Not only can kohanim consume terumah, but they may feed it to their wives, their daughters, their Canaanite slaves and their livestock (cf: Rambam, Hilkhot Terumot 6:1 and 3). So far as their own consumption is concerned, kohanim may not consume terumah unless they are in a state of ritual purity (so, for example, Berakhot 2a: בשעה שהכהנים נכנסים לאכול בתרומתן, etc). That being said, what about the people they are feeding?

• Does the wife of a kohen need to be ritually pure? (This is not mentioned as one of the differences between kohanim and their wives in Mishna Sotah 3:7, so I would have assumed that she does);

• Does the daughter of a kohen need to be ritually pure? (That the rules concerning one's daughter may be different from those concerning his wife is borne out by the principle that a man's wife is an extension of his body but his daughter is not; אשתו כגופו, Yevamot 62b - used in this context by Tosafot, Ketubot 52a, s.v. והיו מבקשין);

• Does the Canaanite slave of a kohen need to be ritually pure? (I may have thought not, given that the laws of ritually purity are laws that only Jews must abide by, but Tosefta Zavim 2:1 seems to imply that they might);

• Are there limitations on what type of livestock may consume terumah, or on the physical condition of the livestock? Does it need to be a kosher domesticated animal? May it possess blemishes that would otherwise invalidate it from being ritually consumed?

  • Cannanite slaves are sufficiently Jewish to contract tumah.
    – Double AA
    Jun 24, 2013 at 6:16
  • Why would you say that? How is somebody who is not Jewish "sufficiently Jewish" for anything?
    – Shimon bM
    Jun 24, 2013 at 6:30
  • 1
    they are Jewish enough to be obligated in most negative commandments.
    – Double AA
    Jun 24, 2013 at 7:20
  • @DoubleAA Is that only Canaanite slaves or is it any non-Jewish slave? Jun 24, 2013 at 17:54
  • @CharlesKoppelman I mean the halachik category of עבד כנעני. Such a slave goes to the mikva upon purchase, becomes a full Jew upon release, and has many unique laws.
    – Double AA
    Jun 24, 2013 at 19:53

1 Answer 1


Anybody who eats Terumah needs to be טהור as is implied in the רמב"ם in הלכות תרומות פרק ז,א

כוהן טמא אסור לאכול תרומה, בין טמאה בין טהורה--שנאמר "איש איש מזרע אהרון, והוא צרוע או זב--בקודשים לא יאכל" (ויקרא כב,ד): איזה הוא קודש שאוכלין אותו כל זרע אהרון, זכרים ונקבות--הוי אומר תרומות

A source specific to women, is in the רמב"ם in הלכות תרומות פרק ז,ז

המשמשת מיטתה--אם לא נתהפכה בשעת תשמיש--טובלת, ואוכלת בתרומה לערב; ואם נתהפכה בשעת תשמיש--הרי זו אסורה לאכול בתרומה כל שלושה ימים, שאי אפשר לה שלא תפלוט ותהיה טמאה כמו שיתבאר במקומו

The רמב"ם does not specifically mention that an עבד must be טהור.

The רמב"ם does not specify what types of animals qualify, though it seems that any creature belonging to him qualifies, as he writes in הלכות תרומות פרק ו,א

תרומה ותרומת מעשר נאכלת לכוהנים--בין גדולים בין קטנים, בין זכרים בין נקבות, הם ועבדיהם הכנעניים ובהמתן: שנאמר "וכוהן, כי יקנה נפש קניין כספו" ויקרא כב,יא

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