Do the marriage restrictions of Vayikra 21:7 apply to a Cohen who is pasul for Service in the Beit Hamikdash? (eg. He has a moom. Am not asking about a Chalal)

  • 1
    Welcome to MiYodeya Karyn. Hope to see you around!
    – mbloch
    Apr 26, 2018 at 20:39
  • He can eat the Korbanot even if he has a Mum, so I can't imagine his "holiness" is affected at all. Clearly they can't get married.
    – Double AA
    Apr 26, 2018 at 20:58
  • Note that the pesukim which give the marriage restrictions speak of all kohanim, no matter if they have a mum or not. If a mum had such an effect, a kohen with a temporary mum would be allowed to marry and be required to divorce when it goes away. That is not logical. Also as @DoubleAA said, a kohen with a mum is allowed to eat from the korbanos, which he would not be allowed to do if he had married improperly (and become a challal). Apr 26, 2018 at 22:37
  • 2
    @sabba a kohen can't become a challal no matter what
    – Double AA
    Apr 26, 2018 at 22:56
  • @DoubleAA I meant that while a kohen is married to a divorcee, he is treated like a challal (and is pasul). Once he divorces the woman he can return to the avodah. I had thought that he would be called a challal during that time. I apologize if I was mistaken on the term used. See The Status of a Kohen who Marries a Divorcee The Ben Ish Chai , in his work Od Yosef Chai (Parashat Tetzaveh, 5), rules that a Kohen who marries a divorcee may not participate in Birkat Kohanim or be called for the first Aliya. Apr 26, 2018 at 23:09

1 Answer 1


There are well-known teshuvot on this issue, the most famous being that issued by the Rabbinate on Israeli Supreme Court Justice Chaim Cohen back in the 70's. He offered to cut a finger off to make himself posul so he could marry a divorcée. The rabbis said that even if the Kohain in question is horribly maimed (the example they used was losing an entire arm) and totally unfit for service in the Beit HaMikdash there is no way out, he still can't marry a convert, divorcée or chalitza widow. Cohen ended up getting married in a civil ceremony in NY and later followed up with a wedding officiated by a Conservative rabbi.

The story is discussed in Saul Bellow's "To Jerusalem and Back", here's a Baltimore Sun article from the 90's referencing it.


You must log in to answer this question.

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