Scenario: An architect is building an extension onto a cemetery. As it will engulf the section traditionally reserved for Kohanim, he wishes to build an "overpass" with cenotaphs holding the information from the matzevot. The "overpass" would be built from tumah-resistant materials, but would likely have windows. It would be immediately above the kevarim, but accessible only from outside of the cemetery.

Would such a structure be kosher for Kohanim to enter?

  • 2
    I don't see any way of answering this question without blueprints
    – Double AA
    Nov 5, 2014 at 15:12
  • @DoubleAA, then this would be a question of practical halachah, which would be off bounds. I'll try to make something though. Nov 5, 2014 at 15:14
  • What does "tumah-resistant materials" have to do with accessibility for Cohanim? Nov 5, 2014 at 15:55
  • 2
    @danny If something is not tumah resistant then it cant chotzeitz
    – Double AA
    Nov 5, 2014 at 17:16
  • @DoubleAA - even if it's permanently connected to the ground? Nov 6, 2014 at 10:26

1 Answer 1


In order to prevent Tuma from rising, you need a Tefach space covered by a roof.

To achieve this for a bridge, you use the כיפין על גבי כיפין concept, as described by the Para Aduma ceremony, where they had a bridge from the Temple Mount to Har Hazeitim:

מסכת פרה - פרק ג - משנה ו

וְכֶבֶשׁ הָיוּ עוֹשִׂים מֵהַר הַבַּיִת לְהַר הַמִּשְׁחָה, כִּפִּין עַל גַּבֵּי כִפִּין, וְכִפָּה כְנֶגֶד הָאֹטֶם, מִפְּנֵי קֶבֶר הַתְּהוֹם, שֶׁבּוֹ כֹהֵן הַשּׂוֹרֵף אֶת הַפָּרָה, וּפָרָה וְכָל מְסַעֲדֶיהָ, יוֹצְאִין לְהַר הַמִּשְׁחָה:‏

Essentially a series of arches on top of arches, so that every foot of the second floor is resting on a hollow, so as to cover all available Tuma-leakage.

Or as the Bartenura explains:

רגלי הכיפה שהכיפה נשענת עליהם נקראין אוטם. ואין רגלי הכיפה העליונה כנגד רגלי התחתונה, אלא כנגד הכיפה עצמה, דכנגד אוטם העליונה עומד חלל התחתונה

Alternately you could use a long hanging/suspension bridge that maintains a height of at least 1 Tefach above any graves.

Windows are not a problem as long as the Cohanim don't lean out of them (Oholos 11:4) and they don't have a ledge that would bring in the Tuma, as explained by the Rambam in הלכות טומאת מת פרק יז.

  • A window that has a window ledge might bring tumah into the bridge through the window space. Looking for an explicit source for that now.
    – MTL
    Nov 5, 2014 at 17:17
  • @Shokhet - only the "upper" window "ledge". Or if the window ledge is hollow. See Rambam in הלכות טומאת מת פרק יז mechon-mamre.org/i/a117.htm Nov 6, 2014 at 10:27
  • @DannySchoemann That's what I meant.
    – MTL
    Nov 6, 2014 at 19:00
  • Why would someone DV this answer?
    – MTL
    Nov 6, 2014 at 19:01
  • @Shokhet FWIW it appears the downvote predates all the edits.
    – Double AA
    Nov 6, 2014 at 19:25

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