A patrilineal descendant of the biblical Aaron, a male kohen (plural kohanim) could serve in the Temple in Jerusalem when it was standing; various other laws apply to kohanim also, male and female.

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Can you become “more tamei”? If not, why do we worry about it today?

Without the temple and access to the ritual of the red heifer, we're all tamei (ritually impure) today with no way to fix it. Yet we work to avoid situations that would make us tamei (e.g. kohanim ...
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2answers
206 views

Making the Kohen's Gesture

Is it forbidden for a non-Kohen to form the hand formation that Kohanim use during their priestly blessings?
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3answers
331 views

Adoptee a Cohen or Levi?

If a Cohen or Levi adopts a non-Jew, upon their conversion are they a Cohen or Levi as well or are they a Yisroel?
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3answers
326 views

Why do plastic bags and not fuselages protect against impurity?

In a picture on this article, we see a kohen who has enclosed himself in a plastic bag so as to avoid becoming impure as a result of flying over a cemetery. Why is it that a pressurized fuselage does ...
13
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2answers
690 views

What happens to the family of a Kohen today if his wife is a victim of rape?

What happens to the family of a Kohen today if his wife is a victim of rape? What are the steps taken and how does this come to be resolved according to halachah and in the most constructive way for ...
12
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3answers
464 views

Nose Job in Halacha

Is a nose job allowed Hallachicly? Not all cosmetic surgeries, but rhinoplasty in particular, as I heard that rhinoplasty is allowed because we see by a Kohen that having an abnormally long nose is a ...
11
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2answers
402 views

Why do accidental killers sent to arei miklat go free after the Kohen Gadol dies?

When someone kills accidentaly he is sent to live in an ir miklat ("city of refuge") until the Kohen Gadol ("High Priest") dies. This seems like an arbitrary time. What does the Kohen Gadol's death ...
11
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2answers
165 views

Preference to Kohanim in repeating situations

Based on this question and answer, it seems that the obligation to honor the kohein is when everyone has equal rights, the kohein gets first pick, but not everything. For instance, if a host serves a ...
10
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2answers
955 views

Can a Cohen marry a bat niddah?

Can a Cohen marry a bat niddah? Are Cohens generally restricted from marrying baalei teshuva because of the possibility that they may be b'not niddah?
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2answers
140 views

How is a kohen allowed to go outside Israel?

There is a decree which says that all the land outside of Israel is Tamei (as there is a ch'shash that the non-Jews bury their dead outside of official cemeteries). If so, how are Kohanim allowed to ...
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589 views

Can a Kohen Marry a Woman with a Non-Jewish Father?

Is a Kohen allowed to marry a woman who is the daughter of a Jewish woman and non-Jewish man?
10
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1answer
208 views

Did the kohanim wear tefillin during their Temple services?

The Torah and the Gemara (especially in Yoma) gives us fascinating detail about the bigdei kahuna (clothes of the priests) that were worn in the Holy Temple. What is not clear is whether tefillin ...
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1answer
437 views

Who gets shelishi if there are no Israelim?

Imagine that the Cohen family reunion is on a Monday. A minyan is planned with a sefer Torah. However, the gabbai, a kohen, looks around and sees that the minyan has nine kohanim and one levi - who ...
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1answer
262 views

Spitting at the High Priest on Yom Kippur

My question might sound a little complicated, but it actually boils down to something very simple: does anybody know of any references to a kohen gadol (a high priest) performing the procedure of ...
9
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2answers
709 views

Can the child of two converts marry a Cohen?

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 ...
9
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2answers
147 views

Why didn't kohanim undress themselves?

The mishna, Tamid 5:3, indicates that those kohanim who had gotten dressed for the day's work but were not needed for it would be stripped of their kohen-clothes by the Temple workers. My kid asked: ...
9
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2answers
242 views

What did kohanim do the other fifty weeks of the year?

I remember learning (somewhere in talmud but can't remember where) that the kohanim were divided into 24 groups and they rotated service in the temple. And they went to Yerushalayim for the chagim, ...
9
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1answer
306 views

Can a kohen be a mamzer?

A friend and I were discussing this. Generally speaking, it seems that it should be impossible for a person to be a kohen (rather than a chalal) and also a mamzer, because the set of women whom a ...
8
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4answers
364 views

If Eliyahu is Pinchas and Pinchas is a Cohen how was he in the Room when he did Revival of the Dead?

In Melochim there is a famous occurance of the Eliyahu Hanavi reviving the Dead Child of Ovadiah's Hanavi's widow's child who some say was Yonah Hanavi. If Eliyahu was a Cohen how was he allowed to be ...
8
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4answers
207 views

Can a non-Yisrael get Maftir Yonah?

At the Torah Service on Yom Kippur Mincha, can a Kohen or a Levi be called up to read Maftir Yonah (Book of Jonah)? The "maftir" aliyah is also the third aliyah which in general goes to a Yisrael, not ...
8
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1answer
176 views

Kohen Gadol Yibum

Is it ever possible for a Kohen Gadol to perform the Mitzvah of Yibum. After all, every case of Yibum involves a widow which the Kohen Gadol is not allowed to marry?
8
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2answers
323 views

How are we to understand Malchi-Tzedek, non-Jewish priest of God?

Malchi-Tzedek is a gentile priest who worships God. I initially read this as just saying God is not exclusive (it says somewhere in Nevi'im that God also has covenants with other peoples), but today ...
8
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2answers
315 views

Baldness as a disqualification for Kohanim

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?
8
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1answer
114 views

Why did Aharon request that Hashem declare Miriam pure?

Rashi says that one of the meanings of Aharon's prayer regarding Miriam ("Let her not be like the dead, which comes out of his mother's womb with half his flesh consumed!"; Bamidbar 12:12) was that ...
8
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1answer
126 views

Issues of Tumah vis a vis non-Jewish human remains

I was once told that there's a crypt in the Old City of Jerusalem near one of the gates (I forget which one), which houses the remains of a well-regarded non-Jew (once again, I forget the exact ...
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3answers
243 views

What is the difference between a Kohen Gadol and a Kohen Rosh?

What is the difference between a Kohen Gadol and a Kohen Rosh? Both titles are used in Tanakh, sometimes even to refer to the same person. For example: Kohen HaRosh is mentioned in Ezra 7:5, Chron. I ...
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1k views

Prohibition of a Kohen marrying a Zonah

In the prohibition of a Kohen marrying a Zonah (cf. Vayikra 21:7), what defines a woman as a Zonah? Is it just having had relations with a non-Jew, or does it also include having relations out of ...
7
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3answers
282 views

Bimei Matisyahu ben Yochanan Kohen Godol

In "Al Hanisim" we say "Bimei Matisyahu ben Yochanan Kohen Godol", "in the days of Matisyahu the son of Yochanan the Kohen Gadol (=high priest)". Who was the Kohen Godol: Matisyahu or Yochnan?
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210 views

relative fractions of Kohanim and Levi'im

Does anyone have reliable statistics (and barring that, reasonable anectdotal evidence) of the fraction of Kohanim, Levi'im, and Yisraelim in various Jewish communities today. By "communities" I don't ...
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4answers
436 views

Etymology of the surname “Katz”

Are there sources for the etymology of the surname Katz being an acronym for Kohen Tzedek? Is that simply a backronym?
7
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1answer
124 views

Can/Should a Kohen Disqualify Himself from Birchas Kohanim because of Tumah?

Is it proper for a kohein to disqualify himself from duchaning if he feels that he is ritually unpure at that particular moment?
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122 views

How does the kohein gadol's substitute wife work?

The first mishna of Yoma explains that before Yom Kippur, a substitute wife is prepared for the kohein gadol lest his wife die -- because the torah says he makes atonement for himself and "his house", ...
6
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1answer
411 views

Where did the Levitical priesthood go?

Has the sacrificial system of the Torah been abandoned? Do those in the Tribe of Levi still act as priest? I have just never seen or heard of anyone making sacrifices of animals or going to a ...
6
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2answers
329 views

Is Cohen who had a vasectomy allowed to Bless?

Is Cohen who had a vasectomy allowed to Bless the congregation? Also marry? What happens if he does marry?
6
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3answers
200 views

Kohanim Dating Ba'alot Teshuva

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 ...
6
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1answer
189 views

Washing Kohen's Hands

Following kedusha during mussaf on a day when there is birchas kohanim (duchening), the Leviyim and Kohanim assemble at the sink and a Levi washes each Kohen's hands. What procedure of hand-washing ...
6
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1answer
165 views

Riddle: when do 10 Kohanim equal 1 Yisrael? [closed]

Pretty much what the title says. Where in the Torah do we find something for which we need 10 Kohanim or 1 Yisrael?
6
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1answer
145 views

When there is no Levi, why do we call up the SAME Kohen “bimkom Levi” - “in place of a Levi.”

The Torah.org halakha class says, If a kohen is present in the synagogue, he must be called to receive the first aliyah. After the Kohen, a Levi is called. If a Levi is not present, the same ...
6
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1answer
118 views

Can one bring a Korban nowadays?

Assuming we don't have a problem with the Dome of the rock. Has anyone discussed sacrifices nowadays regarding: Can (and should) one bring sacrifices nowadays as we don't know the exact location ...
6
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1answer
440 views

If a woman converts to Judaism while pregnant, will her child be eligible to marry a Kohen?

If a woman converts to Judaism while pregnant, will her child be eligible to marry a Kohen? Case #1 -- Assume her husband is a Jew by birth. Case #2 -- Assume her husband converted to Judaism prior ...
6
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1answer
153 views

Kohain First questions

1)Is there a Din that a Kohain must be allowed to cut you online in a supermarket because of "Vkidashto"? 2)Do they go first when it comes to Davening when there are two Chiyuvim? 3)When you learn ...
6
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2answers
242 views

Can the daughter of two people who could not marry a Cohen marry a cohen?

Can a woman whose father's father isn't Jewish, but whose father's mother is a regular Jew, and whose mother is the child of two converts marry a Cohen? On the one hand she isn't purely from ...
6
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1answer
210 views

how to call up a kohen/levi as acharon

Shulachan Aruch (OC 135:10) holds, and Rama (there) seems to also hold, that if a kohen (or levi, m.m.) is called as acharon then the gabai should say "af al pi shehu kohen". The purpose of this is to ...
6
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0answers
110 views

Significance of the Kohen's hand gestures?

What is the significance of the shapes (windows?) created by the kohen during birkas cohanim? This question and the ensuant answers detail at least 3 opinions of the gesture, I would really appreciate ...
5
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7answers
1k views

Which surnames are exclusively Kohanim's and why?

It is well known that is a person has a certain surname (last name) they are more likely to be a Kohen. Examples: Cohen - for obvious reasons Kahn Katz - stands for "Kohen Tzedek" What are some ...
5
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2answers
172 views

What do you do if there is no Levi or Bechor to wash the Kohain's hands?

What do you do by Duchaning when there is no Levi or Bechor to wash the Kohain's hands?
5
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2answers
247 views

My father-in-law was a Cohen. Are my children Cohanim?

I seem to recall that Kehuna passes from father to son. Does it pass through the mother as well? My father-in-law was a Cohen. That makes my wife Bat-Cohen, but what does it make my children? ...
5
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1answer
264 views

Is a bat kohen allowed to go to cemetery?

Besides the permitted reasons for male kohen, is a bat kohen allowed to go to cemetery for other reason?
5
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1answer
71 views

Would a replacement kohen gadol be anointed on yom kippur?

Here is what I know: When a kohen gadol dies we replace him. In fact we've got a replacement kohen gadol waiting in the wings on yom kippur just in case Any kohen who becomes kohen gadol gets ...
5
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1answer
192 views

Why do the Leviim wash the hands of the Kohanim when they go up to bless the people?

When the Kohanim washed their hands and feet in the Beis HaMikdosh they did not have anyone to help. Why then do the Kohanim need others to wash their hands when they go up to bless the people? Why ...