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A Guide for Kohanim When Visiting Hospitals[1]
 
  • A kohain should avoid entering a hospital unless there is a need.

  • A kohain may enter a hospital for a medical need or for the need of his immediate family. This includes personally seeking medical care, accompanying a relative, or visiting a relative. The kohain may also visit any relative where family tension may occur if the kohain does not visit.

  • Whenever possible the kohain should keep the door closed during his visit. He may then stay as long as he wishes.

  • The kohain should not linger about in the hallways but should enter and exit without delay. This means that a kohain should not take a stroll through a hospital, or enter the hospital to speak to a friend or to purchase lunch. (There is no need to rush through the hospital, but a kohain should avoid remaining in the hallways for a protracted time.)

  • The kohain should avoid making social calls in a hospital; however one may visit with a patient to the extent that he is fulfilling the mitzvah of Bikkur Cholim (visiting the sick).

  • Wherever possible the kohain should avoid restricted areas of the hospital.

  • If the kohain becomes aware that there is a Jewish deceased person in the hospital, he should leave the hospital immediately (unless he is attending to the needs of a critically ill patient).

  • When possible the kohain should try to inquire (of the Jewish chaplain) in advance whether there are Jewish corpses on the premises.

  • These are only general guidelines and the kohain should discuss these issues with his rabbi regarding when and how to conduct visits in the hospital.

[1] These guidelines are only for hospitals that have a minority of Jewish patients. (Most hospitals in America fall into this criteria.)

 

HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Shlit"a
Rosh Beth Din

HaRav Yona Reiss, Shlit"a
Av Beth Din

 

Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator

Rabbi Levi Mostofsky
Executive Director

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