Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:
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.3 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׃
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׃