leviticus

The Spirit of the Law

Parashat Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1-20:27)

Parashat Kedoshim is primarily focused on practical, ethical laws that will set Israel apart from her surrounding nations. It begins with the directive, “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). But when Hashem gives this instruction, He tells Moses to speak this “to all the congregation of the people of Israel.” The way Hashem addresses the Children of Israel is unique to this event. Let’s take a look at why this is the case. 

Not Quite Forgiven

Parashat Acharei Mot (Leviticus 16:1-18:30)

The Leaven of Tzara’at

Parashat Metzorah (Leviticus 14:1-15:33)

Flaming Arrows & Scabs

Parashat Tazria (Leviticus 12:1-13:59)

The Power Of Silence

This week’s Torah reading is not only the source for the Torah’s dietary laws, but it also records the very first service of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. It was a time unprecedented in human history when the very presence of the LORD rested upon a physical structure created by the labor of man. But unfortunately, there was a horrible tragedy that took place immediately after this event. Two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, enjoyed the presence of the LORD so much that they wanted to recreate it.

Immoral Food?

Parashat Tzav (Leviticus 6:1[8]-8:36)

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Parashat Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1-5:26[6:7])

Parashat Emor - Leviticus 21:1-24:23

The Relative Nearest Him

Parashat Emor begins with a problematic passage. Through Moses, God gives instructions to the priesthood prohibiting them from becoming ritually impure through corpse contamination. There are exceptions to this rule, however, and the Torah gives a list of close relatives by which a priest may allow himself to become ritually impure. This could be through either attending to the body of the deceased or merely attending their funeral, either of which would bring with it ritual contamination:

Parashat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim - Leviticus 16:1-20:27

The Four Prohibitions

After detailing the instructions for the Yom Kippur service, the parashot of Acharei Mot and Kedoshim then hit a series of seemingly unrelated topics concerning a number of different things. For the contemporary reader, particularly to those of us from among the nations, these strange regulations seem completely out of the realm our modern lives. Outside of the obvious ethical principles of forbidden sexual relationships, what possible relevance do these seemingly antiquated ritual concerns have for us today?

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