Project Genesis

Basics of Judaism

Who is a Jew?

Who’s a Levi and Who’s a Cohain

The Torah tells us that Aaron and his sons (The descendants of Levi) are the priests.
Then, why are the Cohains known as priests?

Only Aaron and his sons were chosen to be priests from among all of the tribe of Levi. Priest is simply a translation of the Hebrew word “Cohain.” From that point on all of the descendents of the sons of Aaron would be the priests, or “Cohanim” (plural of Cohain). In other words, all priests (Cohains) are Levis, but Levis, except for the descendents of Aaron, are not Cohains.

4 Follow-ups »

  1. If you are known to be of the Davidic line but not brought up Jewish, and want to marry a kohain, would this be allowed, if she converted?

    There are two issues here – a Kohein cannot marry a convert, and the other is that one cannot convert to Judaism for the reason of marriage. Being of the Davidic line does not factor in.
    Regards, Eliahu Levenson

    Comment by ATR — June 25, 2007 @ 10:44 am

  2. If a daughter of Cohain father marries a Levi, are the children Cohanim?

    The status of a Jewish child depends upon the father. In your case, where the father is a Levi, the child will also be considered a Levi.

    Comment by ATR — April 14, 2008 @ 9:07 pm

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