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?
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