Levite

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In Jewish tradition, a Levite (Hebrew: לֵוִי, Modern Levi Tiberian Lēwî ; "Attached") is a member of the Hebrew tribe of Levi. When Joshua led the Israelites into the land of Canaan, the Levites were the only Israelite tribe that received cities but no tribal land "because the Lord the God of Israel himself is their inheritance" (Deuteronomy 18:2).[1][2] The Tribe of Levi served particular religious duties for the Israelites and had political responsibilities as well. In return, the landed tribes were expected to give tithe to the Levites, particularly the tithe known as the Maaser Rishon or Levite Tithe. In current Jewish practise, dating from the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the communal privileges and responsibilities of Levites are mainly limited to the synagogue Torah reading and the ritual of pidyon haben.

Moses and his brother, Aaron, were both Levites. The descendants of Aaron, who was the first kohen gadol, high priest, of Israel, were designated as the priestly class, the kohanim. As such, kohanim comprise a family dynasty within the tribe of Levi, and thus all kohanim are Levites, but not all Levites are kohanim.

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