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A brief note about the titles and ranks used in the documents of the Karaite Spiritual Council

Written by Vyacheslav Elyashevich

The Karaite Spiritual Council was in official correspondence and had official documents written in the Karaite dialect of the Tatar language and in biblical Hebrew called:

Beit-din ha-gadol בית דין הגדול - The Great house of judgment

Sanhedrin סנהדרין - Sanhedrin

The Head of the Karaite Spiritual Council was called:

Hakham חכם in the Karaite dialect this was called gakham - sage. (The Title Gachan, which is a combination of words hakham (gakham) and khan is not correct, this title was invented by Seraya Shapshal, this title was never used in older official documents). This title was part of the signature.

Rosh ha-hakhamim ראש החכמים - Head of sages. This title is used in salutations

Av Beit-din אב בית דין - The father (the head) of the house of the judgment

Av ha-Sanhedrin אב הסנהדרין - The father (the head) of the Sanhedrin

Rosh ראש - head

Ha-sar ha-gadol השר הגדול - The great prince

Ha-sar ha-neeman השר הנאמן - The devoted prince, the Prince of Truth

Nasi Elohim נשיא אלהים - The Prince of God

Katzin קצין in the Karaite dialect Kachin - the head

Gevir גביר - literally the master or head of the community

Gabai גבאי - the chairman, treasurer and the financial manager of the community

Hazzan gadol חזן גדול, called Gazzan gadol in the Karaite dialect is the Chief hazzan, the cleric

Hazzan mishne חזן משנה, called Gazzan mishne in the Karaite dialect is the younger hazzan, a helper and assistant of the Hazzan.

Sometimes Hazzan's add the title עבד נאמן eved neeman to their names, which means the devoted slave or devoted servant. However, the name added most often before the word Hazzan was the letter צ, which means צעיר tzair or in the Karaite dialect chair, which means younger, young or small.

This designation is taken from the book of Tehilim 119:141, where it is written צעיר אנכי ונבזה tzair anokhi veniveze - I am small and despised. Hazzans, scribes, teachers and scholars add ani tzair or anokhi tzair to their titles.

Shamash שמש - literally the servant, responsible for cleanliness and tidiness in the kenasa (synagogue). There is a chief and younger shamash

In all correspondence addressed to the Karaite scholar Abraham Firkovich, people used to write this before his name:

Ish khayal ve-rav paalim איש חיל ורב פעלים - literally the brave and industrious man. This title is based on the book Malakhim I 1:42.