The Kohen Gadol or Kohen ha-Gadol (Heb. כהן גדול "Great Priest") was the High Priest of early Israelite religion and of classical Judaism from the rise of the Israelite nation until the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem.
Aaron, though he is but rarely called "the great priest," being generally simply designated "as ha-kohen" (the priest), was the first incumbent of the office, to which he was appointed by God (Ex. xxviii. 1, 2; xxix. 4, 5). The succession was to be through one of his sons, and was to remain in his own family (Lev. vi. 15; comp. Josephus, "Ant." xx. 10, § 1).