Who can marry a Cohen & Why isnt cremation allowed?

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Hi Rabbi

I was just wondering about the prohibitions of marrying a cohen. Who does this apply to? I heard that a convert or someone who has previously has had relationships men is then prohibited from marrying a cohen. Is this true? and if so and they marry anyway, are the children considered illegitimate according to Jewish law? Also, another question- Why does Judaism not allow cremation? If the emphasis is on spirituality and the physical is merely a vessel for the soul in this world then why is cremation a problem?

Thanks Rabbi!!!

TY for your Q.

A cohen is forbidden by Torah Law to marry a convert to Judaism (even where the conversion itself is valid beyond cavil—which, I should add, is often not the case). He is also forbidden to marry a divorcee. He is thirdly forbidden to marry a woman who has had sexual relations with certain categories of men, such as a non-Jew. However, if she has had sex, but with a Jewish partner, she is not (generally) forbidden to marry a cohen as a consequence. He is also forbidden to marry a product of a union forbidden by Torah law. 

If a cohen does marry a woman to whom he is forbidden, he is required to divorce her without delay. Nevertheless, the children of such a (forbidden) union are not mamzerim (illegitimate). However a son loses his status as a cohen, and daughter would be herself forbidden to marry a cohen.

Cremation: Judaism teaches respect for the vessel which contained the soul, a “spark of the Divine”. Moreover, cremation suggests a rejection of the belief in the resurrection at the end of days, and, by extension, the very concept of the immortally of the soul. These are fundamental philosophical principles which distinguish the human species from the animal world. Hence the traditional Jewish opposition to cremation.

I hope this is helpful. You can get in touch if you would like more info or to discuss further.

rabbi rashi simon

Kesher/The Learning Connection

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Dear Rabbi Simon,
I hope you fasted well yesterday.
Thank you for the insights into the Kinnot, making them easier to understand.
In the afternoon, I was listening to a shiur on Eichah on Torahanytime.  As an aside, the speaker mentioned that the 1st perek of Eichah is the source for the order of the alef bet as we know it.  Other chapters also follow the alef bet chronology but with ayin en peh interchanged.
He quoted Rabbi Shimon Schwab as his source.
Although he did not elaborate on this, surely Sefer Tehillim predates Megillat Eichah by centuries.  Several psalms are written in the alef bet order (e.g.
psalm 119).
Can you please clarify?
Thank you & best wishes.
PhilippeHi Philippe
TY for your sophisticated Q.
I have also heard that the question of the sequence of samekh and 'ayin is subject to dispute. It seems that there are indications that in Paleo-Hebrew the order is reversed from what we know. It is alleged that chapters 2, 3 and 4 of Eichah (chapter 5 is not alphabetical) reflect the original order. Of course, as you say, ch 1 conforms to the order with which we are family.
You are right that Tehillim predates Eichah, however a critic can claim that the order was redacted to bring it in line with the accepted/preferred sequence. This is particularly true for ch. 119, where each of the 8 vv per letter are their own group, and each set of 8 vv. can easily be repositioned. The question is in Ps. 34 or 145, if the internal logic of the passage sheds light on the correct sequence. In Ps. 34, some claim that the v. starting with the letter peh makes more sense to follow the verse starting with samekh (due to the common appearance of the word ra'). I am not convinced that this argument is compelling.
I will stick with the mesorah, that 'ayin belongs before peh. Best to look before speaking.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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