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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Negative Mitzvot 161, 162;
Positive Mitzvah 38;
Negative Mitzvot 160, 158, 159


  Day 92Day 94  

Introduction to Mitzvot 158-162:

The Special Laws which apply to the Marriage of a Priest.

HaShem declared that the Priests have unique and special laws because of their task of representing the Jewish people through service in the Beit HaMikdash.

The Torah instructs us how they must carry out their service, and how they must conduct their family lives. They are given specific Mitzvot instructing them whom they are permitted or forbidden to marry.


Negative Mitzvah 161: The High Priest is forbidden to marry a widow
Leviticus 21:14. "A widow...these shall he not marry"

The Torah charges the High Priest - Kohen Gadol - with many special responsibilities which only he can fulfill.

Therefore, he is also given special Mitzvot that apply only to him. He even wears special clothing in addition to those clothes worn by the regular priests.

This Negative Mitzvah adds a prohibition specifically for the High Priest. It tells us that he may not marry a widow - a woman whose husband has passed away.


Negative Mitzvah 162: A High Priest is forbidden to live with a widow even if he does not marry her with the required ceremony
Leviticus 21:15 "Neither shall he profane his seed among his people"

When a Jewish person wants to get married, a special wedding ceremony must be held. Afterwards, the couple is considered man and wife.

The previous Negative Mitzvah (161) cautions a High Priest not to choose a widow as his wife and then marry her.

This Negative Mitzvah warns the High Priest not to live with a widow even without the marriage ceremony.


Positive Mitzvah 38: Marriage of a High Priest
Leviticus 21:13 "He must marry a maiden"

The High Priest position was very special.

He was the only one ever allowed to enter the Holy of Holies.

Therefore, the Torah established special guidelines for everything he does.

Regarding his marriage, the Torah commands that his bride may not have been previously married.


Negative Mitzvah 160: A Priest is forbidden to marry a divorced woman
Leviticus 21:7 "Neither shall they take a woman divorced by her husband"

A priest is not permitted to marry a woman who has been previously divorced.


Negative Mitzvah 158: A Priest may not marry an immoral woman
Leviticus 21:7 "They shall not take a wife that is immoral or profaned"

The Torah tells us that both men and women must act in a modest and moral manner.

This Negative Mitzvah forbids the priest from marrying a woman who does not behave in a modest manner. Such a woman is not suitable to be the wife of someone who serves in the Beit HaMikdash.


Negative Mitzvah 159: A Priest is forbidden to marry a "Chalalah"
Leviticus 21:7. "They shall not take a wife that is immoral or profaned"

When a priest shows weakness of character and marries a woman whom the Torah commands him not to, that woman and her children are called "Chalalim." A priest is not permitted to marry a woman who is a Chalalah.


Take G-d as a partner in your business. Offer Him 10% of all net profits and He won't refuse.

From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman - tzvif@aol.com


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