Terumah is a tithe that is given to kohanim. I have been told that kohanim are not allowed to eat terumah nowadays. Is this true? If so, why not?

  • 4
    Why should they? How do you know they don't? Please try to put a bit more effort into your questions than one run-on sentence. Did you try googling for answers? What did you find lacking in what you found?
    – Double AA
    Oct 30 '18 at 15:13

The kohen needs to be in a state of taharah (ritual purity) to eat terumah. Since without having a parah adumah (red heifer needed to eliminate the effects of the impurity of connecting with a human carcass) it is not possible to be in a state of taharah nowadays, the terumah is not eaten.

Rambam Sefer Zeraim Trumot chapter 2 halacha 14

Terumah [must be given] to a priest whether it is in a state of ritual purity or not. Even if all the grain or the wine became impure before [terumah] was separated, he is obligated to separate the terumah that is impure and give it to a priest, as [Numbers 18:8] states: "And behold I have given you the watch over My terumah,"54 i.e., whether it is pure or impure. The pure [terumah] may be eaten by the priests and they can benefit from the impure [terumah] by burning it.55 If it is oil, it can be kindled [as fuel for a lamp]. If it is grain or the like, it can be used as fuel for an oven.56

54. In the verse, the noun terumah uses a plural form alluding to two types of terumah: pure terumah and impure terumah. See also Hilchot Ma'aser 6:2.

55. It is forbidden to partake of it.

56. It may not, however, be given to animals as animal fodder. See Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 90) which states that it is a mitzvah to burn impure terumah. Impure terumah from fruits that will not be useful as fuel must be buried.

See this source from Orthodox Union, in the section Explanation of the Procedure in the first item.

  • This is inaccurate. There is no Kareit for eating Terumah while impure. Also notably a Temei Met can eat Terumah from the Diaspora.
    – Double AA
    Oct 30 '18 at 15:02
  • @DoubleAA removed reference to kareis, very surprised, I thought this was correct. So is the penalty regular malkos?
    – gt6989b
    Oct 30 '18 at 15:14
  • The punishment is Mitah Bidei Shamayim. But you writing that without a source is no better than me doing so. Don't trust me. Look it up!
    – Double AA
    Oct 30 '18 at 19:00
  • @DoubleAA tried to look around but could not find a direct reference, which is why i asked you here. i always thought it was kareis and was wrong, apparently
    – gt6989b
    Oct 30 '18 at 20:17
  • @sabbahillel thank you so much for the edit, it is so much better now
    – gt6989b
    Oct 31 '18 at 3:47

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