Based on this question and answer, it seems that the obligation to honor the kohein is when everyone has equal rights, the kohein gets first pick, but not everything. For instance, if a host serves a platter of steaks, the kohein gets first pick at the steak he likes, but then doesn't continue to grab the platter every time the yisrael reaches for it. He only gets the first one. Alternatively, even when there are multiple kohanim in a shul, only the first aliya goes to a kohein.

The question was raised at the end of that answer regarding if mincha and maariv are being davened back to back, does the kohein have preference for each one, or does the fact that they are together mean he only gets to go first, but a yisrael goes second?

I'd like to ask a variation: what if a kohein, a levi, and a yisrael (walk into a bar...) eat all three meals on shabbat together with no one else attending (for instance, they are roommates). Does the kohein lead the zimmun each time, or just the first? Do we view the three meals as three opportunities to bentch, and the kohein gets the first one, or do we evaluate each one individually? Most importantly, where do we draw the line between connected and disconnected events?

(This situation would often happen to me, a yisrael, if I went to someone's house for shabbat with a kohein friend, back in college. Often my kohein friend would lead zimmun Friday night and I at lunch.)

2 Answers 2


IIRC I have heard personally from Rabbi Yisrael Reisman (Brooklyn) that a kohen leads birkas hamazon at each meal. I do not recall whether he gave a source or what it may have been.

  • I don't have sources off hand, but this appears to be the standard practice.
    – LazerA
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 22:03

See my www.kohen.co.uk or oraltorah.org

It is not a simple thing at all that Kohanim are entitled to any priority except the first alliyah (for darchei shalom). The Magen Avraham says Kohanim today do not have yichus and therefor do not have the right to these things such as the best portion at a meal.

I asked my Rabbi (Binyamin Frost shilta of the 5 towns) and he said that Kohanim do not have priority for the best portion of a meal or tzedaka.

  • This seems like a comment.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 4:33
  • 1
    Plus I'm very skeptical of any site which puts so much effort into only one side of the story.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 4:44

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