If you're a kohen, then this article is especially for you.
No doubt readers are familiar with some of the privileges (mistakenly referred to as "restrictions") that the kohanim, those who descend from Aaron, brother of Moses, are subject to. Among the more prominent of these precepts is the prohibition for kohanim to come in contact with the dead.
There are two contemporary and very interesting applications to this rule. For one, it is routine procedure for a dead body to be flown to a distant place for burial by having it placed in the compartments below the passenger cabin on commercial flights. This is especially prevalent, and more problematic, as it applies to the frequent occurrence of Jewish bodies being flown to Israel on El-Al flights (over 65% of all El Al flights include deceased bodies). There could be large numbers of kohanim on such flights at any given time.
Additionally, does one's "kohanic" status preclude one from visiting and praying at the sacred tombs of, say, the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron, the Ari in Tzfat, or the tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem? Note: While the subject of a much larger discussion, we will simply note here that with minor exception, the prohibition for kohanim to come in contact with the deceased applies only to Jewish deceased.
Reliable sources have informed me that El-Al airlines have for years eliminated any halachic concerns for this issue. Little do many know it, the El Al baggage compartments are constructed in a way that allows the halachically required measurements of empty space to separate between the baggage compartment (and by extension, the body of one deceased) and the passenger cabin. Additionally, the baggage compartment is further constructed in a way that it is actually a separate structure from the body of the airplane, further alleviating any concerns that a kohen may have concerning the prohibition of being in the same 'domain' as a dead body. There is also a unique, halachically influenced method of packing coffins on these flights.
This latter concept has further applications to many hospitals here in Israel. Many hospitals are built in such a way that the morgue and similar areas of the hospital are actually constructed in a way that makes them a halachically separate structure from the rest of the hospital building. Without such a feature, religiously observant kohanim would be precluded from visiting loved ones in the hospital.
The question of the permissibility of kohanim visiting ancient grave sites is a fascinating one as well. While there are some kohanim who do visit and pray at the resting places of tzaddikim - righteous individuals, most kohanim do not. The confusion on this issue is based on the rabbinic teaching that "the tombs of the righteous do not defile [kohanim]." The problem here is that while this teaching may have inspirational and even kabalistic applications - it was never accepted by any eminent halachic authorities as authoritative. As such, most kohanim do not approach these tombs but rather, they visit the site while remaining outside.
While the depth of these customs and practices is bottomless - there is a message to be learned. Purity and impurity, and by extension, right and wrong, justice and corruption, are all shades that a Jew must be sensitive to, and thereby distance himself accordingly. While outwardly practiced by kohanim - it should be inwardly practiced by all.
 There exists a tradition that the Tomb of Rachel was initially constructed in such a way that it eliminates any kohen related concerns. Not everyone accepts this tradition.
 Even with all the precautions mentioned above, it would be remiss not to point out that these arrangements may not have been acceptable to the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, see Igrot Moshe Y.D. 2:164. On the other hand, I am told that Rabbi Hershel Shachter subscribes to an approach to the airplane issue that would require none of these precautions at all.
 Sefer Hachinuch 263, Mishlei Rabba 9
 Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 202:24, Yechave Daat 4:58
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