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Guinness World Records -- The World's Youngest Rabbi

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Topic: Rabbi, World's Youngest

Duncan Flett from London, UK wrote:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a researcher with Guinness World Records, the world's biggest selling copyright book. I write as one who needs some help with an issue concerning Judaism -- should you not be able to help me could you please kindly pass this mail onto a colleague or associate that you think may be able to help. I am currently looking into finding the world's youngest qualified rabbi ever. I was hoping you could help point me in the right direction. Many thanks.

Dear Duncan Flett,

The Talmud records that Shmuel Hanavi (Samuel the Prophet) at age two rendered a complicated yet correct legal decision based on the Talmudic principles of Biblical interpretation. The correctness of his ruling was endorsed by the High Priest and the leading Sage of the day, Eli Hakohen. (Talmud Bavli, Tractate Berachot 31b)

The basis for understanding that the above encounter occurred while Shmuel was only two is the Book of Samuel I, chapter one, which records this event as having taken place just after the child was weaned, which throughout the Talmudic writings is considered to be age two. (Tractate Ketubot and elsewhere.)

That would make him just about the youngest Rabbi around!

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