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Friday, May 12, 2017


For Parshat Kedoshim

Not yet available on the Nishma website


  1. Rabbi Hecht.

    You are making a good point, but I think the issue of a Kohen or Kohen Gadol's requirement for additional or extra Kedusha simply means and he is tied to his obligation to do service in the Beis Hamikdash, or a special service demanding a Kohen needs to be completed.

    Since the Kohen represents the sole functionary for these kinds of duties, he always need to be ready to serve in the utmost, holiest capacity. The stringency of not drinking alcohol is 1 example of how careful a Kohen has to be, prior to doing any kind of these services.
    If you are asking why, or what connection, is there between Holiness, and a restriction of a Kohen not marrying a Gerusha, or Chalutzha - it might simply be tied to general Marital relations issues, and the conceptual separation imposed due to any confusion people might have between pagan, priestly rights ( think of a kedaisha, for example ), and how a Kohen Gadol is obligated to marry only one who is a virgin. Though not exactly an equal comparison, I can see the need for this kind of separation, and why the requirement was imposed on Kohanim in the 1st place.
    I think you will agree that the word 'kedaisha' and 'Kedusha' are similar, even though they represent completely
    diametrically opposed sides of the holy spectrum, and certainly not by any coincidence do the words sound similar....

    Eli (E.A.) Adler

  2. Eli:

    Thank you for your comment. The way I would phrase it, though, is that the kedusha of the kehuna does demand this specific quality of separation which is not demanded in the the general call for kedusha within Klal Yisrael even to the extent that leaders within the general kehilla -- such as the king, a nasi of the Sanhedrin or a leading talmid chacham even needs to strive for it -- as this type of separation is specific to the kehuna given its task in the avodah. What I did find especially significant, though, in your words is a reason for why the marital restrictions are an important element of this kedusha and for this I am grateful for your words.

    I am not sure of how much you may know of the truth of your words and the real possible connection between the term kedeisha and kedusha. The reality is that open sexuality was actually part of the pagan process of worship. While we may hear of the virgins of Delphi in Greece, this was the exception. The reality is that pagan idolatry basically had female priestesses and that was intentional
    because open sexuality was part of pagan worship. The fact that Torah demanded only male priests was actually unheard of in the ancient world. The further reality is that Torah broke with this pattern of connection of spirituality and
    spiritual highs with sexual highs. In the pagan world, the sexual experience was considered an expression of spirituality with the loss of the person's 'reason' in the experience. Torah challenged this whole theory. What you have added is that this
    may also explain why the kehuna had further restrictions on who a kohain, and especially the Kohain Gadol, may marry to ensure a total break between this idolatrous connection of sexuality and spirituality. I never thought of that and I appreciate your insight. Thank you.