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Ezekiel 44:22 states: "Neither shall they [the priests] take for their wives a widow, nor her that is put away; but they shall take virgins of the seed of the house of Israel, and a widow that is the widow of a priest.

Yet Leviticus 21:14 states: "A widow, or one divorced, or a profaned woman, or a harlot, these shall he [the high priest] not take; but a virgin of his own people shall he take to wife."

Is there something I'm missing here?

Edit: Perhaps Ezekiel 44:22 isn't giving commandments but rather it's simply saying how righteous all the priests in the future are in general. In other words, the priests who are allowed to marry widows will marry widows of priests (those women will be righteous) if they do marry widows. The same applies with rest of the verse like how the priests who can't marry widows (i.e. the high priests) won't marry widows and they will marry virgins of Israel, etc.

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    Why can’t you read the Ezekiel verse as meaning that she used to be married to a priest, and now she’s a widow (i.e. the priest died)? – DonielF Sep 2 at 21:41
  • Ezekiel is referring to regular Kohanim, the verse you're citing from Vayikra refers only to the Kohain Gadol. No discrepancy whatsoever – Josh K Sep 2 at 22:00
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    @josh there is a discrepancy. A kohen is allowed to marry a widow from a yisrael. Interpreting it as a future chumra is reasonable but you can't say there's no discrepancy at all. – Heshy Sep 2 at 23:39
  • @Heshy Perhaps Ezekiel 44:22 isn't giving commandments but rather it's simply saying how righteous all the priests in the future are in general. In other words, the priests who are allowed to marry widows will marry widows of priests (those women will be righteous) if they do marry widows. The same applies with rest of the verse like how the priests who can't marry widows (i.e. the high priests) won't marry widows and they will marry virgins of Israel, etc. – David the Prince Sep 3 at 0:27
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    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/48808/170 – msh210 Sep 3 at 3:35
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There are two answers, one from the main translation (as explained by Rashi) and one that I came up with based on logic.

Yechezkel 44:22

And neither a widow nor a divorced woman may they take for wives, but they shall take virgins from the descendants of the House of Israel; also the widow who is only a widow, some of the priests may marry.

RASHI

but… virgins: may the High Priests take. But there are some priests who may take a widow, namely, the ordinary ones, and this is the meaning of “some of the priests may marry” ; there are some priests who are permitted to marry a widow.

This means a regular priest may marry a widow.. She may not marry a kohen gadol.

My logic includes the translation as

וְהָֽאַלְמָנָה֙ אֲשֶׁר תִּֽהְיֶ֣ה אַלְמָנָ֔ה מִכֹּהֵ֖ן יִקָּֽחוּ

And a widow who is the widow of a priest they (regular priests) can take.

This means that if a woman is a widow and has not undergone chalitza, she may marry a priest. However, if she has not undergone chalitza, then either the first (dead) husband had no brothers or she had children with him. If she had children with a Yisrael, then those children would not be able to eat terumah and the kohen (the second husband) will be unable to raise them properly. As a result, there will be a chumra added to the marriage rules of a regular priest to prevent the dysfunction caused by a child in the household unable to eat much of the food there or to be raised fully by his stepfather.

  • Perhaps Ezekiel 44:22 isn't giving commandments but rather it's simply saying how righteous all the priests in the future are in general. In other words, the priests who are allowed to marry widows will marry widows of priests (those women will be righteous) if they do marry widows. The same applies with rest of the verse like how the priests who can't marry widows (i.e. the high priests) won't marry widows and they will marry virgins of Israel, etc. – David the Prince Sep 3 at 0:29
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    @DavidthePrince Yes, that is the idea. My explanation was to give the logic behind the action of only marrying widows of priests. The assumption is that all women will be righteous then, not just the widows of priests. – sabbahillel Sep 3 at 1:25
  • About your logic, very clever, but you just over-complicating stuff. Just make an assumption (תעשה אוקימתא) that the verse excludes non-priest widows with children only. Upvoted for cleverness. – Alaychem Sep 3 at 5:41
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I'm expanding @sabbaHillel first answer here, for good measure.

קידושין עח ע"א-ב

אמר ליה רב נחמן לרבא: האי קרא רישא בכהן גדול, וסיפא בכהן הדיוט? אמר ליה: אין. וכתב קרא הכי? אמר ליה: אין, ... 'והאלמנה אשר תהיה אלמנה מכהן יקחו' – מכהן אין, מישראל לא? הכי קאמר: מכהן יקחו – משאר כהנים יקחו

Rav Nachman told Rava, that verse (Ezekiel 44:22), its first part talks about the high priest, and its end talks about a regular priest?! He replied, Yes! ... [and what about] 'and a widow that is the widow of a priest they shall take' - priest's widows yes, non-priest's widow no? [He replied] 'widow of a priest' actually means 'the rest of the priests (regulars) are allowed to take (any) widow'

That's obviously, far from the simple understanding of the verse. So far, that together with more issues, our sages almost removed Ezekiel from the Tanach.

שבת יג ע"ב

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב ברם זכור אותו האיש לטוב וחנניה בן חזקיה שמו שאלמלא הוא נגנז ספר יחזקאל שהיו דבריו סותרין דברי תורה ... ודרשן

Rav Yehuda on behalf of Rav said: That man, Hanania Ben Hizkia, is to be remembered for doing well, because without him, Ezekiel would have been removed from the Tanach, because it contradicts the Tora...and he settles the contradictions.

  • The Targum and te'amim both follow Rava's (forced) interpretation. So Rav Nachman must have initially both divided and translated the verse differently than we do, or else he wouldn't have been so surprised – b a Sep 3 at 7:53
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Let’s see what the pasuk says

Vayikra 21:14

אַלְמָנָ֤ה וּגְרוּשָׁה֙ וַֽחֲלָלָ֣ה זֹנָ֔ה אֶת־אֵ֖לֶּה לֹ֣א יִקָּ֑ח כִּ֛י אִם־בְּתוּלָ֥ה מֵֽעַמָּ֖יו

A widow, a divorcee, a woman who is desecrated or a prostitute he shall not take in marriage any of these. Only a virgin of his people may he take as a wife.

Who is he?

The pasuk is a continuation of 22:10, which identifies him

וְהַכֹּהֵן֩ הַגָּד֨וֹל מֵֽאֶחָ֜יו אֲשֶׁר־יוּצַ֥ק עַל־רֹאשׁ֣וֹ | שֶׁ֤מֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה֙ וּמִלֵּ֣א אֶת־יָד֔וֹ לִלְבּ֖שׁ אֶת־הַבְּגָדִ֑ים אֶת־רֹאשׁוֹ֙ לֹ֣א יִפְרָ֔ע וּבְגָדָ֖יו לֹ֥א יִפְרֹֽם:

And the cohen who is elevated above his brothers, upon whose head the anointment oil has been poured or who has been inaugurated to wear the garments he shall not leave his hair unshorn or rend his garments.

The Cohen elevated above his brothers refers to the Cohen Gadol

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    I don't understand how this answers the question. Yechezkel says kohanim cannot marry widows unless they are widows from a kohein. Vayikra says kohanim can marry widows but kohein gadol cannot. – Double AA Sep 2 at 23:01
  • Perhaps Ezekiel 44:22 isn't giving commandments but rather it's simply saying how righteous all the priests in the future are in general. In other words, the priests who are allowed to marry widows will marry widows of priests (those women will be righteous) if they do marry widows. The same applies with rest of the verse like how the priests who can't marry widows (i.e. the high priests) won't marry widows and they will marry virgins of Israel, etc. – David the Prince Sep 3 at 0:28

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