Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Bigdei Kehunah, Priestly Vestments, For Purchase?

Bigdei Kehuna for sale, for when the Temple is rebuilt.
When the Temple is rebuilt, Kohanim must wear the proper outfit to perform their obligations, Glick continues.

Each set has a turban, tunic pants and belt and is individually tailored at a cost of NIS 2,500.
Let me preface that I know nothing about the halachos here, and they presumably have learned through the halachos in much greater detail than I have. I thought that the bigdei kehunah were kli shares when in use and possibly only have the status of bedek habayis beforehand. And the fact that the kohen gadol could add of his own money to buy better garments suggests that this was otherwise provided by Temple funds, rather than the kohen's own funds.

What is the status of such bigdei kehuna, being purchased for the very purpose of doing service is the Temple? Are there problems of meilah? I decided to investigate.

We see this question addressed in Kiddushin 54a *.

In this gemara in Kiddushin 54a, the question is about violating meilah beshogeg. Rabbi Meir maintains that one violates meilah upon worn out bigdei kehunah. But clothing which is not worn out, it is only mitchalel if one engages in meilah bemeizid, but not beshogeg.

Such is brought down lehalacha by the Rambam. (See here.)

טז [יד] כותנות כהונה שבלו--מועלין בהן, כשאר קודשים; והחדשים--הואיל וניתנו ליהנות בהן, אין מועלין בהן.

However, the gemara in Kiddushin actually discusses meilah beshogeg. What about bemeizid? Rambam seems to rule that there is no meilah at all in them. And this may be what they are relying upon. But the simple reading of the gemara, and Rashi, dibbur hamatchil בכתונות כהונה שלא בלו, is that this is only shogeg, that they need not take them off immediately, and can have slight hannaah from them during the service, because the Torah was not given to angels, malachei hashares. But what about not during the service, and when it is not a case of shogeg?

Perhaps one can say that this is a machlokes between Rambam on the one side, and Rashi on the other? Unless I am misunderstanding Rashi. I still don't understand how Rambam understands the gemara.

When people purchase these with intent to use them as bigdei kehunah, do these become hekdesh of bedek habayit, or of kli shares? See Tosafot, in the image, on the same daf, for the status before actually performing service in these. They are creating them lishmah. (See here at the Temple Institute.) What is their status? And what if a kohen decides to wear his bigdei kehunah as a Purim costume?

Is the Temple Institute delivering the bigdei kehunah to the kohanim, or are they perhaps taking the money to produce it and then holding on to the begadim until such time as mashiach arrives? But it seems they are giving them to them:
Following the fitting, each potential future priest was presented with a set of garments matching the biblical description.
Perhaps since they are purchased and owned independently, they do not yet belong to the Temple and so meilah would not apply to them.

I do not know these answers, but I get worried whenever I hear people starting to introduce things associated with hekdesh for public consumption.

Update: On reflection, the avnet presumably contains shatnez, as well. So the intent may well be to let it hang in people's closets until such time. This seems like a halachically dangerous thing to distribute.

Note: Nothing here was intended halacha lemaaseh.
* The gemara in Pesachim, and in Yoma daf 60, about a dispute between the Rabbanan and Rabbi Dosa is specifically about the begadim of the kohen gadol, and can be found on Yoma 24a:
והניחם שם מלמד שטעונין גניזה ר' דוסא אומר ראוין הן לכהן הדיוט ומה תלמוד לומר והניחם שם שלא ישתמש בהן יום הכפורים אחר
The fact that we see according to Rabbi Dosa it need not be nignaz does not mean that meilah never applies to bigdei kehunah.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin