The high priest must not have sexual relations with a widow even outside of marriage

The Literal Commandment

'A widow, or a divorced woman, or one who is profaned by harlotry, these he may not take; but rather he is to marry a virgin of his own people, so that he will not profane his offspring among his people; for I am the LORD who sanctifies him.'" (Leviticus 21:15)

 

The literal commandment is that the high priest (verse 10) should not profane his offspring [literally: seed] among his people. Since that would occur through sexual relations with someone G-d has forbidden to him this prohibition is understood that he cannot have sexual relations (even outside of marriage) with a widow.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

The high priest pictures Messiah. Since the high priest is not allowed marital relations with someone forbidden to him so, too, we know that Messiah is not allowed special relations with anyone aside from His Bride.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah did not fulfill this commandment. This commandment was given to the Levites... specifically the high priest. Since Messiah was not of the tribe of Levi He did not bear responsibility to perform this commandment.

 

Traditional Observance

The fulfillment of this commandment was in its literal sense: the high priest did not have sexual relations with a widow either in or out of the context of marriage.

 

Other Notes

We can not fulfill this commandment today absent the Temple and a functioning Levitical priesthood. There is no high priest to whom this commandment would apply.

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 170
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 5
  • Mishneh Torah Book Holiness
  • Mishneh Torah Category 25- Forbidden Sexual Relations
  • Reference Leviticus 21:15
  • Scripture Book Leviticus
  • Chapter 21
  • Verse 15
  • English o that he will not profane his offspring among his people; for I am the LORD who sanctifies him.'
  • Hebrew טו וְלֹא-יְחַלֵּל זַרְעוֹ, בְּעַמָּיו: כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָה, מְקַדְּשׁוֹ. {ס}
  • Greek 15 καὶ οὐ βεβηλώσει τὸ σπέρμα αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ λαῷ αὐτοῦ· ἐγὼ κύριος ὁ ἁγιάζων αὐτόν.
  • Parashah 31- Emor
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 274
  • Sef. Hach. Command That conjugal intimacy with a widow is forbidden a kohen gadol
  • Category Levites & Priests
  • We can fullfill today No

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