According to Halacha, if a kohen rapes a convert or divorcee must he marry her? Or is he Petur from this law since he is otherwise prohibited from marrying a divorcee or a convert?


2 Answers 2


He may not marry her. See Mishneh Torah, Na'arah Besulah 1:5:

היתה אנוסה זו אסורה עליו אפלו מחיבי עשה ואפלו שניה הרי זה לא ישאנה

If the girl he raped was forbidden to him, even if the prohibition stems from a positive commandment, or she was a sh'niyah [or forbidden by other Rabbinic prohibitions], he should not marry her.

But note that the entire law may not apply to a convert or divorcee, depending on when the conversion or divorce took place. See halacha 9 and 10 ibid.


A Kohen cannot marry a convert or divorcee.

Even in the event that a Kohen had sexually assaulted a woman of either category, they cannot marry a divorcee or a convert. This rule applies even in a scenario like this. (Mishneh Torah, Virgin Maiden 1)

From an historical perspective, the crime of rape was typically treated as one which could be solved financially. Rather than a prison sentence or similar, the perpetrator of the abuse would pay the father damages for having assaulted his daughter.

In the event the perpetrator became engaged to marry the victim, they would still be required to pay damages but the payment would be made directly to the woman he assaulted rather than to the father.

See Ketubot 39a

On a similar note, Rava inquired of Abaye: If he forcibly had intercourse with a young woman and she was later betrothed [became engaged to], what is the halakha? Abaye said to him: Is it written: And he shall give to the father of the young woman who is not betrothed? Actually it is written: “If a man finds a young woman…who was not betrothed” (Deuteronomy 22:28), which indicates that the determining factor is whether she was betrothed before the rape and not whether she is engaged at the moment of payment. Rava asked him: And according to your reasoning, that which was taught in a baraita: If he forcibly had intercourse with a young woman and she later married, the fine is paid to her, not to her father. There too, ask: Is it written: And he shall give to the father of the young woman who is not married? Even though the verse does not address the moment of payment, if she married the fine is paid to her.

Let's say that the Kohen completely disregarded Halakah and they decided they were going to marry a divorcee. What happens?

The Kohen does not lose his status as a Kohen but he loses the ability to perform the duties of a Kohen as he is living in an unclean relationship. The only way a Kohen could undo this situation is outlined in (Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chayim 128)

A Kohen that married a divorcée may not perform the priestly blessing, and we do not treat him with sanctification, even to call him up to the Torah first. And even if he divorced her or she dies, he is invalid [as a Kohen] until he vows to not get any benefit, with the congregation's consent, from women who are forbidden to him.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .