I received permission to post the following from a young American Jew with some difficult questions.
Hello Rabbi,I am a Kohen seeking answers to important questions. Any advice or wisdom you can bestow upon a very concerned soul who is yearning for answers would be immeasurably appreciated. About my background: I was losely raised in a Conservative setting, and at this point, I am cautiously interested in becoming more observant. I did not first go to Israel until three years ago. This was my first exposure to Orthodox Judaism and the significance of my status as a Kohen. Unfortunately, and this is the basis for my letter, I think that I have contracted the herpes virus. I want to learn if there are any halachic implications when one contracts such a virus, and if so, what those implications are.
For example, am I no longer a Kohen? If I have a son in the future, can I still pass on my Kohen status? Can I still have Kidushin with a Jewish woman? Practically speaking, how will dating work for me in the Orthodox world should I decide to turn Frum?
My circumstances also present other complicated issues. Unfortunately, I was not raised in a strong Jewish setting, and as such, the notion of only dating Jews was not instilled in me. Consequently, I have been dating a non-Jew for several years. I am in love with my girlfriend. However, based on my exposure to Judaism, I have become "in love" with Judaism, and thus, I am considering breaking off the relationship. Yet if as a result of contracting the virus I am Halachikally barred from marrying or having Jewish children, then what is the point of breaking up? Moreover, even if I am not Halachikally barred from marrying, as a practical matter, how will I find a Jewish woman that will marry me me with my condition?
Thank you for your time.