If Kohanim nowadays are safek kohanim how can they make a bracha on Birkat kohanim isn't the rule "safek brachot le'hakel"?

  • 3
    How do you know that kohanim nowadays can't know for certain that they are kohanim?
    – Dude
    Oct 8, 2018 at 4:35
  • 4
    perhaps you can improve the question with some sources as to how we know that kohanim these days are safek kohanim
    – Menachem
    Oct 8, 2018 at 6:24
  • 1
    @Menachem this is a very well known concept found extensively around shulchan aruch. it would certainly improve the question, but is it the responsibility of the questioner?
    – Hershy S.
    Oct 8, 2018 at 14:13
  • @heshy to those who know it is well known.
    – Menachem
    Oct 8, 2018 at 14:57

1 Answer 1


This question is addressed by several acharonim. R. Jacob Reischer argues that since a kohen who does not perform the blessing is as if he has violated three positive commandments, the Sages said that a safek kohen should do it. And since he is doing it m'd'rabanan, there is no problem with making a beracha:

Shu"t Shevut Yaakov 1:93

אלא ודאי צ"ל אף על גב דספק הוא הוא נושא כפיו מדרבנן אע"פ דזר הנושא כפיו עובר בעשה מ"מ כיון דכהן שאינו נושא כפיו כאלו עובר בשלש עשה לכן אמרו חכמים דישא כפיו אם הוא ספק כהן וכיון דמדרבנן נושא כפיו שפיר מברך

It sounds like he's saying that they're not actually making the beracha for the biblical commandment of kohanim blessing the people; rather they are making the beracha for the rabbinic commandment of safek kohanim blessing the people.

An answer offered by R. Israel Lipschitz is that the rule of safek berachot l'hakel does not apply here because the rule of safek d'oraita l'chumra says that they have to do Birkat Kohanim, and when you do a mitzvah d'oraita m'safek you make a beracha on it (as ruled in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 67:1).

Introduction to the Order of Kodshim – Chomer Bakodesh 4:26:8

גם אילה"ק דעכ"פ ספ' ברכות להקל רק כשהברכה עצמו מדאורייתא [כא"ח ר"ט] י"ל דזהו רק בברכת הנהנין אבל בספק קיום מצוה דאורייתא מברך מספק [כא"ח סי' ס"ז

  • 2
    You ignored all the opinions that Kohanim nowadays aren't Safek, which is not only the simplest answer but also the clear majority traditional opinion. (Chas veShalom to leave this page in public without mention of that fact.)
    – Double AA
    Oct 8, 2018 at 11:33
  • 2
    @DoubleAA can we get an answer here that kohanim are bechezkas and not safek?
    – Hershy S.
    Oct 8, 2018 at 14:15

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