Wednesday, June 24, 2009

is a female kohein included in the issur of zarus

The Rambam defines a zar in hilchos bi'as mikdash ch. 9:

ב איזה הוא זר: כל שאינו מזרע אהרון הזכרים--שנאמר "וערכו, בני אהרון" (ויקרא א,ח), "בני אהרון" ולא בנות אהרון.

The Minchas Chinuch on this week's parsha (390) quotes the safeik of the Parashas Derachim whether a woman kohenet has the status of a zar and is included in the prohibition of "v'zar lo yikrav aleichem". Is the exclusion of "bnei Aharon v'lo bnos Aharon" a giluy milsa that women are also defined as zarim or is it a seperate din, an issur aseh? From the defintion of zar which the Rambam offers -- all who are not male kohanim -- it does appear that woman are included in the lav.

R' Yosef Engel (Esvan D'Oraysa #19) points out that the gemara (Zevachim 15b) derives from "v'yinazru m'kodshe bnei Yisrael" that there is a seperate prohibition of performing avodah which defiles korbanos. Even if a woman is not included in the prohibition of zarus, because her avodah is invalid she would be in violation of this lav of defiling kodshim.


  1. Anonymous9:01 PM

    Is the Rambam under the illusory assumption, that every time the term "Bnei. Yisroel"is used,it is by definition only referring to male children of Israel.
    I was under the impression or assumption that the term Bnei is used often to refer to both genders. Kind of like mankind and related concepts.
    Generic all inclusive equal opportunity term.

    Does the Torah ever use the term Bnos Yisroel when commanding or describing the nation as a whole. Bnos Tzelaphchad doesnt count. The corresponding halachos is a separate argument.

    If in fact bnei yisroel is used often to refer to both men and Women (i dont recall there ever being a distinction between bnei yisroel and bnos yisroel in the first Five books of the torah. Neviim and kesuvim dont count.)
    Its nòt clear how the Rambam came to the conclusion that Bnei Aharon is referring specifically to male kohanim.

    I guess there is the concept of a bas levi (me for starters)nòt sure if that proves anything i want it proving ...
    Also the covenant with Gd concept, is that just a male bris thing ?
    Its nòt clear what kind of covenant Women enter into with Gd. Its always good to read through contracts and agreements and binding commitments and responsibilities carefully... Anyway so when Bnei Yisroel entered into a covenant with Gd and accepted the Torah it probably included Women too. So thats one bnei yisroel refers to both genders sure there r plenty more.
    jaded topaz

  2. Anonymous1:24 AM

    Chaim B,
    Why is her avodah invalid.
    What if she wore the garments required of the kohein.
    Is the outfit considered a beged ish ?isnt there a jewel encrusted part of the spiritual outfit.

    Back to the question of what precisely the term bnei aharon actually refers to. If you look at Rashis translation for bnei aharon hakohanim Leviticus 1/5 he concludes that bnei aharon does nòt include chalalim.
    If i understand correctly chalalim r children from a marriage or Union which was prohibited to the kohein and or the descendants of the male children born from such unions.
    So mklal lav atah shameiah Hein. The fact that rashi understands the word kohanim as excluding chalalim , which would be included in bnei áharon ... This clearly suggests that Bnei Aharon does not by definition refer only to male children.

    Also the passage the rambam is referring to Leviticus 1/8 Bnei Aharon and his sons the kohanim, according to rashi it seems that the sacrificial validity or Focus is on the outfits required. And "his state of kehuna versus the serving in the garments of an òrdinary kohein" whatever that means. Sounds outfit and fashion district oriented ..nòt bnos versúa bnei oriented.

    The same concept in leviticus 1/7 referring to Bnei Aharon, the Kohein.Focus is on Aharon and the right kohein garb , if i understood correctly.

    In fact Rashi suggests that the concept of the bnei áharon, the Kohein lighting the fire is about a commandment to "bring fire from that which is òrdinary, ie kindled by man ".

    Its nòt clear if rashis "kindled by man" refers specifically to a male versus a female ... lighting. the fire

    At the end of the longwinded day the question really is r the outfits of the kohanim and kohein gadol actually considered a beged ish.

    And its nòt clear that Bnei Aharon refers specifically to the male children of Aharon only.

    There are countless verses translating Bnei Yisroel as children of Israel and in the same passage breath translate Bnei Aharon as sons of Aharon. Im nòt quite sure how accurate that translation is.

    If the rambam is suggesting that bnei áharon refers to sons only, then is he saying bnei yisroel , a term ive seen in the same passage r the sons of Israel and nòt the children of Israel.

    Lastly,i find it very difficúlt to imagine that the jewel. encrusted(topaz included) spiritual armor being an issue of beged ish.

    So can a daúghter of Aharon be a kohein godol.
    And be included in the bnei áharon reference just líke the bnei yisroel one.

    K now im gonna shut up alreády. But the argument was too tempting.

    jaded topaz

  3. Why does the pasuk say "bnei aharon hakohanim" instead of just "hakohanim"? Chazal darshen from the extra verbiage that women are excluded. It is a technical dispensation, not an exclusion from any type of "covenant" with G-d. There is a seperate halacha that a kohein who is not wearing bigdei kehuna is like a zar.

  4. Anonymous1:05 PM

    Chaim B,
    "chazal" say alot of things. "chazal"refers to many different sages.
    There are also many misconstrurd transformative translations attributed to "chazal"
    With that being said , which particular passage r you referring to ? The same passage the rambam is referring to ?
    Define chazal, the sage you r referring to and the passage commented on.

    Are you saying that Bnei Áharon is referring specifically to sons of Aharon. Do the "Bnei yisroel" references in the same passage refer exclusively to sons of Israel ?

    Why would Bnei be translated as both children and sons when attached to different names in the same passage.

    Anyway which particular are you referring to.

    jaded topaz

  5. Anonymous6:03 PM

    Òne last Point on the kohanim bnei aharon phraseology, its nòt clear why the chazal you reference would render the words bnei aharon redúndant when used in conjunction with kohanim.only the leviim that were descendants from Aharon were classified as kohanim. Descendants from leviim other than Áharon were classified as leviim.

    It may just be an attèmpt to differentiate between leviim that were descendants of aharon, aka kohanim, and leviim that were descendants from other leviim.
    Òne interesting fact i noticed on Áharons wikipedia entry, when he died the house of Israel mourned him nòt the sons of Israel.this is nòt the best precedent to be citing for my sons of Israel versus sons of Áharon thread thesis .... Whatevre ! Getting carried away for nothing again.

    jaded topaz