Does every Jew who is a cohen or a levi use "Hacohen"/"Halevi" in his official Hebrew name (i.e. for a religious document)?

If one is the son or daughter of a cohen or a levi, does the "hacohen"/"halevi" enter one's name, too?

  • Wouldn't the son of a Cohen or Levi himself be one?
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 0:07
  • @mevaqesh He could be a chalal or mamzer
    – Heshy
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 0:13
  • @mevaqesh The adopted son of a cohen or Levi who is a ger is called to the torah using the name of his adoptive father without the title. Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 1:18
  • @mevaqesh No I was responding to your comment to show when the title could not be used. As a result it is used only when it applies to the person being named as I say in my answer. I did not want to use a case that would be a gnai to the person being named. Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 1:26
  • @sabbahillel I'm not sure what your trying to clarify. I correctly understood your comment. The point is simple: is the OP talking about regular children or adopted? If the former, why would they be different? Either way, the OP should clarify.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 1:29

1 Answer 1


The way the term is used is (Elazar ben Aharon) hacohen and not Elazar ben (Aharon hacohen). Thus the title applies to the person whose name is being stated and not to his father. As an example, if a baby (not Jewish) is adopted by a cohen or a Levi, then he is called to the torah as Gershom ben Moshe and not Gershom ben (Moshe haLevi).

An interesting point is that even though Moshe Rabbeinu was considered a Cohen, his sons were not cohanim but were leviim and would be called to the torah that way - (Gershom ben Moshe) haLevi.

A woman does not have this possibility, so she would be referred to in her kesuvah or her get as bas Ploni haCohen. As an example, my wife is a bas Cohen and is written that way in her kesuvah.

@SAH also points to the situation in which the child of a bas Cohen or bas Levi and the father is not Jewish. When such a child is called to the Torah with his grandfather's name, he is treated like an adopted child since he is not the member of a tribe.

This shows that the usage of the phrase is on the person and not the father. If the person's name is given without his father being mentioned then we do say Aharon haCohen

@DanF points out that misbeirach for a chole (sick person) is Aharon hacohen ben Yocheved

I explain this in When an adopted child is called to the torah, how are they named? and Hebrew name of a convert with a Jewish father?.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 15:15
  • @sabbahillel What is a source for your understanding of הכהן or הלוי applying to the child and not the father? What is a source for the way you describe a מי שברך? (I've never it done that way.) Doesn't the fact that we mention פלונית בת פלוני הכהן/הלוי imply that the title is for the father and not for the child?
    – magicker72
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 23:38
  • @magicker72 As I explain in the cited articles, we see that when the father is a Kohen or Levi, but the the child is not, we do not use the title. Note the way I put in the parentheses in this post to show how I read it. Also note that the title is still used even when the father's name is not mentioned. As far as the מי שברך for a choleh, that is how I have heard it done and done it myself as a gabbai. Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 2:27
  • @sabbahillel The cited answers also don't have sources to support your answer. I'm clear on how you understand the parsing, but not why it's correct. I've also never heard הכהן used without mentioning the father, so was hoping you had some source for that too.
    – magicker72
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 2:30
  • Individual names are also called by title (like Aharon HaCohen). As an example, we have Rabbi Dovid Chai Hacohen, testified that if Rabbi Yosef Chaim had lived during the time of the Temple, it would never have been destroyed is found in a description of the father of the Ben Ish Chai. Thus we see that it is applied to the individual. It is also a logical inference from the fact that the title is dropped if the father is a Cohen, but the child is not. Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 3:54

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