Leviticus 21
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1  Hashem said to Moshe: Speak to the Kohanim, the sons of Aharon, and say to them: None shall defile himself for any [dead] person among his kin,

va-YO-mer a-do-NAI el mo-SHEH e-MOR el ha-ko-ha-NEEM b’-NAY a-ha-RON v’-a-mar-TA a-lay-HEM l’-NE-fesh lo yi-ta-MA b’-a-MAV

א  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה אֱמֹר אֶל־הַכֹּהֲנִים בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם לְנֶפֶשׁ לֹא־יִטַּמָּא בְּעַמָּיו׃

 21:1   None shall defile himself for any [dead] person among his kin

While the entire Nation of Israel is commanded to maintain a certain level of holiness, the Kohanim were held to an even higher standard. For example, a priest may not become ritually impure through contact with a dead body. Therefore, he may not participate in the burial of anyone other than his immediate relatives. However, Rashi teaches that there is an exception to this rule. If there is no one else to bury the person, then even the Kohen Gadol is obligated to perform the burial, even if the deceased is not “among his kin.” This is particularly striking, since under normal circumstances, unlike ordinary Kohanim, the Kohen Gadol may not participate in the burial of even his closest relatives. In this way, the Bible teaches that an elevated status must not make one oblivious to the needs of people. On the contrary, it is the obligation of those with heightened responsibility to see to it that everyone is taken care of, even at the expense of their own personal state of holiness.2 comments

2  except for the relatives that are closest to him: his mother, his father, his son, his daughter, and his brother;

ב  כִּי אִם־לִשְׁאֵרוֹ הַקָּרֹב אֵלָיו לְאִמּוֹ וּלְאָבִיו וְלִבְנוֹ וּלְבִתּוֹ וּלְאָחִיו׃

3  also for a virgin sister, close to him because she has not married, for her he may defile himself.

ג  וְלַאֲחֹתוֹ הַבְּתוּלָה הַקְּרוֹבָה אֵלָיו אֲשֶׁר לֹא־הָיְתָה לְאִישׁ לָהּ יִטַּמָּא׃

4  But he shall not defile himself as a kinsman by marriage, and so profane himself.

ד  לֹא יִטַּמָּא בַּעַל בְּעַמָּיו לְהֵחַלּוֹ׃

5  They shall not shave smooth any part of their heads, or cut the side-growth of their beards, or make gashes in their flesh.

ה  לֹא־יקרחה [יִקְרְחוּ] קָרְחָה בְּרֹאשָׁם וּפְאַת זְקָנָם לֹא יְגַלֵּחוּ וּבִבְשָׂרָם לֹא יִשְׂרְטוּ שָׂרָטֶת׃

6  They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God; for they offer Hashem‘s offerings by fire, the food of their God, and so must be holy.

ו  קְדֹשִׁים יִהְיוּ לֵאלֹהֵיהֶם וְלֹא יְחַלְּלוּ שֵׁם אֱלֹהֵיהֶם כִּי אֶת־אִשֵּׁי יְהֹוָה לֶחֶם אֱלֹהֵיהֶם הֵם מַקְרִיבִם וְהָיוּ קֹדֶשׁ׃

7  They shall not marry a woman defiled by harlotry, nor shall they marry one divorced from her husband. For they are holy to their God

ז  אִשָּׁה זֹנָה וַחֲלָלָה לֹא יִקָּחוּ וְאִשָּׁה גְּרוּשָׁה מֵאִישָׁהּ לֹא יִקָּחוּ כִּי־קָדֹשׁ הוּא לֵאלֹהָיו׃

8  and you must treat them as holy, since they offer the food of your God; they shall be holy to you, for I Hashem who sanctify you am holy.

ח  וְקִדַּשְׁתּוֹ כִּי־אֶת־לֶחֶם אֱלֹהֶיךָ הוּא מַקְרִיב קָדֹשׁ יִהְיֶה־לָּךְ כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אֲנִי יְהֹוָה מְקַדִּשְׁכֶם׃

9  When the daughter of a Kohen defiles herself through harlotry, it is her father whom she defiles; she shall be put to the fire.

ט  וּבַת אִישׁ כֹּהֵן כִּי תֵחֵל לִזְנוֹת אֶת־אָבִיהָ הִיא מְחַלֶּלֶת בָּאֵשׁ תִּשָּׂרֵף׃

10  The Kohen who is exalted above his fellows, on whose head the anointing oil has been poured and who has been ordained to wear the vestments, shall not bare his head or rend his vestments.

י  וְהַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל מֵאֶחָיו אֲ‍שֶׁר־יוּצַק עַל־רֹאשׁוֹ שֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה וּמִלֵּא אֶת־יָדוֹ לִלְבֹּשׁ אֶת־הַבְּגָדִים אֶת־רֹאשׁוֹ לֹא יִפְרָע וּבְגָדָיו לֹא יִפְרֹם׃

11  He shall not go in where there is any dead body; he shall not defile himself even for his father or mother.

יא  וְעַל כָּל־נַפְשֹׁת מֵת לֹא יָבֹא לְאָבִיו וּלְאִמּוֹ לֹא יִטַּמָּא׃

12  He shall not go outside the sanctuary and profane the sanctuary of his God, for upon him is the distinction of the anointing oil of his God, Mine Hashem‘s.

יב  וּמִן־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ לֹא יֵצֵא וְלֹא יְחַלֵּל אֵת מִקְדַּשׁ אֱלֹהָיו כִּי נֵזֶר שֶׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת אֱלֹהָיו עָלָיו אֲנִי יְהֹוָה׃

13  He may marry only a woman who is a virgin.

יג  וְהוּא אִשָּׁה בִבְתוּלֶיהָ יִקָּח׃

14  A widow, or a divorced woman, or one who is degraded by harlotry—such he may not marry. Only a virgin of his own kin may he take to wife—

יד  אַלְמָנָה וּגְרוּשָׁה וַחֲלָלָה זֹנָה אֶת־אֵלֶּה לֹא יִקָּח כִּי אִם־בְּתוּלָה מֵעַמָּיו יִקַּח אִשָּׁה׃

15  that he may not profane his offspring among his kin, for I Hashem have sanctified him.

טו  וְלֹא־יְחַלֵּל זַרְעוֹ בְּעַמָּיו כִּי אֲנִי יְהֹוָה מְקַדְּשׁוֹ׃

16  Hashem spoke further to Moshe:

טז  וַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃

17  Speak to Aharon and say: No man of your offspring throughout the ages who has a defect shall be qualified to offer the food of his God.

יז  דַּבֵּר אֶל־אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר אִישׁ מִזַּרְעֲךָ לְדֹרֹתָם אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בוֹ מוּם לֹא יִקְרַב לְהַקְרִיב לֶחֶם אֱלֹהָיו׃

18  No one at all who has a defect shall be qualified: no man who is blind, or lame, or has a limb too short or too long;

יח  כִּי כָל־אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־בּוֹ מוּם לֹא יִקְרָב אִישׁ עִוֵּר אוֹ פִסֵּחַ אוֹ חָרֻם אוֹ שָׂרוּעַ׃

19  no man who has a broken leg or a broken arm;

יט  אוֹ אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִהְיֶה בוֹ שֶׁבֶר רָגֶל אוֹ שֶׁבֶר יָד׃

20  or who is a hunchback, or a dwarf, or who has a growth in his eye, or who has a boil-scar, or scurvy, or crushed testes.

כ  אוֹ־גִבֵּן אוֹ־דַק אוֹ תְּבַלֻּל בְּעֵינוֹ אוֹ גָרָב אוֹ יַלֶּפֶת אוֹ מְרוֹחַ אָשֶׁךְ׃

21  No man among the offspring of Aharon the Kohen who has a defect shall be qualified to offer Hashem‘s offering by fire; having a defect, he shall not be qualified to offer the food of his God.

כא  כָּל־אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־בּוֹ מוּם מִזֶּרַע אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן לֹא יִגַּשׁ לְהַקְרִיב אֶת־אִשֵּׁי יְהֹוָה מוּם בּוֹ אֵת לֶחֶם אֱלֹהָיו לֹא יִגַּשׁ לְהַקְרִיב׃

22  He may eat of the food of his God, of the most holy as well as of the holy;

כב  לֶחֶם אֱלֹהָיו מִקָּדְשֵׁי הַקֳּדָשִׁים וּמִן־הַקֳּדָשִׁים יֹאכֵל׃

23  but he shall not enter behind the curtain or come near the mizbayach, for he has a defect. He shall not profane these places sacred to Me, for I Hashem have sanctified them.

כג  אַךְ אֶל־הַפָּרֹכֶת לֹא יָבֹא וְאֶל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ לֹא יִגַּשׁ כִּי־מוּם בּוֹ וְלֹא יְחַלֵּל אֶת־מִקְדָּשַׁי כִּי אֲנִי יְהֹוָה מְקַדְּשָׁם׃

24  Thus Moshe spoke to Aharon and his sons and to all the Israelites.

כד  וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה אֶל־אַהֲרֹן וְאֶל־בָּנָיו וְאֶל־כָּל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

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Leviticus 20
Leviticus 22

Comments ( 6 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • Beginning in 21: 16 to the end of the chapter, there is a long list of things that disqualify a priest from approaching the altar of Elohim. It appears that YHVH requires the priests to be as pure and perfect ("without blemish") as the animals or other elements brought for sacrifice before Him. They would be allowed to eat the bread, but not approach the altar so as to defile it.
    There is a parallel teaching in this that applies to us. Just as a blemished priest cannot approach the altar of Elohim, we cannot approach Elohim in our sinful nature. We must be transformed and made pure by Elohim. It's like Noah who "found grace in the eyes of the Lord". It's like Avraham who "believed Elohim, and it was counted for him as righteousness". It's like Moshe who gave us the first commandment of the Ten, "I am the Elohim that brought you out of the land of Mitzryim (believe in Me)".
    Keeping the Torah is great, and garners us the blessings of YHVH. However, it DOES NOT give us Salvation. Since Adam, all men have been "snake bit" by sin. Just as Moshe lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, we must look to the Messiah and His sacrifice to receive Salvation, and be granted the right to appear before Elohim. It is curious to note, the word Salvation appears multiples of times in Torah, and the whole of Tahakh. It's meaning? YESHUA!

  • For any leader, standards are always higher. Before I retired, I was a Captain for a security company and in authority over my own security crew. Of a certainty, I was held to a much higher standard than that of my crew. Religious leaders are no different. In this case, the priests are those leaders and examples to those under their leadership.
    It is written in Scripture that "judgment begins with the house of the Lord". If one doesn't understand this principle, then read the accounts of Isaiah in chapter 56 or Ezekiel 34, just to name a couple. Sins of presumption, haughtiness, and a general lack of concern for those under their care brought their demise.

  • In regards to 21: 6 quoted in my last comment, I note the word, "therefore". I once heard a former teacher say, "when the word, 'therefore', appears in the text, it would be wise to find out what it's "there for". This humorous little axiom comes to play in this verse.
    The verse starts out, "They shall be holy unto their God…" It ends with, " therefore they shall be holy." Everything in between these two phrases precedes the "therefore", and identifies the instruments of holiness, which are, "profane the name of their God, offerings of the LORD made by fire, and the bread of their God".
    Three things mentioned in this verse are holy in and of themselves. There is nothing to be done to make them any holier than they already are. It's like the commandment, "remember the Sabbath to keep it holy". It's already holy, just don't do anything to profane it. The "Aleph/Tav" symbol is placed so as to link all three together. "Therefore they (priests) shall be holy".

    • I don't agree with the previous things. "Therefore" is NOT referring to previous THREE things but only to THE ONE for WHOM the sacrifices are made. "To profane the Name of their G-d. "Profaning" is certainly not a holy matter. It all about the Eternal One. "Offerings" are being made to The Eternal One". What are these offerings the "bread of" The Eternal One.

  • "They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy."
    As I read this verse, I thought about Nadab and Abihu. The key words that stoked my interest was, "offerings of the Lord made by fire". The words, "for the" do not actually appear in the Hebrew text. In their place is the "Aleph/Tav" symbol. This placement clearly puts a Divine seal on the offerings.
    When we go before Adonai, we go before our King. Even by human standards, one would approach in an honorable and respectful manor. How much higher a standard is required of us in approaching the Elohim of Yisra'el? A cavalier approach would be the utmost of disrespect, and VERY unholy.

    • I thought that preceding the place of "at" there is the word "ki" which can certainly be the reason giving "for". So for IS Scriptural translated.

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Leviticus 21

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