A Kohen has to do an inspection of one who got Tzaraas.

What would he do if the person who got Tzaraas was a woman, and the Tzaraas was in a "covered place".

How would a Kohen inspect it?

  • I'm almost sure this question came up, but my Googling came up unproductive. – ertert3terte Apr 28 '17 at 2:06
  • Why is this different from a doctor? You look at what you need to look at and do your job – Double AA Apr 28 '17 at 3:35
  • See tiferet yisrael negaim yachin 2:24 – Double AA Apr 28 '17 at 3:55
  • there ia a sugis about mila when the tsaraat is on the orla – kouty Apr 28 '17 at 4:04
  • Just a thought. IIRC there's discussion of a talmid chacham (someone who knows the law) checking a nega carefully and the kohen issuing a 'p'sak' on his recommendation. The kohen would presumably then need only to glance at the nega for the briefest of moments. Perhaps they had women check women carefully, then? – msh210 Apr 28 '17 at 6:04

I'd like to propose two reasons why it should be permissible.

First. The Kohen uncovers a Sotah's hair (Bamidbar 5:18). We see from here that a Kohen may uncover a woman in places she normally covers for the sake of the ritual.

Second. The Gemara (AZ 20b) discusses the prohibition to gaze at a woman's clothing, as it may lead to improper thoughts. Among the various conditions mentioned is that it has to be old clothing, as if new clothing is prohibited, a tailor would be put out of business, unable to alter women's clothing.

The Gemara challenges this based on the fact that he's preoccupied with his job; he won't think about the woman. The Gemara brings a proof from a breeder; although the same Braisa says that one may not watch animals mating, one may breed them. How is that possible, without watching them mate? Rather, the Gemara concludes, one who is busy with his job won't think improper thoughts. So, too, perhaps new clothing should be prohibited ordinarily, but a tailor gets an exemption.

Based on this logic of the Gemara, perhaps we may also say that a Kohen who checks a woman for tzara'as is allowed to examine her uncovered, as he is preoccupied with his job.

  • +1 for your second argument. The first seems weak WADR, as for sota there's an exceptional g'zeras hakasuv. – msh210 Apr 28 '17 at 6:06


According to the Rambam, Tum'at Tsara`at - Chapter 9:1

Anyone may inspect a potential Tsaraat blemish (except the afflicted individual themselves).

Therefore, a trained woman who knows the Halachos could check the afflicted woman and rule out most questions.

However, if the afflicted woman does eventually need the direct eye of the Cohen, then according to the Rambam 9:12, a woman sits in a certain position (as if nursing a child) while naked. The Cohen then views the blemish and issues a ruling. This sitting position excludes extreme folds of the skin and many private parts from inspection (a man also does not need to be inspected in folds of skin and certain private areas). The Torah requires the eyes of the Cohen to naturally see the area of a naked individual that is usually visible. (For instance, the bottom underside of the foot is exempt.) However, most of the flesh does need to be examined (for instance, breast area does, if that is the afflicted spot).

It seems that at the end of the day, the Cohen just needs to rely upon professional conduct similar to an OBGYN physician.

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