Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kiddushin 54a - Wearing Bigdei Kehuna after the Avoda is finished

The gemara discusses the concept of whether bigdei kehuna can be worn even after the avoda is over. In Meseches Yoma 69a the gemara also discusses this issue, in conjunction with the issur of kelayim which existed in the avneit (even if bigdei kehuna is permitted after the avoda, the avneit which is kelayim could be worse).
Rashi holds that the concept of לא ניתנה תורה למלאכי השרת is matir a kohein to wear bigdei kehuna even after the avoda is completed, so long as it remains a shogeg - meaning, that he removes it as soon as humanly possible. Based on this, Rashi explains that the mishnah holds that if one is mekadesh a woman with bigdei kehuna b'shogeg, she would not be mikudeshes, because there is no violation of me'ila with bigdei kehuna since included in the permitted use of bigdei kehuna is the shogeg. Meaning, the sevara is not only matir the specific use to wear the bidei kehuna after avoda, but is matir all accidental use of bigdei kehuna.
However, Rashi 66a by the story of yanai hamelech, implies that it is permitted even l'chatchila to wear bigdei kehuna, even if it is not a shogeg. Rashi seems to assume that Yanai Hamelech, although not a great tzaddik, would not have worn the tzitz unless it was permitted (or at least understands from the fact that we don't seem to hold it against him, that it is not part of the things he did wrong). Tosafos rejects Rashi because our gemara implies that we are only matir b'shogeg, meaning that we insist that he remove the bigdei kehuna as soon as humanly possible (Tosafos explains that wearing the tzitz was an exception to the rule based on the pasuk of "tamid"). Tosafos is asking a very strong question on rashi, how can he be matir even l'chatchila, meaning even b'meizid, since our gemara is matir only b'shogeg?
Perhaps Rashi understands that the sevara of לא ניתנה תורה למלאכי השרת is matir all use when the intent is not to remove the item from hekdesh status. Therefore, putting it on even l'chatchila when not doing the avoda is permitted since the intent is not to remove it from hekdesh status. Similarly to use it for kiddushin by accident would also be permitted since he is not intending to remove it from hekdesh status. But, to use it for kiddushin realizing that it is hekdesh, would by definition be trying to remove it from hekdesh status and is assur. This is meduyak in rashi - 
שלכך הוקדשו מתחלה ליהנות בהן שוגגין רק שלא יתכוין לחללן - meaning, the only thing we don't allow is intentional use to remove it from hekdesh status.

7 comments:

Schulz said...

there are actually a lot of orthodox rabbis (poskim) who say that Kohanim today are not real Kohanim (with the exception of the Rapaport family) because they have become lost. see http://www.kohen.co.uk

Avi Lebowitz said...

i am not sure how the comment fits with the post, but i will respond anyway. the website you quoted is interesting, but not much more than that. the debate over the concept of kohanim losing their status began way before the maharshal. the taz on shulchan aruch (y.d. 322:5) cites the maharshal that we don't give challah nowadays to a child kohein to eat because we lost the ability to verify him as a kohein. yet, he himself ends by saying משום דלא מחזקינן בזמן הזה בכהן ודאי, meaning that we are not positive he is a kohein but certainly have to be machmir by dinei d'oraysa. For the website you quoted to say that the concept of kehuna nowadays is just a minhag is a display of ignorance and a lack of understanding halacha. the pischei teshuva (3)cites all the predecessors of the maharshal who weighed in on this issue. many of them reject the notion of kehuna being lost. see also pischei teshuva 305:12 citing ya'avetz who actually agrees with the maharshal and maharshdam, but only as a safeik. he requires the kohein to return the pidyon ha'ben money. BUT no one in their right mind would say that pidyon ha'ben is unnecessary or a divorced woman could many a kohein, or that a kohein can enter a cemetery.

josh said...

Avi, thank you for responding.

What you said however is not true. Many poskim do say that honoring them is only minhag,such as the Rivash. The Mahrshal says that all of the Kohanim have been lost and if not all of them then most of them. This is completely different than saying "he might not be a Kohein". According to the Maharshal he is probably not a Kohein. The Ovadia Yoseph letter and others state that a Kohein nowadays CAN remain married to a gerusha bedieved. Lechatchila, you are correct- they should not enter a cemetery.

The point is that we are not giving Aharon's sons the first alliya and benching rights. We are giving people who are probably not Aharon's sons the first alliya and benching rights to promote peace and there are many poskim to rely on to ensure that a Yisroel is not degraded in public (for instance, a 50 year old Yisroel does not have to ask a 13 year old Kohen for "permission" to speak at a public gathering before him or to sit in the front seat of a car before him).

Avi Lebowitz said...

I am saddened by the irreverence for halacha in your comments. None of the earlier poskim that you mentioned would allow a kohein to marry a gerusha (the proof is that they do not) or even to stay married to one "bidieved". None of the earlier poskim you mentioned would allow a kohein to enter a cemetery. This is not minhag, this is based on chezkas keuhuna or at least a safei d'oraysa. Regardless of the words one uses to express the "doubt" of not being a kohein, it is merely a doubt but chas v'shalom to undermine the entire kedushas kehuna and permit issurei d'oraysa. I don't know Rav Ovadia's p'sak (i highly doubt a recognized gadol like him would blatantly pasken that all kohanim can stay married to gerushos), but it isn't relevant because all the greater poskim, including R. Moshe Feinstein who no one in this generation or the past can hold a candle to in his understanding of halahca, would even consider undermining kedushas kehuna. Under very very specific situations was R. Moshe willing to say that a person who comes from an entirely irreligious family isn't required to consider himself a kohein.

josh said...

Saying "because Rav Moshe said so" seems to be the standard these days for not knowing what to say. On www.kohein.com there is posted a written response from R Ovadia Yoseph (who is equal to Rav Moshe, what you said about Rav Moshe was an opinion. Also, all of these Rabbis are achronim who officially have no authority as only Rishonim do on a technical level). I would sooner give my life than have irreverence for halacha and I am hurt by your accusations. I have updated the website to include the part about the cemetery which you are correct about.

To conclude, please listed to the lecture that is featured on the site from a seasoned Rabbi or you can listen to the full lecture which is full of jokes and extra material on the yutorah.org website.

I, as a Kohein, have had many conversations with Rabbis who said I can remain permitted to my wife because "my mom or someone along the lines probably had relations and I am in consequence probably not a Kohen. The letter from ovadia Yoseph specifically says he is maskim with the Rivash by making a shnitz lehachek.

Avi Lebowitz said...

I had no idea that this was personal and had I realized wouldn't have pursued this dialogue. My apologies for offending you.

Josh said...

The personal aspect of it I admit was my grama but it does not impede my ability to view this situation on an objective level. I would much prefer people listen to the shiur by the Rabbi that I put at the top of the website instead of read what I wrote.
Kol Tuv, may Hashem answer all our tefilot this Yom Kippur for the good.