Published September-11-07
Ask Rabbi Dan
by Rabbi Dan S. Wiko PhD
  Issue: 8.08
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My Dear Rabbi

As a Levi, I consider myself as being of the Levi tribe. Even though the Levis where not allotted land but were divided among the other 11 tribes to be the priests and I presume , protectors of the temples they still maintained their tribal name of HaLevi. I also consider Cohens to be a sub tribe of Levis (descendants of Aaron who was a Levi). Since one cannot become a Levi or Cohen but must be a direct descendant of a male Levi or Cohen, then Levis (& Cohens) are all direct male descendants of Levi ben Israel. Thus we or I have the same Y chromosome as Levi ben Israel, ben Isaac, ben Abraham. I am under the assumption that a male convert can be adopted into any of the other tribes but not Levi. (or Cohen). You have to be born a priest. Ami I correct?"

Dear reader,

There are now only three Tribes; two, actually. Kohain, Levi and Yisroel. Kohaniim are from the tribe of Levi. Therefore, I say two instead of three. It is true that one is born into the Kohain/Levi tribe through male parentage and, yes, they are directly descended from Aaron. One can not apply for membership in the priestly tribe so if you aren't born to a father who is either a Kohain or a Levi, you are, by default, a Yisroel.

Rabbi Dan

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