# 2535 A Blessed Death?

Q. A physician who is also a Cohen and learns the Daf, recently became aware that a Cohen whose hands have spilled blood can not rise them and perform Birchas Cohanim. He is wondering with honesty about himself. He has been always recognized, throughout a long successful medical history, as highly dedicated to save lives and to be very careful not to render any mistaken decisions and prognoses. However, reality is that it is almost impossible that unwittingly and inadvertently some misguided procedures might have happened, that likely shortened the life of a patient. He questions whether he should continue reciting Birchas Cohanim?
A. Shulchan Aruch (O.H. 128: 35) rules that the abstention of Birchas Cohanim applies even if the death occurred beshogeg and unintentionally, and even if one makes teshuva. However, Rema (ibid.) maintains that our tradition is to be lenient after teshuva, Biur Halacha (d’h Afilu) opines that if the slaying was intentional even after teshuva, the Cohen should abstain from Birchas Cohanim.
The Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 36) also is lenient if a child dies after the bris mila. Mishna Berura (132) explains that the mohel certainly intended for the mitzva, and was not negligent.
Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a pointed to Talmud (Kidushin 24b and Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 267: 36), regarding a medic setting free his servant by blinding his eye that intention is required.
The Rov’s opinion is that since intention was always for the mitzva of helping and healing his patients, even if unintentional and unexpected mistakes were done, he can continue blessing Birchas Cohanim.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as revised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a

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