Av beth din

Av Beit Din, Av Beis Din, or Abh Beyth Diyn (abbreviated: AB"D) (Hebrew: אב בית דין‎, "Chief of the Court") was the second-highest-ranking member of the Sanhedrin during the Second Commonwealth period. The president, who bore the title Nasi, was in a way the supervisor, but not a member of the court, which consisted of seventy members. The most learned and important of these seventy members was called Av Beit Din, a title similar to that of vice-president.[1]

The Av Beit Din presided over the Sanhedrin in the absence of the Nasi, and was the chief of the Sanhedrin when it sat as a criminal court. He sat with seven other judges while hearing a case.

The last Av Beth Din after Menachem the Essene was Shammai who abolished the position when he became Nasi.

In modern times it is used as an honorific title 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 Jewish law). It is also abbreviated as AB"D when it is after the name of the Chief Rabbi of a national Jewish community.

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