Reading Assignment - Class #17

Class #17: Torah Cohanim 2

Please read mitzvot #266 – 268, 272 – 274 on the topic of who cohanim may marry. It will probably take us more than one class to discuss this material, but all of these mitzvot are very closely related so it makes sense to read them together. This is confusing material, and our author is not as clear as we might like him to be.  If you are able to, you might want to focus on the crucial terms in these mitzvot in Hebrew rather than English. 

Please consider the following questions:

Mitzvah #266:

1.        How does a woman become a zonah?  (The translation calls her a “wanton.”)

2.       The author considers a list of cases in which a cohen marries a woman with a specific sexual history.  Is the cohen violating the prohibition on marrying a zonah if he marries:

A.      A non-Jewish woman.

B.      A female convert.

C.      A widow, assuming the new husband is a cohen gadol.

D.     A divorcee.

E.      A woman who had sex with an animal.

F.      A woman who had sex when she was a niddah.

G.      A woman who had sex with a non-Jewish man.

H.     A woman who had sex with a mamzer.

I.        A woman who had sex with a close relative.

J.       A prostitute.

3.        The wife of a cohen says she was raped.  Must her husband divorce her?  Why? Does it matter whether or not her husband believes her?  If there some special reason to think she might be lying? Does it matter if there are witnesses?  Does it matter if all this happens when the couple is fighting?  If the couple stays married and then the husband dies, may the widow marry a cohen thereafter?

Mitzvah #267:

1.        How does a woman become a halalah?  (The translation calls her a “profaned woman.”)  What is a cohen halal?  How does a man become a cohen halal?

2.       The author says there are three categories of halal/halalah.  What are they?  What examples does the author give for each category?  If the author does not give an example, can you construct one?

3.       A. Does a cohen halal have to keep prohibitions that apply to cohanim but not to ordinary Jews?  Does a cohen halal have to keep prohibitions that apply to ordinary Jews but not to cohanim?  Can you give examples?

B.  Does a safek cohen halal have to keep prohibitions that apply to cohanim but not to ordinary Jews?  (“Safek” means “doubtful.”) Does a safek cohen halal have to keep prohibitions that apply to ordinary Jews but not to cohanim?  Can you give examples?

C.  Does a cohen halal d’rabanan have to keep prohibitions that apply to cohanim but not to ordinary Jews?  Does a cohen halal d’rabanan have to keep prohibitions that apply to ordinary Jews but not to cohanim?  Can you give examples?

D.  The author discusses a case where a woman in a family married a cohen halal but no one remembers which woman it was.  May the women in the family marry cohanim?  Why or why not?  If a woman in a family married a safek cohen halal but no one remembers which woman it was, may the women in the family marry cohanim?  Why or why not?  How does this case fit with the pattern in the prior three cases?

Mitzvot #272 – 274.

1.        Who may a cohen gadol marry?

2.       May a cohen gadol have more than one wife?  Why or why not?

3.       How are mitzvot 273 and 274 different from each other?

4.       The author explains why the Torah repeats prohibitions on a cohen gadol marrying a zonah, a halalah and a divorcee.  Why?  Why does the order in which these prohibitions appear in the verse matter?  Each mitzvah creates a situation where the woman involved is more limited than she was before.  Can you figure out the added limit at each step?  (This material is very difficult to follow.  Give it a try and see how far you can get.)

 

 

 

 

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