Does anyone know why the position of Reish Galusa no longer exists and when it was discontinued?

  • Simple: you tell me who should be it and if we all think it's reasonable we will reinstate him. Good luck finding such a person.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 17:36
  • You dont think any of the Gedolim would be suitable or just that we would never be able to get everyone to agree? I think its pretty universally accepted in the Chareidi world that Rav Shteinman Shlita is currently the Gadol Hador. Although I think the Reish Galusa needed to be from the line of Dovid Hamelech, not sure though.
    – Jake
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 17:48
  • The latter. Moreover I personally was not aware that Rav Shteinman is now considered to be such, so I wonder how universal acceptance of him would be.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 17:57

1 Answer 1



The last exilarch (Reish Galusa) whose name is recorded is Hezekiah. He was imprisoned and tortured to death in 1040. He was the last exilarch.

However daat.ac.il says that it ended earlier by the leaders of the Jews due to fears of the Muslims.

בשנת 941 מת נשיא הגולה דוד בן זכאי, ורב סעדיה גאון, איש ריבו לפנים,‏ התעלם מן הריב שביניהם, והחליט להושיב את בנו יהודה על כסא הנשיאות. ,‏ הוא כיהן שבעה חדשים ומת. במותו הניח בן קטן בגיל 12 שנה. רב סעדיה אסף‏ את הנער לביתו, חנכהו והכשירו למשרה שנועדה לו. הוא היה הנשיא האחרון. לא‏ ידוע דבר עליו, וגם שמו נעלם מאתנו. הוא נרצח בידי המוסלמים הקנאים שקנאו‏ במעמדו ובזכרון בית דוד. מפחד קנאי המוסלמים הסכימו ראשי כנסת ישראל בבבל‏ שלא למנות ראש גולה חדש ולבטל את נשיאות הגולה כליל.‏

To translate:

In the year 941 the exilarch David ben Zakai died, and Rav Saadia Gaon, who had previously quarreled him, ignored the feud and determined to seat [David ben Zakai’s] son Yehudah on the nasi’s throne. He served seven months then died, leaving behind a minor son twelve years of age. Rav Saadia brought the boy into his house and raised him, preparing him for the rôle of leadership intended for him. He was the last nasi [= exilarch]. Nothing is known of him; even his name has been lost to us. He was murdered by Muslim fundamentalists who were jealous of his standing and of the memory of [malchut] beit David. For fear of Muslim fundamentalists, the community leaders in Bavel agreed to not appoint a new exilarch and to abolish the office entirely.

  • Very interesting! It is curious that we would not re institute the position after these fears dissipated.
    – Jake
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 17:51

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