I understand that a non-Kohen should not ask a Kohen to do a task for him. It is quoted in hewikipedia

האיסור להשתמש בכהן הוא איסור להשתמש בכהן כפועל או בעבודה כל שהיא, אפילו עבודה קלה. סיבת האיסור הוא כיוון שהכהן נחשב כקודש ההשתמשות בו לעבודה של חול נחשבת כמעילה

At שאל את הרב at moreshet.co.il I found a question about whether a Kohen could be asked to pass a person's bag to him. The response was

האם כהנים פטורים ממצות גמילות חסדים ? אין כאן איסור ולא נדנוד כל שהוא.

Are Kohanim exempt from the mitzvah of kindness? There is nothing forbidden here at all.

So under what circumstances may one ask a Kohen to do a task for a non-Kohen?

1 Answer 1


The Rema (O.C. end of 128) writes:

אסור להשתמש בכהן אפי' בזמן הזה דהוי כמועל בהקדש אם לא מחל על כך

It is forbidden to be serviced by a Kohen even in our current time...unless the Kohen forgives it [willingly forfeits this honor].

Based on these words of the Rema it seems to me that asking is not what is forbidden. If you ask him and he chooses to forfeit his honor that's fine. If however the Kohen is not mochel and you have him do it anyway, that would be forbidden.

The Mishna Brurah (s.k. 175) adds that it is better to be stringent and not have the Kohen do it even with mechilah unless the Kohen derives some benefit from doing it, and that one should definitely not have him perform a demeaning task.

  • Rabbi Doniel Neustadt has an article on this issue. He asks, Why are some people not careful to observe these halachos? One of his reasons is “Now that the Beis ha-Mikdash is destroyed, this mitzvah does not apply—except for those who conduct themselves lifnim mi-shuras ha-din” His source for this is R. Tam (quoted by Taz 128:39). Jan 1, 2020 at 21:09
  • @AvrohomYitzchok Thank you. But he also adds "the majority of the poskim agree that the mitzvah of honoring a kohen applies even nowadays". Obviously the Shulchan Aruch and Rema are among them.
    – Jay
    Jan 1, 2020 at 23:31

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