Published July-08-04
 
 
Ask Rabbi Dan
by Rabbi Dan S. Wiko PhD
 
  Issue: 5.07
 
e-mail me
 

Joel asks,
My bloodline is supposedly connected to the Levites. It has been passed down to me that in more traditional times (and movements), it was only the Levites and Kohenim that would do Aliyahs during services (this certainly is not the case in my Shul); also, that Levites are forbidden from standing over open graves. What other "rights" and "restrictions" did Levites carry and which ones (if any) still exist as tradition?
Thank you in advance, Joel



Dear Joel,

Kohanim are not permitted to be with or near a deceased person, nor are they permitted to marry a woman who is divorced. When a loved one or friends pass on, they may not be inside the funeral home and must remain on the outside of a cemetery. To my knowledge, that is not the case with Levites (Leviim). Traditionally, the Levites served the Kohanim (Priests. when it comes to aliyot, the Kohain is called first and the Levi is second. When there is no Kohain present, the Levi is called "bin kain Kohain" (not a Kohain, but acting "as if he were") and then, a second Levi is called up. If there is only a Kohain and not Levi, the same Kohain is called twice in a row.

B'Shalom

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