Bamidbor 31 (18) allows the female captive children from the war with Midian to be kept alive. From them there had to be a 'tax' of one out of 500. One half of these was to be given to Elozor Hacohen and one half to the Leviim.

The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh says that the “keeping alive” refers to conversion to Judaism in order to take them as wives.

החיו לכם. פירוש יגיירו אותם שבזה יקראו חיים כדי שיהיו ראויות להם להנשא לחפץ בהם

Are we to understand that the same was the purpose for Elozor and the Leviim? Did they really need the trouble of bringing up children until those children could marry? And the question is intensified because the geirim could not marry Kohanim!

Related:What was the nature of the tax of 32 people?

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    Are you sure that the rule that a Kohen cannot marry a Giyores applies if the woman was Migayer under the age of 3? I thought the reason why a Kohen couldn't marry a Giyores is due to the fact that it was assumed she was classified as a 'Zonah' during her non-Jewish days, which wouldn't apply if she became a Jew prior to the age of 3. Jul 11 '18 at 17:14

This is a Machlokes in Yevamos 60b

תניא ר' שמעון בן יוחי אומר גיורת פחותה מבת שלש שנים ויום אחד כשירה לכהונה שנאמר (במדבר לא, יח) וכל הטף בנשים אשר לא ידעו משכב זכר החיו לכם והרי פנחס עמהם ורבנן לעבדים ולשפחות

Rabbi Shimon says a Cohen ca marry a girl that converted under the age of 3 years ad 1 day as it says "The female children you shall keep alive for yourselves,"(Bamidbar 31,18) and surely Pinchos the Cohen was among those who went to war and was permitted to marry these girls. But Rabbanan argue that the girls were meant as maidservants not as wives (sice a kohen cannot marry a convert even under the age of 3 see Gemora there).

So according to Rabbi Shimon, Elazar could have married one of these captives, but Rabanan whom we follow says Elazar could only use this girl as a maidservant.


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