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Can the child of two converts marry a Cohen? How does the situation differ if only the mother, or only the father, is a convert?

(I have read that "ideally" the child of two converts should not marry a Cohen, but what exactly does this mean?)

If such a marriage takes place, will the children retain Cohen status?

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Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/35538 – msh210 Feb 14 '14 at 19:23
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/16618/… – SAH Dec 3 '15 at 23:43
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Based on the Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer 7:21 the daughter of converts (and her daughter etc. until at least one of the parents has traditional Jewish ancestry) should not marry a priest. However, if she does and she was conceived after her parents' conversions, then they do not need to get divorced, implying a non-Biblical restriction on such a marriage, and the child (when the father is a kohen) is also a kohen.

The source of the restriction is the Talmud Kiddush 78b which states that although the halacha follows the view that the children of converts are permitted to a priest, after the destruction of the Second Temple the priests adopted an extra stringency and avoided marrying even the children of converts. This long standing tradition is the source for the halacha.

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but of course, it's nearly impossible for a kohen to know if any given Jewish woman EVER had a convert ANYWHERE in her geneological line. If by Mamzerim we say "once they're mixed, they're mixed" (i.e. if one slips into the Jewish community and marries a non-mamzer unnoticed, they're great-great-children can't retroactively be classified as mamzerim), all the more so we would take that approach here, where there is no actual prohibition involved. – user1095 Feb 13 '12 at 20:15
@Will As long as one of her great...grandparents is Jewish back to Avraham then she is 100% fine to marry in. The 'issur' is only on someone who comes from purely convert blood. – Double AA Feb 13 '12 at 20:39
Ahh, got it now. Of course, you mean "back to Mount Sinai" and not "back to Avraham", because Avraham wasn't an Israelite, and the definition of "Jew" as we use it today (i.e. an Israelite that is obligated in shmiras hamitzvos) did not exist until the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. – user1095 Feb 13 '12 at 21:47
@Will Sure, but I don't think there is a big Nafka Minah for here – Double AA Feb 13 '12 at 22:20
@Double AA just wondering, suppose the child is conceived after the mother's conversion, but not the father's? (I also want to add that I am waiting to accept an answer that deals a bit with my sub-question, "How does the situation differ if only the mother, or only the father, is a convert?") Thanks. – SAH Feb 13 '12 at 22:37


Thus a child of parents who were both converts before they married is technically permitted to marry a kohen because horatah ve’ledatah bi-kedushah (she was conceived and born in sanctity as a Jew). But the kohanim took upon themselves an extra stringency and did not permit it.

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