1 678

Eating before sefira
The Rama forbids eating more than a kbeiah (egg-size) of bread before counting the omer. The Mishnah Berurah writes that this rule is similar to the rules governing what can/can't be done before ma'ariv.  Certain other activities, like bathing and haircutting, are likewise forbidden (see Shulchan Aruch 232, 235). And, in another similarity to the prohibitions before ma'ariv,these prohibitions go into effect a half hour before the proper time to count. According to Rav Nisan Karelitz, a person who appoints a shomer-someone who will remind him to count-is permitted to eat and perform the otherwise forbidden activities during this time.
( סעיף ד וס"ק כג; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 60 ו-62 )

 Hilchos Tefilla 128 (page 16)
 מסעיף לו עד סעיף לח

A Kohein Who Became an Apostate
A Kohein Who Desecrates Shabbos
A Kohein Who Kills Someone

A kohein who became an apostate
A kohein who defected to another religion (whether intentionally or accidentally), even temporarily, may not perform birkas kohanim. He is excluded from reciting the beracha even if the other religion is not true idol worship (e.g. Islam). He may recite the beracha if he left because he was coerced, unless he physically worshipped an idol. Some poskim, including the Rama, permit a kohein who was forced to physically serve an idol to recite the beracha after he repents.
( סעיף לז, ס"ק קלד ו־קלו, וביה"ל ד"ה ואם)

A kohein who desecrates Shabbos
A kohein who publically violates Shabbos (i.e. in front of ten Jews or in a manner that ten Jews will find out about it) is excluded from reciting the beracha. The kohein should not be prevented from reciting the beracha if he or his children will forget that they are kohanim. If he will recite the beracha together with other kohanim there are more grounds to be lenient. A kohein who desecrates Shabbos in order to earn a livelihood (not as an act of rebellion against Hashem) can be permitted to recite the beracha under certain conditions.
( ס"ק קלד; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 140-142)
A kohein who kills someone
A kohein who killed a person cannot recite birkas kohanim. He should not be prevented from reciting the beracha if the information is based on a rumor and not witnesses. (Of course, if the kohein knows-and according to some poskim, even suspects-that he killed someone, he should not recite the beracha.)  A kohein is not considered a murderer if a child that he circumcised dies of his wound, because, among other reasons, the kohein was performing a mitzva.
( סעיף לו וס"ק קלב-קלג; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 138)

  • A kohein who cannot enunciate the words of birkas kohanim properly cannot recite the beracha. Such a kohein may recite the beracha if many among the local population mispronounce certain words or letters, because in that case his pronunciation will not distract them.
  • An underage kohein cannot recite the blessing alone. He may join other kohanim when he reaches the age that he is able to raise his hands and spread his fingers in line with the custom.
  • A kohein who killed a person is barred from ever reciting the blessing. He is disqualified regardless of whether the death was intentional or accidental, and -- according to some poskim - he is disqualified even after he does teshuva. According to other poskim including the Rama, he can be reinstated by doing teshuva. A third opinion holds that teshuva helps only in the case of an accidental death.


  • A kohein who is a rasha

  • A kohein who is married to a forbidden woman

  • A kohein who is intoxicated



PLEASE NOTE:  The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.