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If a Cohen had married a non-Jew, and divorces her (as in Ezra ch 9 & Ezra ch10) could he marry a virgin, unmarried Jewess? I am reading the Book of Ezra and am curious to see what would have been the next step after the Kohanim put away their non-Jewish wives and would any males born after have status of Kohanim?

  • They would not "divorce" the non-Jewish wives as they were never married to begin with – sabbahillel Oct 26 '16 at 0:10
  • Do you mean that their "marriage" was not acceptable, therefore no divorce was necessary? – Yankel Dec 4 '16 at 15:45
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Any "marriage" between a Jew and a non-Jew is invalid and regarded as never having happened. It is a sin but if the Jew does teshuvah and separates from the non-Jew, there is no "ceremony" required. That is, since it was never a "marriage" no "divorce" is required.

If the non-Jew was the "wife" then any children are also not Jewish at all.

In the case written in Ezra, as soon as the Jews who had intermarried sent away the nonJewish wives (and any children) then there was no relationship between them. Once he had sent them away, he was allowed to marry a permitted Jewish woman and their children would be kohanim.

The child of a kohen and a divorcee is a "chalal" and is not a kohen. In that case, the kohen must divorce her. However, if the kohen marries a permitted woman (widow for a regular kohen or virgin for a kohen gadol), then their children are kohanim. The reason is that the kohen does not lose his status as a kohen once he has left the forbidden woman.

Kohen Marriages

A kohen may not marry a ge’rusha (divorcee), chalalah (woman of defective kohen status), zonah (woman who previously violated certain sexual prohibitions), giyoret (convert) or chalutzah (a Levirate widow). If he does marry any of them, their children likewise become chalalim. Sons born do not have priestly status, and daughter may not marry kohanim.

The kohen himself cannot have his priesthood removed. If he terminates the prohibited marriage, by death or divorce, he may resume his kohen privileges. There is no such thing as the "defrocking" of a kohen.

  • I don't think this answers the question. The OP asked about children born after the termination of the relationship with the non-Jewish women; i.e. children born from a Jewish woman. || Any "marriage" between a Jew and a non-Jew is invalid and regarded as never having happened This conflates whether it is an halakhic marriage, and whether it has any ramifications. It can have ramifications in halakha even if it is not considered halakhic mariage. For example, a Jew is prohibited from marrying a non-Jew. If he does so, it is not considered as if nothing happened; rather he did a sin. – mevaqesh Dec 4 '16 at 19:12
  • @mevaqesh I will try to make it clearer. – sabbahillel Dec 4 '16 at 23:36
  • The answer was, and is clear. It just doesn't address the OP. – mevaqesh Dec 4 '16 at 23:45
  • @mevaqesh His question was whether the kohanim were allowed to have children who were kohanim with a Jewish wife afterwards. The answer was that a) there was no divorce required (as he asked in the comment) and b) that after the kohanim sent away the nonJewish "wife" and their nonJewish children, he was allowed to actually marry a permitted Jewish wife. I added that explicitly into the answer. I also quoted the source from chabad.org, see the last paragraph of the citation. – sabbahillel Dec 5 '16 at 0:44
  • His question was whether the kohanim were allowed to have children who were kohanim with a Jewish wife afterwards. Not exactly. His question was two-fold: whether he would be permitted to marry a virgin Jewess, and whether, if he would, the children would be reckoned as kohanim. || Regarding B, the main point of the answer, you did indeed just add this, although it remains unsourced. It also implies that he could not marry a Jewish wife before that. [cont.] – mevaqesh Dec 5 '16 at 1:05

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