In a message dated 12/31/2002 8:44:15 PM Eastern Standard Time,
<< As far as I know Levy is/was a helper to the Cohanim.
==Permit me, please, to give my response as a Levite.
==The Levites had their own duties as scribes and teachers; some of them
were singers or instrumentalists in the Temple in Jerusalem, some did assist
the Kohanim in the Temple duties. The only duties the Levites now perform is
to wash the hands of the Kohanim before these mount to the dukhan to
pronounce the threefold blessing.
HaLevy (The Levy)was used to differentiate between Moshe The Balegule, Moshe
The Levy, or Moshe The Cohen.
==haLevy or haKohen is a title that was always used as an indicator of
status, not as a means of differention. It was/is an integral part of the
correct Hebrew name, Shem haKadosh, used in religious contexts--circumcision,
reading the Torah, marriage, divorce, ill-health, death, memorial, tombstone.
The Levy (or a derivative like Levine, Levinson, Levitas) was used by some
as a surname, in addition to the Levy title.
Sgan "sameh, gimel, nun" (in modern Hebrew) means second to (Second to the
person in charge), therefore, if Sgan is an assistant, and "Segan"
or "Segal" is also an assistant, then "Sega(n)(l)" before the Levy means
the person was an assistant to a Levy.
==SegEn is a deputy, not a second nor an assistant--deputy prime minister,
deputy chairperson, deputy clinic head, lieutenant [to a captain--the
original French usage of the military term]. Segan means "deputy to." SegeL
means, among other things, a corpus, staff, bureaucracy etc. Segan and Segel
are not the same in meaning.
As a Levy, I know (>from Hejder) that I was to assist a Cohen. I do not recall
(its over 58 years) that the Leviates had also assistants.
==Again, the only assistance was to wash the Kohen's hands on the rare
occasion when he was about to pronounce the threefold blessing.
==There is no mention anywhere in history that the Levites were considered
deputies to Kohanim. The term Segal, its application to Levites, and the
explanation that it meant Segan Leviyah, did not arise before the 11th
century in Europe. I believe the attribution is erroneous. I am researching
the topic and hope to include it in a forthcoming article, together with one
or two other puzzling Jewish name combinations.
Call me haLevy; do't bother with the Segal ;-)
Michael Bernet, New York