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Orthodox Judaism/cohen marrying convert

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Question
Dear Rav,

I am writing to you because I honestly donít know what to do.  I feel lost and hopeless.

A couple years ago I converted to Orthodox Judaism. I did this for myself and no other reason. During this time I didnít date anyone as I thought it would just complicate things. I felt a strong pull towards it and guided by Hashem, made it through the process with a big happy feeling in my heart and a smile on my face.

Thatís just a small bit of background information.

Since then, the worst and yet most awesome thing happened to me.

I formed the strongest bond with a man who seems so perfect for me. We think in similar ways, we want the same Jewish home / family, we have the same values and beliefs, we constantly challenge each other and promote growth in various aspects of our lives (whether spiritually, emotionally, professionally etc.), and most importantly, we love each other so much. We would get married in a heartbeat without a doubt if it were possible.

I am sure you can see where the problem lies. He is a Kohen.

We are both really struggling with this as we both agree that there is absolutely no way that we can walk away and let go of our feelings and deep connection. It just feels impossible. The thought alone makes both of us want to die.

We have researched and queried and tried almost everything so that we can have a proper Orthodox chuppah ceremony. But I am really feeling hopeless and I feel that each of us are being pushed further and further away from the religion that we both once felt so passionate about.

Please help. Do you have any advice or suggestions or solutions?

Do we just go on secretly dating forever? :(

I know itís a really tough question and I know what the halacha is. But I am desperately hoping that there is something I have missed.

Look forward to your reply.

Answer

Shalom!

I totally feel for you and understand what you are going through.

There are a number of marriages that are forbidden in the Torah, and a kohen to a convert is indeed one of them.

I am sure you are well aware that the Torah forbids a Jew to marry a Gentile, and that you would never consider doing so. If so, why should the prohibition on a convert marrying a kohen be any different? Both are equally as bad. If you wouldn't consider transgressing one, why would you consider transgressing the other?

I am well aware of the bonds of love and attraction.

Sadly, you are in a very serious 'nisayon', test, and I hope your commitment to the Torah and halacha will prevail.

That being said, perhaps your friend is not truly a kohen. If he is from a non observant family, I would have a rabbi do some 'halachic research' for you to establish if his 'kohenhood' is indeed legitimate (or not).

Wishing you bracha v'hatzlacha and shana tova

Rabbi Ari Enkin

Orthodox Judaism

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Rabbi Ari Enkin

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Rabbi Ari N. Enkin originally from Montreal fulfilled his life-long dream of making aliyah in July 2004 after serving for seven years as a congregational and community rabbi in Montreal, Edmonton, and Winnipeg. Rabbi Enkin holds both Yoreh-Yoreh and Yadin-Yadin semichas as well as a Masters Degree specializing in Informal Adult Education. He is the author of several seforim including most recently "Dalet Amot - Halachic Perspectives" which discusses over 100 contemporary halachic issues. The first printing quickly sold out and a second revised edition is underway (Gefen Publishing House), as is a second volume in this series. Rabbi Enkin is also a frequent contributor to a number of publications on mostly Halachic topics. Since making Aliyah Rabbi Enkin has taught at a number of Yeshivot and Seminaries and is currently working as the manager of Cheerfully Changed Financial Services in Modiin. He also serves as the General Editor of the highly acclaimed Hirhurim Website as well as rabbinical advisor to Judaism.about.com. His lectures are known to be fun, informal, and enlightening appropriate form both laymen and scholars alike.

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