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Is it necessary for a Kohen to clarify that a prospective match who is a ba'alat teshuvah has not had sexual relations with a non-Jew before dating her, or can one rely on a chezkat kashrut? If the former what steps need to be taken to clarify her status?

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Such a question would (in my mind) be excruciatingly embarrassing, and embarrassing a baalat teshuva is an issur deorayta... –  Shmuel May 1 at 3:42
    
@Shmuel I agree. I would not advise any kohen to ask a ba'alat teshuva directly, but there are likely other ways to clarify matters. (through mutual friends, shadchanim, and the like) –  Yehuda May 1 at 3:49
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@Shmuel It's only embarrassing if the answer is yes. In which case they won't see each other again. Moreover it can be phrased like "If this is an issue, find a reason to break up with me (and don't date future Kohanim)". –  Double AA May 1 at 3:51
    
let us continue this discussion in chat –  Yehuda May 1 at 23:20

3 Answers 3

My understanding is that many people today will start off with the assumption that a woman who bacame baal teshuva after a certain age is just not kohen-eligible.

As for your question -- it's not an easy matter, but if it's prohibited it's prohibited. ("Don't embarrass someone" doesn't mean I can ignore the serious possibility of halachic prohibitions.)

As stated previously:

Most shadchanim simply have a checkbox -- "are you ineligible to marry a Kohen?" The lady can simply check this -- or say "sorry no Kohanim" without giving another drop of detail. Could be her father wasn't Jewish, could be she had a non-Jewish boyfriend, could be rape, could be all sorts of things -- none of it is the shadchan's business.

So while the kohen asking her point-blank about her past in graphic detail is uncouth, there are better ways of doing it -- for instance, involving a rabbi or a shadchan, and handing her a form that says "if any of the following apply, check this box." That's obtaining the minimally-necessary knowledge in the least-hurtful way.

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What age is that? Do you have a source for this answer? I am uncomfortable accepting that if one is a ba'alat teshuva at thirteen she would be dateable to a kohen where if she was fourteen it would become problematic. There needs to be some quantifiable way to establish when she gains a chezkat zonah. –  Yehuda May 1 at 13:37
    
I asked you in your other answer why you say that a non jewish father makes a girl ineligible for a Priest. You said you'd clarify. Can you? –  Baby Seal May 1 at 20:03
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@BabySeal judaism.stackexchange.com/a/1363/21 Shulchan Aruch EH7:17 –  Shalom May 1 at 20:05
    
@Master_Yoda I would shy away from strong terminology as "chazaka" one way or the other. Regardless, if we can resolve a doubt, we do so. At some point we have a reasonable safek that needs looking into. No it's not 13. But if a woman now becomes BT at the age of 50, had negligible religious affiliation until now, and went to a party college with no Jewish population, then your average shadchan will probably quietly make a mental note to look for a non-kohen. –  Shalom May 1 at 20:12
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@Master_Yoda you don't use a chazaka as a birur for a safek that can be otherwise figured out! Ring Ring "Hello?" "Oh hello rabbi, I have a halacha question, please help me!" "Okay, ask away." "Rabbi, some milk fell into my beef stew" "What's the volume of the milk and the volume of the pot of beef stew?" "Um ... that's personal. Is there a chezkas kashrus?" [Click.] Someone needs to ask the question at some point. –  Shalom May 1 at 23:51

Have a look in the Tosafos בתולה שעיברה in חגיגה on :דף י"ד

Essentially Tosafos there brings a possible rule that if the wife would also be transgressing (in that case והוא אשה בבתוליה יקח) then we can rely on her. As opposed to Yichus issues where she really has nothing to lose if she lies.

So we may to able to answer your question thus:

As long as the potential wife is aware that they would both be living in sin if she had sexual relations with a non-Jew before dating him, we could supposedly rely on her unwillingness to do so (especially since she's a Ba'alat Teshuva, who has turned around her life not to live in sin) and there would be no need to ask her.

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Very interesting application. I'd be extremely interested to see whether any acharonim bring this tosafot down l'halacha. –  Yehuda May 1 at 13:42
    
We can rely upon her response or we can assume that she's not going to do an aveira? –  Shmuel Brin May 29 at 18:50

If this kohen is himself a BT can we not say he is also most likely a 'cholol' and therefore permitted to marry any other BT. I would say that if he is already married to a BT and there was a good chance that his mother was also a zonah he would be able to stay with her. We see often in the gemoro that one tries very hard not to separate a man from his wife. ניסת לא תצא. It is not korus only a 'lav' where we are even more 'meikal'. Also today kohanim dont have a real chazaka.

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unfortunately it doesn't work that way. A person becomes a chalal if he was born from the union of a kohen and a divorcee. But if someone is born a kohen, his um, romantic past doesn't alter his kohen status. –  Shalom May 1 at 20:07
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If he is a BT then his mother is as likely to have been a zonah as his present match. Not a divorcee. –  preferred May 1 at 22:40
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I wouldn't count on it. Besides, what if his mother married young, and what if she was raised in a generation with different mores. –  Shalom May 1 at 23:56
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Regardless, we're saying here that you have to concern yourself with a non-zero probability of a problem, not that you can rely on that probability being very high. –  Shalom May 1 at 23:57

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