Kohen

June 20, 2006

[alt. "Cohen"] – [pl. "Kohanim" or "Cohanim"] – Priest; Judaism is not a classless society; rather, there are three “classes” within the structure of Jewish society: Kohen, Levi and Yisrael. The Kohen is a descendant of Aharon, the High Priest, the brother of Moshe. His task is to work in the Temple, be involved with the offering of sacrifices, and with Blessing the Congregation of Israel. The Priest holds the highest status in the People of Israel, thus he is called up to the Torah first, and has first rights in leading the “Zimun” before the Birchat HaMazon. Since he did not participate in the “Goral,” or Lottery, which divided the Land of Israel, he is the recipient of certain parts of some of the sacrifices, and of various “Matnot Kehunah,” “Obligatory Presents to the Priests,’ such as Terumah. The Kohanim are a subset of the Tribe of Levi. Thus, every Kohen is a Levi, but not every Levi is a Kohen.