related to: Kohen following a Mes into a tunnel

If a Kohen is driving his car and a hearse is next to him and they are both in a area where there are trees in a narrow road (or say regular road with wide branches that hover over) do the tree branches hovering over both vehicles at the same time cause the Kohen to become tumah?

I can see how a cave could apply but does this just as easily apply to tree branches in this particular case. In the examples from this site:http://www.yeshiva.co/midrash/shiur.asp?id=12074 it explains how easily tumah can occur from tree branches, however the examples are limited to cemeteries and not hearses. Maybe they just left that example out but are we to assume it is included?

This happened to me today although there was most likely no dead body in the hearse as it was going away from the cemetary and no cars were following it. I would think it would be safe to conclude there was no tumah involved but is that enough reason to be sure to make that assumption?


1 Answer 1


A very useful basic guide to these laws is “The Kohen's Handbook” by Rav Yochanan Alexander Lombard.

On p124, 5, Rav Lombard says that a metal car does not block tumah and a moving car is called an “ohel zoruk” that does not block tumah. (He reports an opinion that a car with closed windows may protect kohanim from tumas ohel of a non-Jew.)

Similarly to to your source, he reports that:

If the branches hovering over both vehicles at the same time are a tefach wide, they conduct the tumah and cause the Kohen to become tomei.

Even (p66) where the branches are less than a tefach wide, if there is dense foliage this combines to make a roof by rabbinic law and the Kohen should not go there.


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