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The Chumash Leviticus 17-18

1-9. Service Outside the Tabernacle.

4. Until the time of Noah, man was forbidden to kill animals for his own needs; it was only after the Flood that God’s covenant with Noah gave man permission to kill animals for food. … When a person kills animals without a legitimate purpose, he allows himself to be influenced by the same bloody characteristics that can cause people to commit murder.

10-14. Prohibition against eating blood and the commandment to cover it.

Chapter 18. Immorality and forbidden relationships.

3. Do not perform the practice of the land of Egypt in which you dwelled, and do not perform the practice of the land of Canaan to which I bring you, and do not follow their traditions. 4. Carry out My laws and safeguard My decrees to follow them; I am HASHEM, your God. 5. You shall observe My laws, which man shall carry out and by which he shall live – I am HASHEM.

3. By stressing the parts of those lands in which the Jews dwelled and to which they would be brought, the verse implies that those areas were the worst sections of the respective countries. God specifically warned the Jews to be alert of the challenge of their past and future homes because people must be especially alert to the lures of their environment. It is tempting to justify sin on the grounds that “everyone” does it.

…sin is a progressive process: “Ordinary” transgressions inevitably lead to more serious ones, until the sinner descends to the morass of Canaan and Egypt. Thus, a Jew must scrupulously avoid even the first step on the road to corruption.

Modern superstition: that a black cat or walking under a ladder are “bad luck”.

The exhortation not to follow the traditions of the nations is couched in terms their decrees, the same term that is used to describe the commandments of the Torah that defy human logic.

It is common for people to think that a nation’s culture is predicated upon a set of rational norms, and that any “civilized” person must accept them, unless he is demented.

The truth is, however, that culture is an accumulation of practices, many of which are not in the least logical. This explains how different societies have widely divergent cultures, and how so many of them can consider other societies to be comical, primitive, or even barbaric. [same to each family; this might be why a society with diversity is more advanced. We are open by watching and learning from each other. ]

The difference between Judaism’s “decrees” and the “decrees” of other societies is simply that the former are God given, while the latter are devised by man and canonized by his habits.

Therefor, the Torah cautions us to avoid falling into the habit-forming, mind-molding trap of imitating the practices of alien societies.

Summary: You many imitate the nations among whom you live in everything which has been adopted by them on rational grounds, and not on grounds which belong to their religion or are immoral; but do not imitate anything which is irrational or has been adopted on grounds derived from their religion, or for forbidden or immoral purposes. You may not therefore, join in celebrating their holy days, or observe customs which have their basis in their religious views. You must not, however, do anything which will disturb their holy days or mar their festival spirit; and do not parade your non-participation in their hold days in a manner that might arouse animosity.

Many of life’s most important decisions – such as the ideals and considerations that may be called a “light from within,” considerations that reflect the person’s true inner self.

The Torah stresses that one accept the Divine origin and unchanging nature of the Torah’s laws with the same faith that one accepts its decrees. [Abortion, animal preservation]

6-18. Forbidden Relationships

the long list of incestuous relationships

Sisters should live in love and harmony, not rivalry and strife.

Molech was an idol whose worship was prevalent in Canaan.

Molech was juxtaposed with the chapter of immorality because its worship involved children; like immorality, it demonstrated people’s readiness to debase future generations to satisfy their own passions. [So true! This is why I never believe those men who are involved with different women truly love their children. They are trying to debase their children in every possible way! Yet they never stop hoping their children will become successful and good people. How ridiculous!] 我们的文化为什么对“假道学”、“伪君子”无比宽容?

the juxtaposition between Molech and immorality. The Torah uses the term to describe the jealous God’s anger when someone transfers his reverence from God to an idol, and also that of a husband when his wife is unfaithful. Jealousy refers to the outrage someone feels when another person takes a thing that is rightfully his.

22-23. Sodomy and bestiality

24-30. The holiness of the Land.

  • proselyte
  • excision
  • Patriarchs
  • stray
  • iniquity
  • decadent
  • morass
  • promiscuous
  • exhortation
  • comical
  • predicate
  • dement
  • canonize
  • animosity
  • fathomable
  • impervious
  • juxtaposing
  • metalogical
  • chok
  • chastity
  • betroth
  • hedonism
  • slime
  • stricture
  • perpetrator
  • euphemism
  • consort
  • deprave
  • abomination
  • egregious
  • sodomy
  • bestiality
  • copulation
  • disgorge
  • debauchery
  • annihilation

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