Thursday, December 07, 2006

Respecting a Child

I was asked the following question: A family comes to eat a meal at a friend's house. The mother of these guests goes into the kitchen with the hostess and asks that her husband and son are served first because they are kohanim. Setting aside issues of politeness, is this a legitimate request?

I don't answer halakhic questions like this, but here are some things to think about. For a final answer, consult with your local rabbi.

1. The Magen Avraham (282:6) writes that the mitzvah of "ve-kidashto", honoring a kohen by allowing him to go first, does not apply to children. R. Akiva Eiger, in his glosses, disagrees and this issue has been widely discussed (see the extensive sources listed in Piskei Teshuvos [282:94]). Generally, the Magen Avraham's position on this is not accepted and the mitzvah is assumed to apply even to a child.

2. A non-kohen who is a scholar has precedence over a kohen who is not a scholar (Megillah 28a, Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chaim 201:2). If the host is significantly more knowledgeable than this child, the host should have precedence anyway.

3. The Arukh Ha-Shulchan (Orach Chaim 201:2) is of the view that the rules of precedence do not apply to a host who has guests who have entered into his domain. Who goes first is entirely at the discretion of the host, although it is proper but not obligatory for him to follow the rules of precedence.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Favorites More