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A co-worker told me, yesterday, that he noticed that most shuls tend to have more Cohanim than Levi'im. He says that seems strange.

I can't say for what occurs in shuls, but, he did conclude that there would have had to have been fewer Cohanim than Levi'im, at least at the time B'nai Yisra'el entered the land of Cana'an.

Parshat Pinchas indicates the last census taken by Moshe and Elazar of those who survived the 40 years in the desert. We have a census of Levi'im above age 20, and there was obviously more than that under that age. However, only descendants of Aharon were considered Cohanim, which is a rather small percentage of that number.

Has any commentary or anyone else calculated how many Cohanim were around?

  • @IsaacMoses Thanks. Seems like interesting Shabbat reading. – DanF Jul 31 '19 at 19:32
  • Recall that most Leviim didn’t go back to Eretz Yisrael with Ezra. That might have something to do with it. That said, his observation doesn’t match mine: in my experience, Shuls either have way too many Kohanim for the Leviim they have, or way too many Leviim for the Kohanim they have. – DonielF Aug 1 '19 at 0:45
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    @Loani Holy smokes! And I mean that literally ;-) Only 10 Cohanim to offer up all those sacrifices from all those people??? Man, these guys must have been overworked. Keep in mind, BTW, Aharon was not one of them who made it. Oops - that makes 9! – DanF Aug 1 '19 at 15:25
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    :-) remember, though, that until mishkan shiloh, people could sacrifice many of their own korbanos, and by the time mishkan shilo came around there must have been enough kohanim to go around. Keep in mind that by King David’s times, there were enough to split into 24 mishmarot – Lo ani Aug 1 '19 at 15:28

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