web analytics
July 25, 2014 / 27 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

May A Kohen’s Pregnant Wife Enter A Cemetery?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Parshas Emor begins with the commandment prohibiting kohanim from becoming tamei. This prohibition only applies to male, not female, kohanim. Additionally, the Gemara in Yevamos 114 states that the Torah commands adult kohanim to ensure that kohanim under the age of thirteen do not become tamei.

An interesting question arises based on these halachos: Can a kohen’s pregnant wife enter a cemetery? On the one hand, why shouldn’t she be permitted to do so since the halachos of tumah only apply to male kohanim? On the other hand, perhaps the fetus she is carrying is a male kohen, in which case she would be obligated to ensure that he does not become tamei.

The Shach (Yoreh De’ah 361) quotes the Rokeach who says that a pregnant woman married to a kohen may enter a room with a dead person in it. He says this is permitted because it is a sfeik s’feika (double safek). One safek is regards her fetus’s gender – it may or may not be male; the other regards the fetus’s viability – it may or may not be a nefel (a child who doesn’t live for 30 days or who is born after a pregnancy that didn’t reach full-term).

The Magen Avraham (Orach Chaim 343:2) says that he does not know why the Rokeach had to rely on a sfeik s’feika in order to permit a kohen’s pregnant wife to enter a room with a dead person in it. The Magen Avraham suggests that this should be permitted because of the concept known as taharah baluah – if something is completely enveloped inside something else, it cannot contract tumah. The Gemara, in the fourth perek of Chullin, clearly extends this law to something inside a uterus; since the fetus is considered baluah, it cannot contract tumah. Therefore, a kohen’s pregnant wife should be permitted to enter a cemetery – even if she knows she is carrying a male fetus – as the fetus will not contract tumah.

In volume 2 of Kovetz Shiurim, siman 41, Rav Elchonon Wasserman, zt”l, Hy”d, discusses whether the prohibition against a kohen becoming tamei requires that he remains tahor, or if it also requires that a kohen not be in the same room as a dead person – even if he doesn’t contract tumah.

Rav Elchonon also discusses whether the concept of taharah baluah dictates that the fetus does not contract tumah because enveloped items simply do not contract tumah or because the fetus is halachically not considered to be in the same room as the dead person. If we say the latter (and keeping in mind that the Torah dictates that kohanim remain tahor) it would be prohibited for a kohen’s pregnant wife to enter a room with a dead person in it. Even though the fetus would not contract tumah, it would nevertheless be in the same room as a dead person – which is prohibited.

According to the Rokeach, a kohen’s pregnant wife may enter a cemetery because of a sfeik s’feika while according to the Magen Avraham, she may enter because the fetus is considered baluah and therefore cannot contract tumah.

One difference between these two approaches is when one is aware that the fetus is a male, i.e. through ultra sound. One of the Rokeach’s s’feikos concerns the fetus’s gender. If one knows that the fetus is a male, there is no longer a sfeik s’feika; rather, there is only one safek, which a person is forbidden to chance.

But according to the Magen Avraham, it is still permissible for a kohen’s pregnant wife to enter a cemetery even if she knows with certainty that the fetus is a male. This is because the fetus is still enveloped inside the womb; therefore, it cannot contract tumah.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.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.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

2 Responses to “May A Kohen’s Pregnant Wife Enter A Cemetery?”

  1. Gene Strong says:

    Nonsense. .
    God does not.care

  2. Karen Bryant says:

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to rely on God’s Scriptures rather than what a group of Rabbis say.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
John Kerry
Entire Israeli Cabinet Rejects Kerry’s Proposed Ceasefire, Talks Continue
Latest Judaism Stories
Weiss-072514

Just as the moon waxes, wanes and renews itself, so has the nation of Israel renewed itself through the millennia.

126_masei_web

Parshat Masei: Rabbi Fohrman addresses the age-old question, are we our brother’s keeper?

Hertzberg-072514

When Germany invaded neutral Belgium on August 4, England declared war on Germany. Thus, by the end of the first week of August all the major powers of Europe were at war.

Winiarz-072514

The Talmud teaches that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of baseless hatred.

When taking any major step in life it is a good idea to carefully re-evaluate one’s past.

Ours is a small and intensely vulnerable people. Inspired, we rise to greatness. Uninspired, we fall

The enormity of Hiram’s accomplishments crazed him and deluded him into self-deification.

When Hashem first thought (if it could be) about creating the world, the middah of din was in operation.

Hallel On Purim?
“Its Reading Is Its Praise”
(Megillah 14a)

If the only person available to perform the milah on the eighth day is a person who is not an observant Jew, the milah should be postponed until a devout mohel is available.

It is apparent from the Maharsha that he does not see galus as atoning for killing accidentally; otherwise, this Gemara would not bother him.

It was found to be a giant deer tick living in her head – with its claws in her scalp.

While daydreaming about finding the perfect job, I never expected to be rewarded in spades for my aforementioned experience.

We are all entrusted with the mission of protecting our fellow Jews

Today, we remain Hashem’s nachal.

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

It is apparent from the Maharsha that he does not see galus as atoning for killing accidentally; otherwise, this Gemara would not bother him.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

There are several rules that one must adhere to when making a neder.

We need to understand why Moshe Rabbeinu decided to ask that his sons inherit his position after this new halacha was introduced.

If it is not prohibited when there is a purpose for inflicting the tza’ar, why was Bilam chastised for tza’ar ba’alei chaim?

How can we be certain that any animal can be counted toward ma’asar beheimah when perhaps it is a treifah?

This separation between Kohanim, Levi’im and Yisraelim obligates us to honor kohanim.

The pasuk says that since the halacha concerning a Mechallel Shabbos was uncertain, the mekoshesh was placed in custody until the halacha was clarified.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/may-a-kohens-pregnant-wife-enter-a-cemetery/2014/05/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: