The female issue of a priest's connection with a divorced woman or widow, a connection regarded as illegal. According to the Biblical law, a priest ("kohen") could not marry a harlot, or one "profaned" ("ḥalalah"), or a divorced woman, while the high priest was also forbidden to marry a widow (Lev. xxi. 7-14). The priest who married a woman that had been previously illegally married to another priest was guilty of two transgressions. For instance, if a priest married a divorced woman, she became a ḥalalah, and her issue also was considered "profane." If another priest married her afterward, he transgressed two commandments, that against marrying a divorced woman and that against marrying a ḥalalah (Ḳid. 77a; Maimonides, "Yad," Issure Biah, xix. 1; Shulḥan 'Aruk, Eben ha-'Ezer, vii. 12). The name is restricted to those women with whom connection is regarded as illegal for priests, and is not applied to such as are illegal for all. The female offspring of an incestuous or adulterous connection of a priest is not called ḥalalah, since such a connection is forbidden also to ordinary Israelites (Ḳid. 77b; "Yad," l.c. xix. 5).The Punishment.
The punishment prescribed for the marriage of a priest with a ḥalalah is stripes. Authorities differ as to whether the same punishment was meted out to him if he had had intercourse with such a woman without marriage ("Yad," l.c. xvii. 2; RAbD and Maggid Mishneh ad loc.). The priest himself, although punished for his transgression, was not disqualified from the priestly office, but the male issue of such a connection was considered "ḥalal," and was not permitted the privileges or the duties of the priest.
The ḥalalah was not regarded as an illegitimate child; the only restrictions upon her were that she could not enjoy the advantages of a daughter of a priest—that is, she could not eat of the heave-offerings ("terumah") or of the sacrificial meats—and that she could not be married to a priest. If she married a non-priestly Israelite, her daughter was not regarded as ḥalalah, and might marry a priest. The issue of the ḥalal, however, retained the same status forever, even to the thousandth generation. The female children of a ḥalal were also regarded as profane, and could not be married into the priesthood (Ḳid. 77a; "Yad," l.c. xix. 14, 16; Eben ha-'Ezer, vii. 16). The daughter of a priest was not forbidden to marry a ḥalal, nor into any other class that was unfit for the priesthood (Ḳid. 72b; "Yad," l.c. xix. 11; Eben ha-'Ezer, vii. 22). See Illegitimacy; Priestly Code.