If a male Kohen has forbidden relations with a divorced woman, a zonah, or chalalah-- the child is a Chalal (Rambam, Hilchos Issurei Biah 19:1):

אֵי זוֹ הִיא חֲלָלָה זוֹ שֶׁנּוֹלִדָה מֵאִסּוּר כְּהֻנָּה. וְכֵן אַחַת מִן הַנָּשִׁים הָאֲסוּרוֹת לִכְהֻנָּה שֶׁנִּבְעֲלָה לְכֹהֵן נִתְחַלְּלָה. אֲבָל הַכֹּהֵן עַצְמוֹ שֶׁעָבַר הָעֲבֵרָה לֹא נִתְחַלֵּל:

In other words, this child is the opposite of the "Kedushah" of Cohanim - he's חול, or חולין - he lost his Kedushah status.

I only know three types of Jews: Cohen, Levi, and Israel.
Where does a Chalal belong?

Is he a regular Israel? Is he a "downgraded" Cohen? Is he a type on its own? What Alyah does a Chalal get? Is there any נ"מ between a Chalal and other types - like in eating, Brochos, Trumah, etc?


2 Answers 2



The Cohanim, Leviim and Yisraelim are eligible to marry Cohanim.

Chalalim, Netinim (Gibeonites), freed slaves, converts, shetukim (people with unknown fathers but known mothers), asufim (orphans with unknown parentage), and mamzerim may not marry Cohanim.

Masechet Kiddushin Perek 4 Mishna 1 discusses these categories.

  • You follow the Mishnah in Kiddushin referring only to marrying, what about everything else - like Alyot or Trumot or else?
    – Al Berko
    May 7, 2019 at 21:48
  • 1
    @AlBerko You only need a single halakhic nafka minah to make him a type of his own. The OP provided that already. Why do you keep seeking more?
    – Double AA
    May 8, 2019 at 12:09

Echoing what R' Daniel Kagan said above, he's not really either.

On the one hand he's like a Yisrael He doesn't duchen, he doesn't get matanos kehunah, we don't give him the honors that we would give to other Kohanim. He can marry women that a regular Kohein can't marry, and he's allowed to become tamei from a corpse.
(see "פרטי הדינים" in this he.wikipedia article about Challalim)

But on the other hand, [I assume that] he maintains some residue of a Kohein, as Rambam in Bi'as Mikdash 6:10 writes:

כֹּהֵן שֶׁעָבַד וְנִבְדַּק וְנִמְצָא חָלָל עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה לְשֶׁעָבַר וְאֵינוֹ עוֹבֵד לְהַבָּא.

A Kohein who did avoda in the Beis Hamikdah and checked [his lineage] and found he was a challal- his previous avoda is Kosher, but he shouldn't do the avoda in the future

Namely, if a Kohein finds out he's a challal, while he may not do the avoda again in the future, b'dieved his past avoda in the Beis Hamikdash remains ok.

  • Thank you. Is "he maintains some residue of a Kohein" your personal conclusion from this Rambam? He only says that this kohen became Chalal למפרע - from this point on. But what does this Chalal retain from Kehunah any further?
    – Al Berko
    May 7, 2019 at 21:51
  • @AlBerko yep that was my personal conclusion from the Rambam. I'm not sure so I can't answer conclusively re: any further aspects of the Kehunah the Challal would retain
    – alicht
    May 8, 2019 at 1:22
  • Can you source that if a Kohen’s lineage was checked out and it was found that he’s in fact a Yisrael, that his previous avodah is also disqualified? If it’s not, your last point doesn’t seem to prove anything.
    – DonielF
    May 9, 2019 at 23:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .