At the very end of Orach Chaim 128:45, the Rema says:

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].

The Mishna Berura (s.k. 175) there notes that if the kohen has some benefit, such as being paid, or serving an important person, there is less reason to be concerned, and the kohen is more likely to forgive this diminishment in his status. But for מלאכה בזויה (disgraceful work), one certainly shouldn't have the kohen do it.

I recall being told that if a group of yeshiva boys must clean the kitchen after Shabbat, they shouldn't task the kohen among them with taking the trash to the dumpster, as it is disgraceful work.
May a wife ask her kohen husband to do all the things one might normally ask a husband to do if he were a non-Kohen?

  1. So can a wife ask her kohen husband to take out the trash? Change a stinky diaper?
  2. Perhaps you'll say the husband is mochel on his honor. Teenage sons may well not be. So can the mother ask her teenage sons to do housework (clean their rooms, take out trash, etc), or more properly, if they reply that as kohanim it is beneath their dignity to do so, are they technically correct? While we might claim the mother is an important person relative to them, if they claim they have no particular pleasure in serving her, is she precluded from putting them to work in this way? How does the mitzva of kibbud av v'em enter into this?
  • 1
    In mid June 2017 (per my email history), one of my local Rabonim who gives a weekly Halachah Shiur discussed this exact question down to a T. Unfortunately, it looks like February-October of that year is the only section that is missing from the recording archives... I'll try to see if I can find the source sheets, but the conclusion was unequivocally that yes, a mother/wife of a Kohen is allowed to ask their son/husband to do all things normally requested from them. Dec 23, 2019 at 2:01
  • Bene Aharon velo Benot Aharon, Kehuna is for Men only, it's seems to apply not only to sisters but also to Wives since they don't eat Korban Chatat and last Kodshe Kodashim and aren't concerned for laws of Kehuna as Tumea and Avoda.
    – kouty
    Dec 23, 2019 at 5:15
  • The husband is doing it for himself (not as a service for his wife, it is his house he needs/wants it to be clean), a son honoring his mother is as though she is a great person
    – hazoriz
    Dec 23, 2019 at 11:44


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