Negative Mitzvah 166: The Priests may not come into contact with a dead body except for his immediate family Negative MitzNegative Mitzvah 166: The Priests may not come into contact with a dead body except for his immediate family

Negative Mitzvah 166: The Priests may not come into contact with a dead body except for his immediate family Leviticus 21:1.
“He shall not become impure for the dead among his people” The priests must always be careful to try to remain in a state of purity – Tahara. There are times when coming in contact with impurity – Tumah is almost impossible. Since a dead body is considered Tamei – impure, any person coming in contact with it, even if not directly, (for example being under the same roof or in a cemetery), also becomes impure. But what if a priest has to attend a funeral, G-d forbid? Can he avoid becoming impure? The Torah allows the priest to become impure only if it involves one of his six closest relations. These include: Mother, Father, Son, Daughter, Sister (who has not yet married), Brother. The Rabbis also allow him to become impure for his wife. He may attend their funerals (See Positive Mitzvah 37) Additionally, he may bury a Jew if there is no one else to do so.However, a priest is forbidden to become impure by contact with any other dead body.

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