The gemara says that a servant who is a Kohen cannot get his ear pierced and stay on. Does this mean
1) he cannot stay on BECAUSE he cannot get his ear pierced,
or 2) he can stay on WITHOUT getting his ear pierced?
What is the answer and your source?
Barry Epstein, Dallas, TX
He cannot stay on because he cannot get his ear pierced. See the Mareh ha'Panim on the Yerushalmi in Berachos (8:5, DH "Hamishtameh") who quotes Rabeinu Peter who clearly learns that he does not become a Nirtzah at all. This is obvious from his question that if one cannot use a Kohen to do favors, why did the Gemara say that a Kohen cannot become a Nirtza because he will become a Ba'al Mum, let it say because one is not allowed to use a Kohen for work? Without delving into Rabeinu Peter's question (see Aruch ha'Shulchan end of O.C. 128), this shows that he held that the Kohen does not become a Nirtzah at all. If it merely meant that he does not get his ear pierced, then he still is doing work!
All the best,