[The status of] all of the priests of the present era1 is accepted on the basis of a prevailing assumption.2 They may only eat sacred food that is eaten [within] the boundaries [of Eretz Yisrael],3 provided it is terumah mandated by virtue of Rabbinic decree [alone].4 [Even] terumah mandated by Scriptural Law and challah mandated by Scriptural Law, by contrast, may be eaten only by a priest whose lineage is established.


כָּל כֹּהֲנִים בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה בַּחֲזָקָה הֵם כֹּהֲנִים וְאֵין אוֹכְלִין אֶלָּא בְּקָדְשֵׁי הַגְּבוּל. וְהוּא שֶׁתִּהְיֶה תְּרוּמָה שֶׁל דִּבְרֵיהֶם. אֲבָל תְּרוּמָה שֶׁל תּוֹרָה וְחַלָּה שֶׁל תּוֹרָה אֵין אוֹכֵל אוֹתָהּ אֶלָּא כֹּהֵן מְיֻחָס:


What is meant by a priest whose lineage is established? Anyone concerning whom two witnesses5 testify that he is a priest, the son of so-and-so the priest, and the descendant of so-and-so the priest, extending back until we reach a person whose lineage need not be checked, i.e., a priest who served at the altar. [Such a person's lineage need not be verified, because] were the High Court not to have made investigations about him, they would not have allowed him to perform service [in the Temple].6

Accordingly, we do not investigate the lineage of anyone who served at the altar or who served on the Sanhedrin. For only priests, Levites, and Israelites of acceptable lineage are appointed to the Sanhedrin.7


אֵי זֶהוּ כֹּהֵן מְיֻחָס כָּל שֶׁהֵעִידוּ לוֹ שְׁנֵי עֵדִים שֶׁהוּא כֹּהֵן בֶּן פְּלוֹנִי הַכֹּהֵן וּפְלוֹנִי בֶּן פְּלוֹנִי הַכֹּהֵן עַד אִישׁ שֶׁאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ בְּדִיקָה וְהוּא הַכֹּהֵן שֶׁשִּׁמֵּשׁ עַל גַּבֵּי הַמִּזְבֵּחַ. שֶׁאִלּוּ לֹא בָּדְקוּ בֵּית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל אַחֲרָיו לֹא הָיוּ מְנִיחִין אוֹתוֹ לַעֲבֹד. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין בּוֹדְקִין מֵהַמִּזְבֵּחַ וָמַעְלָה וְלֹא מִן הַסַּנְהֶדְרִין וָמַעְלָה. שֶׁאֵין מְמַנִּין בַּסַּנְהֶדְרִין אֶלָּא כֹּהֲנִים לְוִיִּים וְיִשְׂרְאֵלִים מְיֻחָסִין:


In the present era, even in Eretz Yisrael,8 challah does not have the status of a Scriptural commandment. [This is derived from Numbers 15:18:] "When you come into the land...."9 [Implied is when] all of you enter and not when only a portion enter.10 When Ezra ascended [to Eretz Yisrael], the entire people did not ascend.

Similarly, in the present era, terumah is a Rabbinic commandment.11 Therefore it is eaten by the priests of our era [whose lineage is established merely] by presumption.


חַלָּה בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵינָהּ שֶׁל תּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר טו יח) "בְּבֹאֲכֶם אֶל הָאָרֶץ" בִּיאַת כֻּלְּכֶם וְלֹא בִּיאַת מִקְצַתְכֶם. וּכְשֶׁעָלוּ בִּימֵי עֶזְרָא לֹא עָלוּ כֻּלָּם. וְכֵן תְּרוּמָה בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה שֶׁל דִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים וּלְפִיכָךְ אוֹכְלִים אוֹתָהּ הַכֹּהֲנִים שֶׁבִּזְמַנֵּינוּ שֶׁהֵן בַּחֲזָקָה:


When two witnesses testify that they saw a person partaking of terumah mandated by Scriptural Law, his lineage is established. We do not elevate a person [to the level that his priestly] lineage is [considered as] established based on the fact that he delivers the Priestly Blessing [to the people], reads the Torah first,12 or is given terumah in the granaries,13 or because of the testimony of one witness.


מִי שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עָלָיו [שְׁנֵי] עֵדִים שֶׁרָאוּהוּ שֶׁהָיָה אוֹכֵל בִּתְרוּמָה שֶׁל תּוֹרָה הֲרֵי זֶה מְיֻחָס. וְאֵין מַעֲלִין לְיוּחֲסִין לֹא מִנְּשִׂיאַת כַּפַּיִם וְלֹא מִקְּרִיאָה בַּתּוֹרָה רִאשׁוֹן וְלֹא מֵחִלּוּק תְּרוּמָה בְּבֵית הַגְּרָנוֹת וְלֹא עַל פִּי עֵד אֶחָד:


When a priest whose lineage was established says: "This son of mine is a priest," we do not consider [the son as a priest whose] lineage is established14 on the basis of his statement unless he brings witnesses who testify that the child is his son.15


כֹּהֵן מְיֻחָס שֶׁאָמַר בְּנִי זֶה כֹּהֵן הוּא אֵין מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ לְיוּחֲסִין עַל פִּיו עַד שֶׁיָּבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁהוּא בְּנוֹ:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


[The following laws apply when] a priest whose lineage has been established departs to another country together with his wife whom we know to be of acceptable lineage. If he comes together with her and children who relate to them as parents and says: "This is the woman who departed together with me and these are her children," he does not have to bring witnesses to testify about the woman or the children.

[If he says:] "She died and these are her children," he must bring witnesses who testify that these are his children.16 He need not bring witnesses that his wife was of acceptable lineage, for her status as being acceptable was already established when she departed from us.


כֹּהֵן מְיֻחָס שֶׁיָּצָא הוּא וְאִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁיָּדַעְנוּ שֶׁהִיא כְּשֵׁרָה לִמְדִינָה אַחֶרֶת וּבָא הוּא וְהִיא וּבָנִים כְּרוּכִין אַחֲרֵיהֶן וְאָמַר אִשָּׁה שֶׁיָּצָאת עִמִּי הִיא זוֹ וְאֵלּוּ בָּנֶיהָ אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא עֵדִים לֹא עַל הָאִשָּׁה וְלֹא עַל הַבָּנִים. מֵתָה וְאֵלּוּ בָּנֶיהָ צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁאֵלּוּ בָּנָיו. וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא עֵדִים עַל אִמָּן שֶׁהִיא כְּשֵׁרָה. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁכְּבָר הֻחְזַק שֶׁיָּצְאָה מֵעִמָּנוּ כְּאִשָּׁה כְּשֵׁרָה:


When a priest whose lineage was established goes out to another country and comes together with his wife and his sons, saying: "I married this woman and these are her sons," he must bring proof that the woman is acceptable. He does not have to bring witnesses that these are her sons, provided the children relate to her as a mother.

If he comes together with two wives and brings proof regarding one, he is required to bring proof about the sons, even though the children are young and relate to her as a mother. For perhaps they are the sons of the other women, but relate to the woman whose lineage is established as a mother.


יָצָא כֹּהֵן מְיֻחָס לִמְדִינָה אַחֶרֶת וּבָא הוּא וְאִשְׁתּוֹ וּבָנָיו וְאָמַר אִשָּׁה זוֹ נָשָׂאתִי וְאֵלּוּ בָּנֶיהָ צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁאִשָּׁה זוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה. וְאֵינוֹ מֵבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁאֵלּוּ בָּנֶיהָ. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיוּ כְּרוּכִין אַחֲרֶיהָ. וְאִם בָּא בִּשְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים וְהֵבִיא רְאָיָה עַל הָאַחַת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַבָּנִים קְטַנִּים וּכְרוּכִין אַחֲרֶיהָ צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה עֲלֵיהֶם שֶׁמָּא בָּנָיו מִן הָאַחֶרֶת הֵם וְנִכְרְכוּ אַחַר זוֹ הַמְיֻחֶסֶת:


If he comes together with sons and says: "I married a woman and she died. These are her sons," he must bring witnesses that the woman was acceptable and that these are her sons." These laws also apply with regard to an Israelite of established lineage and a Levite of established lineage. Afterwards, we can testify with regard to this son so that he will be fit for the Sanhedrin.17


בָּא הוּא וּבָנָיו וְאָמַר אִשָּׁה נָשָׂאתִי וָמֵתָה וְאֵלּוּ בָּנֶיהָ מֵבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁאוֹתָהּ הָאִשָּׁה כְּשֵׁרָה הָיְתָה וְאֵלּוּ בָּנֶיהָ. וְכַדִּין הַזֶּה דָּנִין בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל מְיֻחָס וּבְלֵוִי מְיֻחָס. וְאַחַר כָּךְ נָעִיד עַל בְּנוֹ זֶה שֶׁהוּא מְיֻחָס כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה רָאוּי לְסַנְהֶדְרִין:


We do not elevate a person's lineage [based on mention in] a document to the priesthood. What is implied? If it is stated in a document: "So-and-so, the priest, borrowed from so-and-so this-and-this amount," and witnesses sign below, we do not operate under the assumption that this priest is of acceptable lineage. For perhaps, they signed only with regard to the loan.18

With regard to what does the above apply? With regard to considering the person as a priest of acceptable lineage. [Different principles apply] with regard to the presumption that he is a priest like the other priests of the present age and license to partake of terumah and challah mandated by Rabbinic decree and to be given other sacred articles [granted priests within] the boundaries [of Eretz Yisrael].19 [These privileges are granted on the basis of] mention in a legal document, the testimony of one witness, or the fact that a person recites the priestly blessing or reads the Torah first.


אֵין מַעֲלִין מִשְּׁטָרוֹת לִכְהֻנָּה. כֵּיצַד. הֲרֵי שֶׁהָיָה כָּתוּב בִּשְׁטָר פְּלוֹנִי כֹּהֵן לָוָה מִפְּלוֹנִי וְהִלְוָהוּ כָּךְ וְכָךְ וְהָעֵדִים מִלְּמַטָּה אֵין מַחֲזִיקִין בָּהֶם כֹּהֵן זֶה שֶׁהוּא מְיֻחָס שֶׁמָּא לֹא הֵעִידוּ אֶלָּא עַל הַמִּלְוֶה. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים לְעִנְיַן יִחוּס. אֲבָל לַחֲזָקָה שֶׁיִּהְיֶה כֹּהֵן כְּכֹהֲנֵי זְמַן זֶה וְיֹאכַל תְּרוּמָה וְחַלָּה שֶׁל דִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים וּבִשְׁאָר קָדְשֵׁי הַגְּבוּל מַעֲלִין מִן הַשְּׁטָרוֹת וְעַל פִּי עֵד אֶחָד וּמִנְּשִׂיאוּת כַּפַּיִם וּמִקְּרִיאָה בַּתּוֹרָה רִאשׁוֹן:


Similarly, whenever a priest says: "My son is a priest," his word is accepted with regard to feeding him terumah20 and having him accepted as a priest.21 He need not bring proof regarding his sons or his wife.


וְכֵן כָּל כֹּהֵן שֶׁאָמַר בְּנִי זֶה כֹּהֵן נֶאֱמָן לְהַאֲכִילוֹ בִּתְרוּמָה וְלִהְיוֹתוֹ בְּחֶזְקַת כֹּהֵן וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה לֹא עַל הַבָּנִים וְלֹא עַל הָאִשָּׁה:


When two people come to a particular city, one says: "I and my colleague are priests," and the other says, "I and my colleague are priests," their word is accepted and they are both considered as priests22 even though it appears that they are in collusion.23

Similarly, if one witness says: "I saw this person recite the Priestly Blessing," "...eat terumah, "...received terumah in the granary," or "...read first from the Torah and a Levi read after him,"24 he is considered a priest on the basis of this statement. Similarly, if one testified that a person read second from the Torah after a priest, he is considered as a Levite.


שְׁנַיִם שֶׁבָּאוּ לִמְדִינָה זֶה אוֹמֵר אֲנִי וַחֲבֵרִי כֹּהֵן וְזֶה אוֹמֵר אֲנִי וַחֲבֵרִי כֹּהֵן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּרְאִין כְּגוֹמְלִין זֶה אֶת זֶה הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נֶאֱמָנִין וּשְׁנֵיהֶם בְּחֶזְקַת כֹּהֲנִים. וְכֵן עֵד שֶׁאָמַר רָאִיתִי זֶה שֶׁנָּשָׂא כַּפָּיו אוֹ שֶׁאָכַל בִּתְרוּמָה אוֹ שֶׁחָלַק עַל הַגֹּרֶן אוֹ שֶׁקָּרָא בַּתּוֹרָה רִאשׁוֹן וְקָרָא אַחֲרָיו לֵוִי מַחֲזִיקִין אוֹתוֹ בִּכְהֻנָּה עַל פִּיו. וְכֵן אִם הֵעִיד שֶׁזֶּה קָרָא שֵׁנִי בַּתּוֹרָה אַחַר כֹּהֵן מַחֲזִיקִין אוֹתוֹ בִּלְוִיָּה:


If one delivers testimony in court saying that he saw a person and his brothers divide terumah left to them by their father the priest, we do not consider him a priest because of this testimony. Perhaps he is a challal and took his portion of the inheritance of terumah in order to sell it.


הֵעִיד שֶׁרָאָה זֶה שֶׁחָלַק עִם אָחִיו בְּבֵית דִּין תְּרוּמָה שֶׁהִנִּיחַ לָהֶן אֲבִיהֶן הַכֹּהֵן אֵין מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ לִכְהֻנָּה בְּעֵדוּת זוֹ. שֶׁמָּא חָלָל הוּא וְלָקַח חֵלֶק יְרֻשָּׁתוֹ מִתְּרוּמָה לְמָכְרָהּ:


In the present era, when a person comes and says: "I am a priest," his word is not accepted and we do not consider him a priest on the basis of his own statements. He should not read from the Torah first, recite the Priestly Blessing,25 or partake of sacred food that is eaten [within] the boundaries [of Eretz Yisrael] unless there is one witness who corroborates his statements.

He does, however, cause himself to be forbidden [to marry] a divorcee, a zonah, and a challalah; nor may he become impure because of contact with a corpse.26 If he marries such a woman or becomes impure, he receives lashes.27 A woman [who may not marry into the priesthood] who engages in relations with him is deemed a challalah of questionable status.28


מִי שֶׁבָּא בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה וְאָמַר כֹּהֵן אֲנִי אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן וְאֵין מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ לִכְהֻנָּה עַל פִּי עַצְמוֹ וְלֹא יִקְרָא בַּתּוֹרָה רִאשׁוֹן וְלֹא יִשָּׂא אֶת כַּפָּיו וְלֹא יֹאכַל בְּקָדְשֵׁי הַגְּבוּל עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה לוֹ עֵד אֶחָד. אֲבָל אוֹסֵר עַצְמוֹ בִּגְרוּשָׁה וְזוֹנָה וַחֲלָלָה וְאֵינוֹ מִטַּמֵּא לְמֵתִים. וְאִם נָשָׂא אוֹ נִטְמָא לוֹקֶה. וְהַנִּבְעֶלֶת לוֹ סְפֵק חֲלָלָה:


If the person makes these statements in the course of conversation, his word is accepted.29

What is implied? An incident once took place with regard to a person who was speaking in the midst of conversation, saying: "I remember that when I was an infant and was being carried on my shoulders by father, they took me out of school,30 removed my outer garment, and had me immerse in the mikveh to partake of terumah in the evening. My colleagues separated themselves from me and called me: 'Yochanan, who eats challot.' Our holy teacher31 had him considered a priest on the basis of these statements.


וְאִם הָיָה מֵסִיחַ לְפִי תֻּמּוֹ נֶאֱמָן. כֵּיצַד. מַעֲשֶׂה בְּאֶחָד שֶׁהָיָה מֵסִיחַ לְפִי תֻּמּוֹ וְאָמַר זָכוּר אֲנִי כְּשֶׁהָיִיתִי תִּינוֹק וְהָיִיתִי מֻרְכָּב עַל כְּתֵפוֹ שֶׁל אָבִי הוֹצִיאוּנִי מִבֵּית הַסֵּפֶר וְהִפְשִׁיטוּנִי כֻּתָּנְתִּי וְהִטְבִּילוּנִי לֶאֱכל תְּרוּמָה לָעֶרֶב וַחֲבֵרַי בּוֹדְלִין מִמֶּנִּי וְהָיוּ קוֹרְאִין אוֹתִי יוֹחָנָן אוֹכֵל חַלּוֹת וְהֶעֱלָהוּ רַבֵּנוּ הַקָּדוֹשׁ לִכְהֻנָּה עַל פִּי עַצְמוֹ:


An adult's word is accepted if he says: "I remember when I was a child32 and I saw so-and-so immerse himself in a mikveh and partake of terumah in the evening." He is considered a priest on the basis of this statement.

In the present era, when a person comes and says: "I am a priest," and a witness testifies on his behalf, saying: "I know that his father is a priest," we do not consider him as a priest on the basis of this testimony. [We fear that] perhaps he is a challal.33 Instead, [the witness] must testify that the person himself is a priest. If, however, the father's identity as a priest is an established fact or two witnesses come and testify that the person's father is a priest, because of his father, we assume [that he is a priest].


נֶאֱמָן גָּדוֹל לוֹמַר זָכוּר אֲנִי כְּשֶׁהָיִיתִי תִּינוֹק וְרָאִיתִי פְּלוֹנִי טוֹבֵל וְאוֹכֵל בִּתְרוּמָה לָעֶרֶב וּמַחֲזִיקִין אוֹתוֹ בִּכְהֻנָּה בְּעֵדוּתוֹ. מִי שֶׁבָּא בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה וְאָמַר כֹּהֵן אֲנִי וְעֵד אֶחָד מֵעִיד לוֹ שֶׁאֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁאָבִיו שֶׁל זֶה כֹּהֵן אֵין מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ לִכְהֻנָּה בְּעֵדוּת זֶה שֶׁמָּא חָלָל הוּא עַד שֶׁיָּעִיד שֶׁזֶּה כֹּהֵן הוּא. אֲבָל אִם הֻחְזַק אָבִיו כֹּהֵן אוֹ שֶׁבָּאוּ שְׁנַיִם וְהֵעִידוּ שֶׁאָבִיו שֶׁל זֶה כֹּהֵן הֲרֵי הוּא בְּחֶזְקַת אָבִיו:


When the identity of a person's father as a priest has been established, but there is a rumor34 that he is the son of a divorcee or the son of a woman who performed chalitzah, we entertain suspicions and do not treat him as a priest. If one witness comes and testifies that he is acceptable, we treat him as a priest because of his statements.35 If two witnesses come afterwards and testify that he is a challal, we remove him from the priesthood.36

If another witness comes and testifies that he is acceptable, we treat him as a priest, because the last witness is joined together with the first.37 Thus there are two witnesses testifying that he is acceptable and two testifying that he is unacceptable. Both pairs of witness and the rumor are voided, for two witnesses have the same legal power as 100.38 And the person remains a priest based on the status of his father.39


מִי שֶׁהֻחְזַק אָבִיו כֹּהֵן וְיָצָא עָלָיו קוֹל שֶׁהוּא בֶּן גְּרוּשָׁה אוֹ חֲלוּצָה חוֹשְׁשִׁין לוֹ וּמוֹרִידִין אוֹתוֹ. בָּא עֵד אֶחָד אַחַר כָּךְ וְהֵעִיד שֶׁהוּא כָּשֵׁר מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ לִכְהֻנָּה עַל פִּיו. בָּאוּ שְׁנַיִם עֵדִים אַחַר כָּךְ וְהָעִידוּ שֶׁהוּא חָלָל מוֹרִידִין אוֹתוֹ מִן הַכְּהֻנָּה. בָּא עֵד אֶחָד וְהֵעִיד שֶׁהוּא כָּשֵׁר מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ לִכְהֻנָּה שֶׁזֶּה הָאַחֲרוֹן מִצְטָרֵף לְעֵד רִאשׁוֹן וַהֲרֵי שְׁנַיִם מְעִידִין שֶׁהוּא כָּשֵׁר וּשְׁנַיִם מְעִידִים שֶׁהוּא פָּסוּל יִדָּחוּ אֵלּוּ וְאֵלּוּ וְיִדָּחֶה הַקּוֹל שֶׁהַשְּׁנַיִם כְּמֵאָה וְיִשָּׁאֵר כֹּהֵן בְּחֶזְקַת אָבִיו:


[The following law applies] when a woman [remarried] without waiting three months after [the death of] her [first] husband40 and gave birth. If it is not known whether the child was conceived by the first - and born after nine months - or conceived by the second - and born after seven - and one of them was a priest and the other, an Israelite, the child is a priest of questionable status.

Similarly, if a son of a priest became intermingled with a child of an Israelite41 and they grow to maturity, they are both considered priests of questionable status. They must observe the stringencies incumbent on Israelites and the stringencies incumbent on priests: They may only marry women fit to marry into the priesthood. They may not become impure through contact with the dead, nor may they partake of terumah. If they marry a divorcee, they are forced to divorce and they do not receive lashes.42


אִשָּׁה שֶׁלֹּא שָׁהֲתָה שְׁלֹשָׁה חֳדָשִׁים אַחַר בַּעְלָהּ וְיָלְדָה. וְאֵין יָדוּעַ אִם בֶּן תִּשְׁעָה לְרִאשׁוֹן אוֹ בֶּן שִׁבְעָה לְאַחֲרוֹן וְהָיָה אֶחָד מֵהֶן כֹּהֵן וְהַשֵּׁנִי יִשְׂרָאֵל הֲרֵי זֶה סְפֵק כֹּהֵן. וְכָךְ אִם נִתְעָרֵב וְלַד כֹּהֵן בִּוְלַד יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהִגְדִּילוּ הַתַּעֲרוֹבוֹת כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן סְפֵק כֹּהֵן. וְנוֹתְנִין עֲלֵיהֶן חֻמְרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְחֻמְרֵי כֹּהֲנִים. נוֹשְׂאִין נָשִׁים הָרְאוּיוֹת לִכְהֻנָּה וְאֵין מִטַּמְּאִים לְמֵתִים וְלֹא אוֹכְלִין בִּתְרוּמָה. וְאִם נָשְׂאוּ גְּרוּשָׁה מוֹצִיאִין וְאֵינָן לוֹקִין:


[The following rules apply] if the sons of two priests become intermingled or the wife of a priest married a second priest without waiting three months after the death of her first husband and it is not known whether the child was conceived by the first - and born after nine months - or conceived by the second - and born after seven. The stringencies that would apply as if he was the son of both men must be observed: He must observe the rites of aninut43 because of [both44 of] them45 and they [both] observe the rights of aninut because of him.46 He may not become impure because of them, nor may they become impure because of him.47 He may serve in the priestly watch48 of both of them, but does not receive a portion.49 If they are both from the same priestly watch and the same beit av,50 he receives one portion.51


שְׁנֵי כֹּהֲנִים שֶׁנִּתְעָרְבוּ וַלְדוֹתֵיהֶם. אוֹ אֵשֶׁת כֹּהֵן שֶׁלֹּא שָׁהֲתָה אַחַר בַּעְלָהּ שְׁלֹשָׁה חֳדָשִׁים וְנִשֵּׂאת לְכֹהֵן אַחֵר וְאֵין יָדוּעַ אִם בֶּן תִּשְׁעָה לָרִאשׁוֹן אוֹ בֶּן שִׁבְעָה לָאַחֲרוֹן. נוֹתְנִין לוֹ עַל הַוָּלָד חֻמְרֵי שְׁנֵיהֶם. הוּא אוֹנֵן עֲלֵיהֶם וְהֵן אוֹנְנִין עָלָיו. הוּא אֵין מְטַמֵּא לָהֶם וְהֵם אֵינָן מְטַמְּאִין לוֹ. וְעוֹלֶה בְּמִשְׁמָרוֹ שֶׁל זֶה וְשֶׁל זֶה. וְאֵין חוֹלֵק. וְאִם הָיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם בְּמִשְׁמָר אֶחָד וּבֵית אָב אֶחָד נוֹטֵל חֵלֶק אֶחָד:


When does the above apply? When the relationships with both [priests] involve marriage. If, however, one is a licentious relationship, our Sages decreed that [the son's] priestly privileges are suppressed entirely, because he does not have definitive knowledge of the identity of his father. [This is supported by Numbers 25:13]:52 "He and his descendants who follow him will possess [the covenant of priesthood]." [Implied is that] his descendants will be able to trace their identity to him.


בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בִּזְמַן שֶׁהֵן בָּאִין מִכֹּחַ נִשּׂוּאִין. אֲבָל בִּזְנוּת גָּזְרוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁמְּשַׁתְּקִין אוֹתוֹ מִדִּין כְּהֻנָּה כְּלָל הוֹאִיל וְאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ אָבִיו הַוַּדַּאי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר כה יג) "וְהָיְתָה לּוֹ וּלְזַרְעוֹ אַחֲרָיו" עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה זַרְעוֹ מְיֻחָס אַחֲרָיו:


What is implied? There were ten priests. One of them departed and engaged in relations [with a woman without revealing his identity]. The son is definitely a priest.53 Nevertheless, since he does not know his father's identity and cannot trace his lineage to him, his priestly privileges are suppressed entirely. He may not serve [in the Temple], partake [of sacrificial foods], or receive an allotment [from the sacrifices]. If, however, he becomes impure because of contact with a corpse or he marries a divorcee, he receives lashes, for there is no question of leniency.54


כֵּיצַד. עֲשָׂרָה כֹּהֲנִים שֶׁפֵּרַשׁ אֶחָד מֵהֶם וּבָעַל שֶׁהֲרֵי הַוָּלָד כֹּהֵן וַדַּאי וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן הוֹאִיל וְאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ אָבִיו שֶׁיִּתְיַחֵס לוֹ מְשַׁתְּקִין אוֹתוֹ מִדִּין כְּהֻנָּה. וְאֵינוֹ עוֹבֵד וְלֹא אוֹכֵל וְלֹא חוֹלֵק. וְאִם נִטְמָא לְמֵתִים אוֹ נָשָׂא גְּרוּשָׁה לוֹקֶה שֶׁאֵין כָּאן סְפֵק הֶתֵּר: