In Mishlei 5:9, there is an entity called אַכְזָרִי that somehow takes years from people who are rebellious:

פֶּן־תִּתֵּ֣ן לַאֲחֵרִ֣ים הוֹדֶ֑ךָ וּ֝שְׁנֹתֶ֗יךָ לְאַכְזָרִֽי:

Rashi explains that this refers to "שר של גיהנם":

ושנותיך לאכזרי - לשר של גיהנם

Who and what is this guy? What other works reference him?

  • 2
    "אכזרי" means a cruel person/entity. I don't know if its a proper noun here.
    – GFauxPas
    Apr 26, 2017 at 23:30

1 Answer 1


Numerous works reference a master of Gehinnom.

For example the Talmud (Sanhedrin 52a) states:

מאי דכתיב בחנפי לעגי מעוג חרק עלי שנימו, בשביל חנופה שהחניפו לקרח על עסקי לגימה - חרק עליהן שר של גיהנם שניו

What is the meaning of the verse, with hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth? Because they hypocritically [i.e., polluting their own sincerity] flattered Korah in return for the feast he set before them, the Prince of Gehenna gnashed his teeth against them [for their destruction]. (Translation).

Regarding this character, R. Yeshaya Horowitz writes in Shelah (Pesahim: Matsah Ashirah D'rush 1) in the name of R. Moshe Cordovero's Sefer HaGeirushin (5) that originally the master of Gehinnom was the master of Egypt, and got demoted. R. Horowitz explains that he was demoted so that the Jews would not remains under his dominion. He therefore needed some other position, and was appointed head of Gehinnom.

מצאתי בספר הגירושין (אות ה'), שחיבר האלקי מהר"מ קורדובירו ז"ל, איך ששר מצרים הורד מגדולתו ונעשה שר של גיהנם. ונראה בעיני הטעם, כי מה שהוריד הקדוש ברוך הוא את שר מצרים, היה על אודות ישראל שלא ימשול עליהם. ועל כן כשנתן לו מנוי אחר, נתן לו מנוי שאין שם ישראל, דהיינו הגיהנם

R. J.D. Eidenstein's Midrashic collection includes several Midrashim about this character. One of them (Midrash Daniel p. 103) says that his name is N'garsagel(?):

ונגרסגאל אשר הוא שר של גיהנם

Another Midrash in his collection (Midrash konen p. 256) identifies the master of Gehinnom as Qippud, whose associates are N'gadsagiel and Samael:

שר של גיהנם קיפוד שמו וחברו השני נגדסגיא"ל והשר השלישי סמאל

The Zohar Hadash (vol I: Lekh L'kha p. 42a) identifies the master of Gehinnom as `Arasiel:

ערסיא"ל שרו של גיהנם עומד לפני

However, R. Recanati quotes a version of that passage of the Zohar in his commentary to Genesis (14:21-5) he that reads N'girsiel; not `Arasiel:

נגירסיאל שרו של גיהנם עומד

  • 1
    Samael being another name for the Satan.
    – DonielF
    Apr 27, 2017 at 3:12
  • 1
    @DonielF Perhaps. That is indeed stated by Rambam in Moreh Nevukhim (2:30).
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 27, 2017 at 4:28
  • 1
    Also Ba'al Haturim to Shemos 25:31
    – DonielF
    Apr 27, 2017 at 11:25
  • @Don that's just a quote of the gemara I already quoted. IIRC.
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 27, 2017 at 13:41

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