The Torah.org halakha class says,

If a kohen is present in the synagogue, he must be called to receive the first aliyah. After the Kohen, a Levi is called. If a Levi is not present, the same Kohen is called to the Torah again in his place, the gabbi reciting, bimkom Levi - "in place of a Levi."

Why do we use the same kohen and not call another kohen “bimkom Levi”? Is it because of troubling the congregation or because it might cast slurs on the origin of the second kohen or …?

  • Maybe it's just to expedite the process?
    – Daniel
    Commented Aug 6, 2012 at 14:43

1 Answer 1


The source for this is in Gittin 59b:

כהן אחר כהן לא יקרא משום פגמו של ראשון

Translation: kohen should not read after kohen because this implies a blemish of the first kohen.

  • 1
    I've wondered about this - does it blemish him, or does it imply that we are uncertain about his status?
    – Seth J
    Commented Aug 6, 2012 at 15:36
  • @SethJ, I've always read it as the latter. No source, though. Note also the translation is I think "the blemish of the first" not (as within) "this blemishes the first".
    – msh210
    Commented Aug 6, 2012 at 17:21
  • @msh210, which I assumes means not that it creates a blemish but that (it implies) there is a blemish.
    – Seth J
    Commented Aug 6, 2012 at 19:30
  • @msh210 I'm not sure how to apply your translation correction. Can you merge that in. Thanks.
    – jutky
    Commented Aug 6, 2012 at 19:44
  • What types of blemishes are we concerned about, today?
    – DanF
    Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 20:16

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