As a Cohen is prohibited from deliberately defiling himself through contact with a dead body, may he enter a hospital where there is a high probability that someone might die and render the Cohen tamei through ohel? I could never get a straight answer for this one. Cited sources with the answer would be much appreciated.

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    Why would you think this would be a problem? Have you done any prior research on this? Please edit your question to elaborate in order that we can best address the issue you want clarified.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 2:26
  • I'm told that certain hospitals in Israel have signs for when kohanim can and cannot enter the hospital.
    – MTL
    Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 3:45
  • What's with the Cohen questions? Side note: all hospitals have clear procedures for handling dead bodies. Not all parts of the hospital will become an ohel in the event of a patient's death, as there are predetermined pathways that they will carry the body through on it's way through the hospital (designation of an exit "saves" other areas from impurity). So the food court is perfectly safe, but the elevator may not be. Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 6:46
  • @IsaacKotlicky when you describe the procedures of hospitals, are you referring to Jewish hospitals specifically, or all hospitals?
    – MTL
    Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 16:52
  • @Shokhet all hospitals have regulations in place for handling bodies. Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 17:00

1 Answer 1


The organisation Vaad Hakohanim puts out useful information on keeping away from tumah for kohanim. Particularly useful is The Kohen's Handbook A complete guide in English to help today's kohen guard his spiritual purity .

Hospitals are a special problem because nearly all contain amputated limbs and other body parts as well as aborted fetuses. The situation is different in Israel to Chutz Lo'oretz because most of the sources of tumah in Chutz Lo'oretz come from non-Jews which leaves room for leniency. But essentially the design of each hospital needs to be studied by a competent Rabbi and the reasons for the visit need to be considered when you CYLOR.

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