The Noam Elimelech in his first piece in Parshas Metzora writes:

(Source from Sefaria.org)

"ביום טהרתו והובא אל הכהן", פירוש ביום שיטוהר מעוונו יפעול להעלות השכינה ליחדה עם קב"ה, וזהו "והובא אל הכהן", הקב"ה נקרא כהן,

"And on the day of his [the Metzora's] purification he shall be brought to the Kohen" (Lev.14:2), meaning on the day which he is purified from his sin and he will act to elevating the Shechina and unite it with the Holy One, blessed be He; This is "And he shall be brought to the Kohen"- G-d is called "[a] Kohen" 1

My Question:

Where is this idea of G-d being reffered to as "a Kohen" appear originally? Is this the Noam Elimelech's own novel idea or is this idea based in Tanach, Chazal or Zohar?

1 Additionally see the Noam Elimelech in Parshas Tazria where he refers to this idea as well


3 Answers 3


Talmud Sanhedrin 39a (text and translation taken from Sefaria.org):

א"ל ההוא מינא לרבי אבהו אלהיכם כהן הוא דכתיב (שמות כה, ב) ויקחו לי תרומה כי קבריה למשה במאי טביל וכי תימא במיא והכתיב (ישעיהו מ, יב) מי מדד בשעלו מים

A certain heretic said to Rabbi Abbahu: Your God is a priest, as it is written: “That they take for Me an offering [teruma]” (Exodus 25:2), and teruma is given to the priests. He asked, sarcastically: When He buried Moses, in what ritual bath did He immerse? A priest who contracts impurity from a corpse must immerse in order to be able to partake of teruma. And if you would say that He immersed in water, but isn’t it written: “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand” (Isaiah 40:12), that all waters of the world fit in the palm of God, so He could not immerse in them.

א"ל בנורא טביל דכתיב (ישעיהו סו, טו) כי הנה ה' באש יבא ומי סלקא טבילותא בנורא א"ל אדרבה עיקר טבילותא בנורא הוא דכתיב (במדבר לא, כג) וכל אשר לא יבא באש תעבירו במים

Rabbi Abbahu said to him: He immersed in fire, as it is written: “For, behold, the Lord will come in fire” (Isaiah 66:15). The heretic said to him: But is immersion in fire effective? Rabbi Abbahu said to him: On the contrary, the main form of immersion is in fire, as it is written with regard to the removal of non-kosher substances absorbed in a vessel: “And all that abides not the fire you shall make to go through the water” (Numbers 31:23), indicating that fire purifies more than water does.

  • Why bring vessels to the Mikvah then after having done Libbun to Kasher them?
    – Double AA
    Apr 22, 2018 at 5:14
  • Mikvah is not part of the kashering process (in the sense that kashering removes the non-kosher substances from the vessel being kashered).
    – Menachem
    Apr 22, 2018 at 5:17
  • I know I'm talking where you bought it used from a gentile
    – Double AA
    Apr 22, 2018 at 12:15
  • @DoubleAA: Mikvah is for purification, not kashering. -- chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1230791/jewish/… . Practically, I'm not sure how you can make a mikvah of fire, but perhaps if you could it would be an option. Perhaps the Nehar Dinur from Daniel 7:9 -- chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16490/jewish/…
    – Menachem
    Apr 25, 2018 at 2:46
  • I think Double’s point is that this Midrash is comparing Mikvah to Libun, when it should compare Ha’agalah to Libun.
    – DonielF
    Apr 26, 2018 at 20:07

Talmud Bavli Zevachim 101b-102a תלמוד בבלי זבחים קא עמוד ב - קב עמוד א

מיתיבי מרים מי הסגירה א"ת משה הסגירה משה זר הוא

When Miriam became a leper (see Numbers 12:10), who diagnosed and quarantined her? If you say that Moses quarantined her, that is difficult, as Moses was a non-priest,


ואין זר רואה את הנגעים וא"ת אהרן הסגירה אהרן קרוב הוא ואין קרוב רואה את הנגעים

and a non-priest may not inspect the shades of leprous marks to diagnose them. And if you say that Aaron quarantined her, that is difficult, as Aaron was a relative, Miriam’s brother, and a relative may not inspect the shades of leprous marks.

אלא כבוד גדול חלק לה הקב"ה למרים אותה שעה אני כהן ואני מסגירה אני חולטה ואני פוטרה

Rather, the Holy One, Blessed be He, bestowed a great honor on Miriam at that time, and said: I Myself am a priest, and I will quarantine her for seven days to see if the shades of leprous marks persist, and I will declare her a leper if she is impure, and I will exempt her if she is not impure.


This idea is, according to the Machon Sod Yesharim edition of Sefer Noam Elimelech, page 238 note 6, brought from Zohar, parshat Tazriah 49b which quotes the Amora (or according to Rashi and Tosafot, the Tanna - see Chullin 106a) Chizkiyah who states explicitly that the Holy One, blessed be He is ‘the Kohen’.

עָדֶיךָ כָּל בָּשָׂר יָבוֹאוּ. בְּשַׁעֲתָא דְּגוּפָא שַׁרְיָא בְּצַעֲרָא, בְּמַרְעִין בְּמַכְתְּשִׁין. כְּמָה דְאַתְּ אָמֵר וּבָשָׂר כִּי יִהְיֶה בְעוֹרוֹ. אֶת הַנֶּגַע בְּעוֹר הַבָּשָׂר. הַבָּשָׂר הַחַי. וּבְגִין כָּךְ לָא כְּתִיב, כָּל רוּחַ יָבֹאוּ, אֶלָּא כָּל בָּשָׂר יָבֹאוּ. מַהוּ עָדֶיךָ. אֶלָּא כְּמָה דְּאִתְּמַר, וְהוּבָא אֶל הַכֹּהֵן, דָּא הוּא קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא. הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב, וְאִם יִרְאֶנָּה הַכֹּהֵן. תָּא חֲזֵי, בַּאֲתַר חַד אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן, וּבְאַתְרָא אָחֳרָא הַכֹּהֵן סְתָם, וְדָא קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא.

It mentions as a secondary source, the anonymous beraisa from Zevachim 102.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .