Vayikra (Leviticus): Emor > Ch 21

Laws for the Kohanim, the sons of Aaron

  • Let none [of you] defile himself for a dead person among his people except for his relative who is close to him, his mother, his father, his son, his daughter, his brother, and for his virgin sister who is close to him, who was not [yet] with a man for her, he shall defile himself. [But] a husband shall not defile himself for [a wife who causes] his desecration, [while she is] among his people.
  • They shall not make bald patches on their heads, nor shall they shave the edge of their beard, nor shall they make cuts in their flesh.
  • They shall be holy to their G-d, and they shall not desecrate their G-d's Name, for they offer up the fire offerings of the Lord, the food offering of their G-d, so they shall be holy.
  • They shall not marry a woman who is a prostitute or who is desecrated, and they shall not marry a woman who is divorced from her husband for he [the kohen] is holy to his G-d.
  • You shall sanctify him, for he offers up the food offering of your G-d; he shall be holy to you, for I, the Lord Who sanctifies you, am holy.
  • If a kohen's daughter becomes desecrated through adultery she desecrates her father; she shall be burned in fire.
  • And the kohen who is elevated above his brothers, upon whose head the anointment oil has been poured or who has been inaugurated to wear the garments he shall not leave his hair unshorn or rend his garments.
  • And he shall not come upon any dead bodies; he shall not defile himself for his father or his mother.
  • He shall not leave the Sanctuary, and he will not desecrate the holy things of his G-d, for the crown of his G-d's anointing oil is upon him. I am the Lord.
  • He shall marry a woman in her virgin state.
  • A widow, a divorcee, a woman who is desecrated or a prostitute he shall not marry [any] of these. Only a virgin of his people may he take as a wife.
  • And he shall not desecrate his offspring among his people, for I am the Lord, Who sanctifies him.
  • Any man among Aaron’s offspring throughout their generations who has a defect, shall not come near to offer up his G-d's food. For any man who has a defect should not approach: A blind man or a lame one, or one with a sunken nose or with mismatching limbs; or a man who has a broken leg or a broken arm; or one with long eyebrows, or a cataract, or a commingling in his eye; dry lesions or weeping sores, or one with crushed testicles. Any man among Aaron the kohen's offspring who has a defect shall not draw near to offer up the Lord's fire offerings. There is a defect in him; he shall not draw near to offer up his G-d's food. His G-d's food from the most holy and from the holy ones, he may eat. But he shall not come to the dividing curtain, nor shall he draw near to the altar, for he has a defect, and he shall not desecrate My holy things, for I am the Lord Who sanctifies them.

Rashi Commentary

  • he shall not defile himself for his father or his mother [Since the Kohen Gadol, unlike the ordinary kohen (see verse 2 above), is forbidden to defile himself for any dead body, even for his parents, this seemingly superfluous statement here comes only] to permit him [to defile himself] for a מֵת מִצְוָה, a dead person for whom there is no one to attend to [his burial]. — [Torath Kohanim 21:28; Nazir 48a]
  • And he shall not desecrate his offspring But, if he does marry one of those [women listed in the verse as] being unfit [to marry a Kohen Gadol], his offspring from that woman are desecrated from the holiness of the kehunah [and are permitted to defile themselves for the dead, and they may marry a widow or a divorcee]. — [Nachalath Yaakov; Torath Kohanim 21:34]
  • his G-d’s food Heb. לֶחֶם אֱלֹֹהָיו, his G-d’s food. Any meal is termed לֶחֶם, as in, “…made a great feast (לְחֵם) ” (Dan. 5:1).