According to Halacha, who has a priority in Kibbud, a talmid Chacham or a Kohen? Halacha obligates Jews to honor both, so if there is a dispute about which one a Jew can honor, which one should they pick?

1 Answer 1


Interestingly your question is an explicit mishna in Horayot 3:8

A priest precedes a Levite. A Levite precedes an Israelite. An Israelite precedes a son born from an incestuous or adulterous relationship [mamzer] [...] When do these halakhot of precedence take effect? In circumstances when they are all equal in terms of wisdom. But if there were a mamzer who is a Torah scholar and a High Priest who is an ignoramus, a mamzer who is a Torah scholar precedes a High Priest who is an ignoramus, as Torah wisdom surpasses all else.

After reviewing the laws of priority of a Kohen, din.org answers your question

The preference of a Kohen does not apply when the Kohen is in the presence of a Torah scholar, if he himself is not a talmid chacham. The talmid chacham takes precedence over the Kohen, and one must honor the Torah scholar rather than the Kohen.

In fact, the Gemara (Megillah 28a) notes that one who honors a Kohen am ha’aretz over a talmid chacham desecrates the name of Hashem and denigrates the Torah

See also R Doniel Neustadt here at length.

  • Note that in some contexts (cf. Gittin 5:8) we make a rule to always honor the kohein first so that people don't fight about who is or isn't a bigger torah scholar. Remember to never ever fight about that.
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 26 at 13:34

You must log in to answer this question.

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