Kohen

Synonyms:
Priest, ko-HAYN, כֹּהֵן
Kohen (Wikipedia)
For the Hawaiian religious practitioner, see Kahuna. For other uses, see Kohen (disambiguation).

Kohen or cohen (or kohain; Hebrew: כֹּהֵן, "priest", pl. כֹּהֲנִים kohanim) is the Hebrew word for priest used colloquially in reference to the Aaronic priesthood. Jewish kohanim are traditionally believed and halakhically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the biblical Aaron. The term is colloquially used in Orthodox Judaism in reference to modern day descendants of Aharon, brother of Moses.

During the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem, kohanim performed the daily and holiday (Yom Tov) duties of sacrificial offerings. Today, kohanim retain a lesser though distinct status within Rabbinic and Karaite Judaism, and are bound by additional restrictions according to Orthodox Judaism.

In the Samaritan community, the kohanim have remained the primary religious leaders. Ethiopian Jewish religious leaders are sometimes called kahen, a form of the same word, but the position is not hereditary and their duties are more like those of rabbis than kohanim in most Jewish communities.

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