
    – mroll
    May 26, 2020 at 16:40
  • @mroll - Rambam (Kli Mikdash 4:15) requires Sanhedrin. This is contrary to Tosfos Yuma 12, who require King and other Kohanim: כהן גדול מתמנה בפה ומסתלק בפה... ומסתברא שהדבר תלוי במלך ובאחיו הכהנים
    – chortkov2
    May 26, 2020 at 19:47

2 Answers 2


Among other things there are technicalities preventing anyone from becoming high priest today.

Firstly you would need either a king or Sanhedrin to appoint him (Rambam, Laws of the Temple’s Vessels 4:15 and laws of kings 1:7)

Secondly there is a process in him adopting that position that would require him to either be anointed with a special type of oil or putting on the clothes of the high priest.(Rambam, Laws of the Temple’s Vessels 4:12) Being that for technical reasons we no longer have either of the two we can no longer have a high priest either.

  • 1
    We do have the clothes, and it's not clear the court is really necessary if he goes and does the inauguration without protest.
    – Double AA
    May 27, 2020 at 2:14
  • @DoubleAA Where do we have the clothes?
    – Shmuel L
    May 27, 2020 at 12:31
  • @ShmuelL Presumably Machon HaMikdash has a set or two. If not they could make a set quickly enough.
    – Double AA
    May 27, 2020 at 12:41
  • 1
    @DoubleAA 3 points: 1) We need the Shamir worm to carve out the names on the Choshen. 2) Although "scholars at the Temple Institute of Jerusalem have conducted intensive research into the identity of the breastplate's stones, " they may not have necessarily reached a correct conclusion. 3) Some of the garments require Techailes, for which there is no agreement on what the Chilazon is.
    – Shmuel L
    May 27, 2020 at 13:00
  • @ShmuelL We can use lasers or plastic (if the names even need to be there leikuva?). We also may not have the correct identity of Jerusalem or an Etrog or a cow or wool or flax. Also we could make lots of variations and have him put on each set, at least for the choshen.
    – Double AA
    May 27, 2020 at 13:34

Technically there might be high priests, but modern Judaism has decided not to accept or recognize them.

One current title of high priest is held by Aabed-El ben Asher ben Matzliach from the Samaritan community in Israel. You can find out more information about him and his lineage from here: https://www.israelite-samaritans.com/religion/high-priests/

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