Sunday, July 01, 2007

WIFE OF A KOHEN - Yevamos 57 - Daf Yomi

Reb Elchonon Wasserman states a distinction between the wife of a Kohen eating terumah and the Kohen’s Canaanite slaves and slavewomen. Although their entitlement to eat terumah is derived from the same verse, “An acquisition of his money,” there is a basic distinction between the two of them.

A Canaanite slave and slavewomen do not have any elevated status by the fact that they now belong to the Kohen. The Kohen is permitted to feed his animals terumah, and so too, he can feed his slaves terumah. This is why there is no halacha regarding a slavewoman of a Kohen committing adultery and thereby disqualifying herself from eating terumah. She does not have an inherent right to eat terumah; the Kohen can feed her terumah if he so desires.

The wife of a Kohen is different. By virtue of the fact that she is married to a Kohen, she assumes an elevated status. She has a privilege of eating terumah; it is not necessary for the husband to feed her terumah. She possesses a higher degree of sanctity, but she can lose that as well. If she becomes a zonah or chalalah, she becomes disqualified, and cannot eat terumah any longer.