"Kohanim" in the Third Temple
Introduction to the Haftarah
Haftarah, the Navi teaches
some of the Laws that will apply to Kohanim,
in the time of the Mashiach
when, in the Tradition of our People, the Third Beit HaMikdash will stand,
never to fall again, in Yerushalayim.
"Divide and Conquer"
seventeen verses of the Haftarah can be divided into nine segments, as
descendants of Tzadok will be allowed to perform the Sacrificial Service
in the Third Temple, the "Beit HaMikdash" of the Mashiach.
concerning the "Bigdei Kehunah," the garments to be worn by the
Priests in the "Time of the Mashiach," are stated.
prohibition against a Kohen consuming alcohol when he enters the Innermost
Chamber, is stated.
defining which women the Kohanim will be allowed to marry, are stated.
description of the role of the Kohen as Teacher and Judge at the time of
the Third Temple, is provided.
concerning the burial of which relatives the Kohen may be involved with to
the extent of becoming contaminated by the dead body, thus acquiring the
status of "Tumah,"
Ritual Impurity, and the Procedure for regaining the status of "Taharah,"
Ritual Purity, are stated.
description of the Initiation Offering of the Kohen, is provided.
and property rights of the Kohen at the "Time of the Mashiach"
warning to the Kohen regarding the prohibition against eating 'Nevelah"
or "Terefah" - animals that die from natural causes or that are
torn, whether they be fowl or beast, is given by the Prophet Yechezkel.
Contradictions with Parshat Emor
Haftarah, we find a number of references that seem in conflict with the
Torah. These of course
require explanation. First,
Regarding the definition
of the Kohen - the Haftarah opens with HaShem, through Yechezkel,
directing its contents to the "Priests, the Levites, Sons of Tzadok." Parshat
Emor, which also consists basically of Torah commands that apply
particularly to Kohanim, opens with HaShem directing its contents, through
Moshe, to the "Kohanim, sons
of Aharon." Who was
In the Haftarah, Verse Yechezkel 44:17
implies that the Priestly Garments should be made only
of linen, and not include any wool.
Whereas, in the Torah, Shemot 28:1 permits "Techeilet," wool
dyed with the special blue dye known by that name, to be a component pf
the "ephod," the apron of the Kohen Gadol, thus allowing this
garment to be an exception to the
Biblical Prohibition of "Shaatnez," the combination of wool
Shemot 28:15 permits "Techeilet" in the "Choshen," the
breastplate of the Kohen Gadol, and Shemot 28:31 permits "Techeilet,"
and thereby "Shaatnez," in the "Me-il," the cloak, of
the Kohen Gadol!
happened to the exemption from the prohibition of "Shaatnez" for
the High Priest?
In the Haftarah, Verse 44:22 prohibits the "Kohen Hedyot," the Ordinary Kohen, from
marrying an "almanah," a widow, unless she is the widow of a
Kohen. The corresponding
verse in Parshat Emor, Vayikra 21:7, seems to prohibit only the divorcee,
and permits all widows as marriage partners for the "Kohen Hedyot,"
reserving that prohibition for the "Kohen Gadol" alone.
In the Haftarah, Verse 44:26 seems to require an
additional seven days of counting for a Kohen who had come into contact
with a corpse, after the first seven days of purification, while in the
Torah, no such additional period is
the Haftarah, Verse 44:27 commands that after a period of purification,
the Kohen must bring a "Chatat," a Sin-Offering. No such requirement is
found in the Torah!
Haftarah concludes (Verse 44:31) with a prohibition for the Kohanim that
seems to represent a radical departure from the Laws of Kashrut!
The Kohanim are cautioned not to eat from "nevelah" or
"terefah," animals that die of natural causes or that are torn,
that were not slaughtered
according to the laws of "Shechitah," Ritual Slaughter -
but that other Jews may eat from these!
- Tzaddok was the
Kohen Gadol, the High Priest, in the First Beit HaMikdash, the Temple
built by Shlomo. He and his
descendants were always righteous. They exemplified the attributes for which the Tribe
of Levi was selected as the personnel-pool of the Servants of Hashem
at the Temple.
a subset of the Tribe of Levi; that is, all Kohanim were Leviim, but not
all Leviim were Kohanim, and
the descendants of Tzaddok were a subset of the Kohanim, that subset that
best represented the attributes for which the Tribe of Levi had been
selected for spiritual leadership.
Haftarah is adding a spiritual disqualification to the list of physical
disqualifications mentioned in Parshat Emor, such as blindness or
lameness. It is providing an
answer to the question raised by King David in Tehilim (Psalm 24:3),
"Who is the one who can climb the mountain of the L-rd, and who will
stand in the place of His holiness?"
The answer corresponds to David's answer, "The one with clean
hands and a pure heart, who has not sworn in vain nor sworn falsely."
of Tzaddok, also descendants of Aharon, had proved themselves time
after time throughout Jewish History, as opposed to their fellow
descendants of Aharon, to be true and faithful servants of HaShem.
The following answers,
with the exception of specific answers mentioned in connection with 3,
are the answers of CHAZAL, in the Talmud.
- Haftarah Verse 44:17 actually refers to the Kohen Gadol
performing the "Avodat Yom HaKippurim" the once-yearly Service
performed on Yom Kippur in the Holy of Holies.
At that time, he too was prohibited from wearing "Shaatnez."
- Haftarah Verse 44:22 also refers only to the Kohen Gadol, who is
prohibited, as per the Torah Law, from marrying a widow.
answer is the answer of CHAZAL in the Talmud.
RADAK and MALBIM suggest a different approach. They foresee an upgrading in the holiness of the Kohanim in
the time of the Mashiach, such that the "Kohen Hedyot," the
"ordinary" Kohen will hardly be distinguishable from the "Kohen
Gadol," the High Priest. At
that time, the "Kohen Hedyot" will be bound by the same
prohibitions as the "Kohen Gadol."
- In Haftarah Verse 44:26, the expression "acharay taharato,"
means "after he has left the dead body," and not "after an
earlier period of purification."
- Haftarah Verse 44:27 introduces a new topic; namely, the "Minchat
Chinuch," the Initiation Sacrifice brought by the Kohen Gadol; it is
referred to as a "Chatat."
- Haftarah Verse 44:31 is not meant to imply that "nevelah"
and "terefah" will be permitted
to the garden-variety Jew; rather, it is only because the Kohen is
permitted to eat a bird that he has slaughtered by the method of "Melika,"
literally a "thumbnail Shechitah,"
this Verse came to caution him not to extend this permissibility to other
forms of "nevelah" and "terefah."
An Additional Implication
has been raised in our time, as the "footsteps of the Mashiach"
have been heard in many quarters, "will there continue to be animal
sacrifices in the Third Temple, as there were in the Mishkan and the First
and Second Temples?" This
question arises from a feeling that mankind has advanced beyond the need
for the so-called "primitive" act of sacrificing animals.
seems to provide its response to this question in verse 44:15, where it
describes the righteous Kohanim of the Third Temple "standing before
HaShem and approaching him with the fat and the blood of sacrifices."
impulse is not that primitive, but rather can be understood in terms of
the RAMBAN's explanation of
the Sin-Offering, where the human being feels that his own fat and blood
should be on the altar, if not for the mercy of a compassionate
G-d, Who accepts in his place the fat and blood of the animal.
In any case, hopefully we will have an answer to this question with the arrival of the Mashiach "soon and in our days.
Rabbi Pinchas Frankel
Rabbi Frankel is an Educational Coordinator at the OU