Are all kohanim “kosher”? The question of who is a kosher kohen comes up every so often. The uneducated kohen can be clueless as to what or where his lineage document is or if he ever had one.
However, thankful to those halachic authorities that delved into the issue, the kohen in the know is easily able to answer לעניין -to the halachic bottom line -even if his lineage document is -umm- lost in the mail.
Recently, it has become available to do a DNA test that confirms the paternal relationship of any given individual, this seems like a great breakthrough and may perhaps influence halachic decisions in the future.
So, what is the halachic bottom line answer of who is a kosher kohen? The answer; a kohen who is recognized as such by his kehillah kedosha is deemed a kohen muchzak -a “status-quo” kohen- this is no small title as it carries with it numerous restrictions, responsibilities, and even privileges.
The kohen muchzak is considered a full and kosher kohen מן התורה (Min HaTorah -biblically). Rabbinically though, there is significant debate on this topic and it is likely one of the most hotly-contested topics in halacha for the last 450 years.
In fact though, a bit of research into the topic enlightens the kohen with the value of the term kohen muchzak. Just to touch the surface; the entire concept of chazakah in halacha is founded on the base of the kohen being exactly what he and others think he is -an authentic and kosher descendant of Ahron HaKohen. But again, this is just scratching the surface of myriad halachic angles that place the kohen muchzak as a fully authentic, kosher kohen.
One of the many the halachic angles pointing to the kohen muchzak as authentic and of integrity is the expression that all family’s have the chazaka of being kosher. And, without A valid disproof of the kohen’s sound chazakah, each and every kohen retains a firm status-quo of his kehuna.
The sdei chemed
The sdei chemed, a noted posek is one of many poskim who composed a lengthy response to the issue of kohanim muchzakim -kohanim who are “status-quo” in their kehuna. The sdei chemed is one of the few poskim who did a thorough work of collecting, analyzing and deciding between those opinions discussed during and prior to his era.
Although the responsa is long, today’s kohen may value in reading this article;