What is the minimum age for a cohen gadol?

I understand that a kohen gadol is a position that is inherited (halacha 20 here), what age must one be to be able to be a kohen gadol?

Halacha 15 here related (someone told me that a kohen gadol might have a greater age).

  • IINM the Samaritans always make the oldest living Kohen into the Kohen Gadol.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 23:52
  • 1
    Pinchos was kohen gadol in the time of yiftach and he was born in mitzrayim which means he was at least 340 years old at least you know theirs no maximum age
    – yosefkorn
    Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 21:16

1 Answer 1


The gemara brings in Chullin 24b an idea that a kohen is disqualified by blemishes but not by age and a Levi is the opposite. The gemara brings a berisa is in Chullin 24b which states a kohen can serve once he brings 2 hairs until he gets old. Then there is the opnion of Rebbi which says from age 20. The gemara then brings R' Elazar brings from the word "man" that minor kohen is disqualified. The gemara explains that once he brought 2 hairs he can do avodah,but the older Kohanim didmt let until age 20. So we can say that this is like Rebbi ,and it's just a minhag not to let until 20,or we can say that Rebbi doesnt allow until age 20,and R 'Elazar doesnt allow lechatchila but only bedieved.(There is more info in the gemara which I left out since it was too much info ).

Halacha l'maaseh The Rambam Klei Mikdash 5:15 (which you brought) says that mi'ikar hadin 2 hairs is enough ,but the custom is age 20. This is for a regular kohen. However, it seems that even for a kohen Gadol from age 20 and up is fine,but a kohen gadol has other requirements which they need to fulfill which could invalidate(lchatchila) them if they do not possess them.(see the beg halachos of the perek mentioned above )

On a side note : I did some searching,and found that Aristobulus was appointed as a kohen gadol at age 17,however this should not be a proof simce this was against the Pharisees wishes.

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