Friday, July 31, 2009

Cohen or Kohein?

A certain young man returned to the faith of his fathers. As he learned more he adjusted his behavior to comply with his new understanding. Although this baal teshuvah’s last name was Cohen and he had always assumed he was actually a kohein, after he heard a shiur on the subject he was no longer so certain. He had heard that his paternal grandfather had married a non-Jewess. Not only that, but family rumor had it that this woman remained a practicing non-Jew for her entire life and was buried in a non-Jewish cemetery. According to the shiur that he had just heard then, he was no kohein at all. When he broached this subject with his rabbi, the rabbi ruled that he is not a kohein in any regard and may even marry a divorcee.
But when he told this to someone else, it got even more confusing: “How could your rabbi say this? Who told him that we trust your family rumors? There are halachos that determine who is acceptable for bearing witness. When we believe things or not is a complicated matter…”
This second person consulted with Rav Shmuel Wosner, shlit”a, regarding whether or not the first rabbi consulted was correct, and if not whether they should protest the psak. Rav Wosner answered, “It is well known that there is a dispute about how we are meant to understand the gemara in Kiddushin 69. The gemara tells us that Nechemiah refused to give kodshei kodoshim to the children of kohanim who could not procure documents proving their lineage. Some authorities learn from here that since our kohanim do not have such proof of their heritage they are all questionable kohanim. Other authorities counter that they were kosher for avodah, but Nechemiah had more established kohanim available so he disqualified them. According to this view, had there been no other kohanim to perform the avodah they would have been valid. In our case, although we cannot be sure of this young man’s true situation, it would appear as though we should believe what this young man heard. This is especially true since he may be able to track down his grandmother’s grave in the non-Jewish cemetery…”
Rav Wosner concluded, “G-d forbid that we should be lenient in other cases, but if someone rules in this case that he should not be treated as a kohein, we should not reject that rabbi’s ruling. As for the name Cohen, this is irrelevant to his status. While it is true that he has a chazakah in his name, he does not have one in his kehunah!”

7 comments:

William Dwek said...

1. The Dweks from Aleppo, Syria, are the only family of the true Cohanim.

We are the only true descendants of Aharon HaCohen, the Cohen HaGadol.

2. The surname of Aharon HaCohen was not “Aharon Rappaport” or “Aharon Kahaneman” or “Aharon Kleiman”. Nor did we receive the Torah from “Moshe Rappaport” or, “Moshe Kahaneman” or, “Moshe Kleiman”.

Anyone who has taken on the surname, “Cohen” is clearly identifiable as a fraud, a liar and an imposter of the true Cohanim, going right back into his family history – right back to his original ancestor who LIED, and said he was a Cohen when he was not.

Anyone called, “Mr. Cohen or Rabbi Cohen” is definitely NOT a Cohen! Someone who calls himself, “Mr. Cohen or Rabbi Cohen” is effectively calling himself, “Mr. Torah!”

The Cohanim are part of the Torah – but they are not called, “Mr. Torah.” It is preposterous for a man to call himself, “Mr. Torah!” If someone makes you a cup of coffee, or sells some bread to you, will you say, “Thank you Mr. CoffeeMaker!” or, “Thank you Mr. Baker?!” The coffeemaker and the baker have a Family Name.

Similarly with the true Cohanim. And that family name is, “DWEK.”

William Dwek said...

And, we are the only true descendants of Pinhas ben Elazar ben Aharon HaCohen.

It was the great act of Pinhas, who stopped the plague in Am Yisrael, when he struck the spear into Cozbi and Zimri. 24,000 died in a plague from the sins of idolatry and immorality with the Midianite women.

Anonymous said...

1. regarding the story, if his paternal grandmother was non-Jewish, he is not a Cohen. If it is his maternal grandmother, he is not Jewish.

2. To the esteemed Dwek family, a few questions:
When did the estemed Dwek family originally arrive in Aleppo?
Where did they come from before then?
When did they take upon themselves the name Dwek?
So isn't it possible other Cohanim exist from branches of your family who did not arrive in Aleppo, and who never called themselves Dwek?

All the best to all Cohanim.

Micha Golshevsky said...

I would be happy to hear sources for your lineage (not "we say so." On that logic a person could be sold the Brooklyn Bridge...)
Are you not aware that Pinchas was not the only kohain? Even if you are the only descendants of Pinchas why would you deny others their kehunah?
We see that you are very dogmatic but not much else.
I imagine that you know that to claim that other kohanim are certainly not valid is not in keeping with any genuinely great posek including Rav Ovadiah Yosef. How strange.

Micha Golshevsky said...

Anonymous: You are correct of course and you ask some excellent questions.
After all, he wasn't called Pinchas Dwek...

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Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

The Dweks from Aleppo, Syria, are the only family of the true Cohanim.

We are the only true descendants of Aharon HaCohen, the Cohen HaGadol.

We have no need to produce any sources for our ancient lineage, which goes right back to Pinhas ben Elazar ben Aharon HaKohen.

We never changed our Family Name.