web analytics
May 25, 2015 / 7 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Q & A: A Kohen Traveling By Airplane To Israel


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

QUESTION: I am a kohen and will soon be traveling to Israel for the first time. I have been told that very often EL AL and other carriers transport remains for burial in Israel, and therefore I must check the flight. Is that so?
ANSWER: I can assure you that there is no problem in your traveling by airplane to Israel, as we will explain.This discussion is based on a responsum of my uncle, HaRav Sholom Klass, zt”l, on this very matter.

The Gaon Rabbi Moshe Feinstein discusses this subject in Iggrot Moshe (Yoreh De’ah 164:276 [1973]). He considers an airplane to be one large keli, that is, a large vessel or utensil. If a vessel or container is constructed out of the following metals: gold, silver, copper, iron, tin and lead, it is susceptive to ritual impurity. Thus, if a deceased person is in such a vessel, the uncleanness is passed on to every part of it. He points out, however, that this applies only to these six metals which conduct tum’ah (uncleanness). Since the Torah itemizes only these metals, the implication is that a utensil consisting of other alloys (such as aluminum, plastic, etc.) does not acquire or conduct uncleanness. Today’s airplanes are made out of steel, which is a product of iron, and the floors separating the passenger compartment from the cargo compartment are covered with carpeting. The carpeting is usually made of nylon, which is a product of coal and other ingredients.

The author of the Shulchan Aruch, R. Yosef Caro, discusses the case of a deceased person who reposes in a room of a house (Yoreh De’ah 371:4). Even though all the doors and windows of that room are locked, a kohen is not permitted to enter the house if there is only one entrance to the house. Since the kohen wouldn’t know when the corpse would be carried out, he might be exposed to passing it in the hallway at such a time.But the Rema does not agree and he permits a kohen to remain in the same house, provided that all the windows and doors [of that room] are closed.

If there are two separate entrances in an airplane, one for cargo and one for the passengers, and it is impossible for the passengers and the cargo to cross paths, there would be no problem according to the view of the Rema (see also Gesher Hachayim 6:2).

According to the management of EL AL, the cargo compartment on its planes is a completely separate unit, with its own separate entrance. It is also totally sealed, the passenger compartment having compressed air while the cargo compartment does not. This could be compared to two separate houses, attached to each other, each with a separate entrance and sealed off from each other; this would be permitted to a kohen.

Also, not every flight carries a casket. According to an EL AL official, approximately half of its flights do not carry a deceased person. Therefore the situation becomes a safek, a doubtful case. Moreover, today we classify kohanim as ‘safek kohanim,’ doubtful kohanim. Therefore this becomes a ‘safek sefeka,’ a doubtful doubt – which makes it permissible.

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: A Kohen Traveling By Airplane To Israel”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israeli-flag
A Palestinian State in the West Bank – World Hypocrisy
Latest Judaism Stories
Leff-052215

There is a great debate as to whether this story actually took place or is simply a metaphor, a prophetic vision shown to Hoshea by Hashem.

Staum-052215

Every person is presented with moments when he/she must make difficult decisions about how to proceed.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

One does not necessarily share the opinions of one’s brother. One may disapprove of his actions, values, and/or beliefs. However, with brothers there is a bond of love and caring that transcends all differences.

Torah

This Shavuot let’s give G-d a gift too: Let’s make this year different by doing just 1 more mitzvah

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if […]

God and the divine origin of His Torah are facts even though we do not fully comprehend them.

So if we basically live the same life, why should he get eternal reward and not me?”

The question is: What about pidyon haben? Can one give the five sela’im required for pidyon haben to a kohen’s daughter?

In Parshas Pinchas the Torah introduces the Mussaf for Shavuos by describing it as Yom HaBikurim when we bring the new offering.

Rachel was thrown by the sight and began to caringly think whom this person might be.

The desert, with its unearthly silence & emptiness, is the condition in which the Word can be heard

The census focused on the individual, proving each is created as irreplaceable, unique images of God

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

The Honor Of Reading The Kesubah
‘Witnesses Sign Only After Reading…’
(Kesubos 109a)

Why does the Torah use two different words for “to count,” and what does each indicate?

From Bemidbar on and in Nevi’im, the nation is viewed primarily by its component parts, the tribes

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if […]

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times on each hand alternatingly? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-a-kohen-traveling-by-airplane-to-israel/2003/12/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: