Barry Epstein asked:

Deut. 21:1 calls the corpse a "challal." Is this the same spelling as the child who is the product of a Kohen and a woman he was not supposed to marry? If so, how can they be the same word? If I was to venture a guess, one could say that just as the Gemara says that the corpse will "not bear fruit", i.e., he will not do any more mitzvot, so is the other chalal one who "will not bear fruit" with regard to the Kehunah.

If you are able to answer by Thursday at 3 Dallas time, I would be appreciative as I can relate the answer at our siyum. If not, then please answer when you can.

Thank you.

Barry Epstein, Dallas, USA

The Kollel replies:


I believe that you are not far from the mark. Rashi explains numerous times in Tanach that the word "Chal" or "Chalal" always connotes "Chulin," which means either lack of Kedushah, or simply lacking (empty, as in the word "Chalalim" which is used in Asher Yatzer, meaning hollow organs); see Rashi Bereishis 4:26, 9:20, 18:25, Bamidbar 30:3.

In the case of a corpse, the body is obviously "empty" of the soul that once occupied it, and it is therefore lacking Kedushah as well. In the case of the Chalal born from an improper relationship with a Kohen the same is true; the child is "empty" from the Kedushah of the Kehunah that his father had.

Best wishes for your Siyum, may you and your Dallas group continue to make many others in the future!