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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Negative Mitzvah 166

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Negative Mitzvah 166: The Priests may not come into contact with a dead body except for his immediate family
Leviticus 21:1. "He shall not become impure for the dead among his people"

The priests must always be careful to try to remain in a state of purity - Tahara.

There are times when coming in contact with impurity - Tumah is almost impossible.

Since a dead body is considered Tamei - impure, any person coming in contact with it, even if not directly, (for example being under the same roof or in a cemetery), also becomes impure.

But what if a priest has to attend a funeral, G-d forbid? Can he avoid becoming impure?

The Torah allows the priest to become impure only if it involves one of his six closest relations.

These include: Mother, Father, Son, Daughter, Sister (who has not yet married), Brother.

The Rabbis also allow him to become impure for his wife.

He may attend their funerals (See Positive Mitzvah 37).

Additionally, he may bury a Jew if there is no one else to do so.

However, a priest is forbidden to become impure by contact with any other dead body.

When the Rebbe accepted the leadership of Lubavitch, after a year of constant pressure and pleading from the chassidim, he announced: Don't think you're going to hold on to my prayer shawl for a free ride. I will provide whatever I can. But each one must do his own job himself.


The present state of the world is called gola. The state of the world as it will soon be is called geula. The two words are exactly the same, except that "geula" has the letter alef inserted in the middle. "Alef" means "master". It also means "one". To make gola into geula, we only need reveal the alef -- the One Master of the Universe who is hidden within the artifacts of our present world.

From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman -

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