We know that Moshiach will be a descendant of the House of David. We know for various reasons that David was not a kohen (he was the great-grandson of a convert; he was from the tribe of Judah). This implies that if someone is from the House of David--that is, a descendant of David's male line--he could not be a kohen.

Is this correct? Is it therefore correct that people who are kohanim (or Levites) today know that they are not Moshiach? Ideally, please bring some sort of authoritative support for your answer.

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    a kohen was anointed (whether for war or his role as Kohen Gadol) so you must mean "Moshiach" as reference to his role as king? But a kohen can't be king judaism.stackexchange.com/a/34588/1362 so I'm not sure how you mean the term Moshiach. Also, the kohen status today has a safeik I think (we use chezkas kehuna) so you never can tell (IIRC).
    – rosends
    May 13, 2015 at 20:03
  • @Danno, sounds like an answer. May 13, 2015 at 20:05
  • @Danno I mean kohen in the sense that people talk about kohanim today? You know, the people who have the first aliyah in shul. And I mean "Moshiach" in reference to the Moshiach we all are waiting for... Maybe I just don't understand your comment
    – SAH
    May 13, 2015 at 20:09

2 Answers 2


Yes. The two groups are perforce distinct. Either your ancestor along the male line is David or Aharon (or neither, of course). It is a simple impossibility to be a descendant of both, along the male line, which is what counts.

  • Would like to accept your answer, but do you know if any texts or religious authorities have commented to that effect? (Don't mean to imply that you're not a religious authority...)
    – SAH
    May 22, 2015 at 3:43
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    I will nitpick on a technicality. There are sources that state the firstborn will serve as kohanim in the messianic era. If Moshiach were to be firstborn, he too could serve as kohen!
    – Ephraim
    May 27, 2015 at 16:58
  • @Ephraim Where does it say that the firstborn will serve as kohanim in the messianic era?
    – Yehuda W
    May 22, 2022 at 15:57

If you want a specific source which says it (although something that deducible often doesn't get said outright) here is one. The Lubavitcher Rebbe Toras Menachem 19, Achron Shel Pesach 5717 p. 286-287:

ועפ"ז יובן מה שמצינו שגם הגאולה העתידה תהי' ע"י משה רבינו, שנקרא "גואל ראשון" ו"גואל אחרון"


וידועה הקושיא: הרי משה רבינו הוא משבט לוי, ומשיח הוא משבט יהודה (כמ"ש "ויצא חוטר מגזע ישי"), וא"כ, איך יתכן שמשה הוא "גואל ראשון" ו"גואל אחרון"?

According to this will will understand why the future redemption will also be through Moshe Rabbeinu, who is called the first redeemer and the last redeemer.

[Some sources for that are discussed in the text and footnotes]

It is known the question: Moshe Rabbeinu is from the tribe of Levi, and Moshiach is from the tribe of Yehuda ... If so, how can it be said that Moshe is the first redeemer and the last redeemer?

He then goes on to answer the question in that it has to do with the interconnection between the souls of Moshe Rabbeinu and Moshiach [but they are two separate bodies with two separate tribal affiliations].

  • Interesting. I guess the most crucial part here is the Rebbe's clear statement that "Moshiach is from the tribe of Yehuda"?
    – SAH
    May 29, 2015 at 16:53
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    @SAH, I think that idea can be found in a lot of places, but the statement that being part of Levi means you can't be, although deductible, is probably not something often said. In this case it needs to be said because you have sources implying that Moshe Rabbeinu is both, so how can that work, etc.
    – Yishai
    May 29, 2015 at 18:35

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