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Is having imperfect eyesight that requires the wearing of eyeglasses a problem for a Kohen?

The question is two-fold:

1) Does the imperfect eyesight render him a ba'al mum (physical blemish) which forbids him from performing avodah?

2) Does wearing eyeglasses in the Beis Hamikdash constitute yittur begadim (an extra garment besides for the 4/8 bigdei kehunah, which ruins any avoidah he does)?

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    I’m trying to recall what I’ve heard/seen written about a rabbi (who himself was a Kohen?) and was worried that with his advancing age required glasses and might thereby render him unfit in the BHM if Moshiach would come then... (Perhaps this will remind others too who may have seen this as well.) – Oliver Jul 12 at 2:26
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    There's also a piece in Pardes Yosef about a Cohen examining Negaim through glasses, IIRC. – רבות מחשבות Jul 12 at 2:42
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    (Full disclosure: No patience to write up an answer.) The Divre Malkiel (4:31, bottom left column) considers that short-sightedness wouldn’t be a blemish, although suggests that it’d be an issue of extra clothes. R. Zilberstien discusses this question (and quotes his FIL, R. Elyashiv, and BIL, R. Kanievsky) in his Hashuke Hemed here. Heres another discussion with multiple references/links of PDFs discussing the q. – Oliver Jul 12 at 2:47
  • I'm fairly certain if you went back in time and examined the eyes of the Kohanei Gedolim, they would have vision problems by today's standards. – ezra Jul 14 at 7:39
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Yittur Begaddim

According to the Gemara (Eruvin 103) and Rambam (Kli HaMikdash 10:8), something smaller than 3x3 (tefachim) is not a beged if shelo bmokom begadim (not in place regularly clothed):

מר רב יהודה בריה דרבי חייא, לא שנואלא גמי, אבל צלצול קטן -הוי יתור בגדים. ורבי יוחנן אמר: לא אמרו יתור בגדים אלא במקום בגדים, אבל שלא במקום בגדים -לא הוי יתור בגדים. תיפוק ליה משום חציצה! בשמאל, אי נמי: בימין, ושלא במקום עבודה. ופליגא דרבא, דאמר רבא אמר רב חסדא: במקום בגדים -אפילו נימא אחת חוצצת, שלא במקום בגדים -שלש על שלש חוצצות, פחות משלש על שלש -אינן חוצצת

The Divrei Malkiel (4:31) writes that it is yittur begadim.


Baal Mum

Regarding whether imperfect eyesight constitutes a mum, the first thing to consider is the Rambam (Bias HaMikdash 8:6):

מי שמקבץ ריסי עיניו ועוצמן מעט בשעה שרואה אור, או בשעה שהוא רוצה לדקדק בראיה, מי שראיית עינו מעורבבת עד שרואה את החדר ואת העלייה כאחת, ויִוָדע דבר זה בעת שידבר עם חבירו ונראה כאילו הוא מסתכל באיש אחר

Some want to infer from here that insufficient eyesight is problematic. However, the Rambam does not discuss כיהה עיניו, but only when there is a squint or other visible defect.

The Divrei Malkiel (4:31) writes that it is not a mum.


Duties that require vision

For reiyas nega'im (checking the status of tzara'as), which needs 'einei hakohen', the Tiferes Yisroel (Nega'im 2:4, Boaz §4) rules that eyeglasses are okay.

The Shvus Yackov (1:126) permits a dayan with eyeglasses to watch chalitzah.

Shu"t Tuv Taam V'daas (3:85) does not allow a shochet with eyeglasses to perform shechita; the Maharsham (Da'as Torah YD 1:50) and Kaf HaChayim (YD 1:188) permit.

Shu"t Yechave Da'as (4:18; §13) that one can make a blessing on birchas re'iyah even when seeing through eyeglasses.

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