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Is it true that most authorities say that baldness and left handedness disqualify a man for Kehunah? Does the same apply for Birchas Kohanim?

And why?

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They are indeed disqualifications for serving in the Beis Hamikdash (Rambam, Hil. Bias Mikdash 8:1,11).

This doesn't apply to birkas kohanim, though; there, a kohen is disqualified only by blemishes that are visible and will distract the congregation. (And even then, not if everyone in town is already familiar with him and his physical defects, or in places - as in most Ashkenazic congregations - where the kohanim cover their faces and bodies with a tallis.) The reason is that birkas kohanim is not quite the same as serving in the Beis Hamikdash: they both have to be done standing, but other than that they're not comparable. (Shulchan Aruch Harav 128:44-46)

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Does anyone argue on these particular Disqualifications as they are so regularly seen that they are not Disqualifications anymore? –  simchastorah Oct 10 '11 at 1:40
    
@simchashatorah: if you mean for the Beis Hamikdash - I suppose we can ask the Sanhedrin at that time. But ISTM that it wouldn't make a difference: the prevalence of these conditions nowadays is probably about the same as it was then. If you mean for birkas kohanim, then they're not disqualifications, period - only blemishes on the kohen's face, hands, or (if he's barefoot) feet would be. –  Alex Oct 10 '11 at 2:39
    
I mean liie the Noseh Keilim on the Rambam Ravad Kesef Mishnah –  simchastorah Oct 10 '11 at 13:06
    
@simchashatorah: doesn't look like it, seeing as how Rambam's source is the Mishnah and Gemara (Bechoros 43a-b and 45b). No Rishon can argue with the Gemara. –  Alex Oct 10 '11 at 14:13
    
IIRC some rishonim hold that left-handedness is not a blemish per se, just there is no practical way for that kohein to do a kosher avodah. –  Double AA Jan 14 '13 at 3:19
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According to Bechoros 43a-b, (in agreement with Alex)

Leviticus 21:21 says "any man of the seed of Aron the Priest that hath a blemish shall not draw near..." We learn from this passuk that there are two types of blemishes which make a Kohen unfit for service in the Beis Hamikdash: any physical blemish that would render a Bechor unfit, and anything which makes him look funny (or disgusting to look at). If he's funny-looking, then it appears as if he is not "of the seed of Aron", since he looks different than the other Kohens.

A real physical-blemish would nullify his avodah, but if he is just funny-looking and he does the avodah, it's not null, but he is transgressing a positive precept.

If the Kohen has even one row of hair from the back to his ears, but not in front, he is fit (it's a balding pattern which is more pleasing on the eyes than the others), however he is unfit if he is completely bald, has hair in front and back but not on top, or has hair only in the front and not in back.


Lefties are disqualified for Serving in the Beis Hamikdash becasuse:

Mishneh Torah Chapter 5, Halacha 18

The Temple service may be performed only with one's right hand. If one performed service with his left hand, it is invalid. He is not liable for lashes.

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"If the Kohen has even one row of hair from the back to his ears, but not in front, he is fit (it's a balding pattern which is more pleasing on the eyes than the others), however he is unfit if he is completely bald, has hair in front and back but not on top, or has hair only in the front and not in back". This is very interesting in light of Genetics. I am a physician-scientist-geneticist, The above unfit balding patterns turn out to be those that are are non-Semitic and hence non-Kohanim,,,,,, (we know by modern genetics that 25%-40% of those who claim Kohen predecessors or not correct.) Com –  Joseph De Soto Sep 10 '13 at 4:52
    
Complete Baldness, balding on the top of the head only, and balding in the back are NOT Semitic balding types. Indeed, most genuine Kohanim do not go bald; the next common type are those who bald from front to back,, without an initial bald spot on top of their heads.It is noted that thinning of the top of the head without balding is also a Semitic phenotype Very interesting. –  Joseph De Soto Sep 10 '13 at 4:52
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