LEVITES IN THE HALAKHAH

LEVITES IN THE HALAKHAH
The levite has no privileges, neither through personal or family status nor any special sanctity, and it was ruled that "the levite is equivalent to the Israelite" in all things, including ritual defilement through contact with a corpse, which is forbidden to a Kohen only (TJ., Naz. 7:1). Nevertheless, as long as the Second Temple was standing, the levites played an important part in its services as assistants to the priests, as gatekeepers and choristers, and in various ancillary duties (see temple , Levites). With the destruction of the Temple, however, and the consequent abolition of the sacrificial system, their importance and role diminished, and with one exception the special position of the levite is due to historical associations alone, from which certain halakhot of secondary importance are derived. That exception was the right of the levites to biblical tithes. Already during Temple times there was a dispute whether the tithes should be given to the levites or to the priests, and since the separation of tithes continued after the destruction of the Temple, this difference of opinion persisted (for a full discussion, see terumot and Ma'aserot). Although such laws as those of the levitical cities and the dwelling house in walled cities and the other similar laws applying to the levites mentioned in Lev. 25:29–34 are discussed in detail in the halakhah (Ar. 9:5–8 and TB 32a–34a), the discussions were purely theoretical and had no practical application. At present the only halakhot which apply specifically to the levite are the following: (1) The levite is called to the reading of the second portion of the Torah portion, but only when there is a Kohen present who is called to the reading of the first portion. When there is no Kohen present, he is not necessarily called up first (Git. 5:8). (2) Apart from this the levite can be called up only to the reading of the last portion of the sidrah on the Sabbath, after the statutory seven have already been called; or for maftir on Sabbaths and festivals. (3) The levite is exempt from Pidyon ha-Ben (the Redemption of the first-born , Bek. 2:1) and the exemption applies whether the father or the mother is a levite (ibid. TB 4a). (4) The levite washes the hands of the Kohen before he ascends to pronounce the priestly blessing . This is a comparatively late custom, first mentioned in the Zohar (Portion Naso, 146 a, b). (Louis Isaac Rabinowitz)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Игры ⚽ Нужно решить контрольную?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • FROM THE DESTRUCTION TO ALEXANDER — the restoration ezra nehemiah The Restoration The destruction of the Temple constituted a double crisis. Not only were the people cast off the land but the Divine Presence departed from Jerusalem (Ezek. 10:19; 11:23). Once the city was bereft of… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • TEMPLE — The article is arranged according to the following outline: first temple history structure the ground plan of the temple the detailed plan of the temple general description the porch THE MAIN ROOM (HEKHAL) OR HOLY PLACE …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • RIGHTS, HUMAN — The following article deals with the subject of human rights, their essence and the contents of various fundamental rights as reflected in the sources of Jewish Law. The interpretation of Israel s Basic Laws concerning human rights in accordance… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • BIBLE — THE CANON, TEXT, AND EDITIONS canon general titles the canon the significance of the canon the process of canonization contents and titles of the books the tripartite canon …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • JERUSALEM — The entry is arranged according to the following outline: history name protohistory the bronze age david and first temple period second temple period the roman period byzantine jerusalem arab period crusader period mamluk period …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • TERUMOT AND MA'ASEROT — (Heb. תְּרוּמוֹת, heave offerings, and מַעַשְׂרוֹת, tithes ), dues given to the priests and the poor. A number of passages in the Bible deal with ma aser and according to the halakhah they refer to different categories: the first tithe is given… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • TAXATION — This article is arranged according to the following outline: historical aspects legal aspects the biblical period the talmudic period the post talmudic period in general yardsticks of tax assessment taxable property Place of Residence, Business,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • AUTHORITY, RABBINICAL — AUTHORITY, RABBINICAL, the authority of the halakhic scholars in maintaining the creativeness and development of Jewish law, by means of its legal sources. Development of the Law An important tenet of Judaism and a guiding principle of the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • PENTATEUCH — This article is arranged according to the following outline: introduction definition outline contents and structure the primeval history the patriarchs the exodus Sinai/Horeb Covenant and Laws the journey Moses Farewell the authors doublets and… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • PRIESTS AND PRIESTHOOD — Definition of Priesthood The priests are the principal functionaries in divine services, their special task being to engage in cultic ceremonies which they conducted mainly in the Temple. In general the priests post is authorized by hereditary… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”