Thursday, July 31, 2014

Leviticus: Chapter 17

For the blood
is the life force

The bond of consanguinity

[For full chapter, click here
This chapter finally delves into the central motif of this book: blood. Once again, we return to primordial roots, echoing the primal definition of the relationship to animal after the Deluge: "But flesh with the life... which is the blood, you shall not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man." As in Genesis, humanity and animal are tied together in bonds of blood. Man is given rights of eat, but not to the life force. 
Here, the limitations seems tighter. The opening verse seems to imply that any taking of animal life outside the context of the Dwelling borders on murder: "Any man of the house of Israel that kills an ox, or lamb or goat in the camp...and brings it not to the doorway of the Dwelling...blood shall be imputed to that man, he has shed blood". This supposition is contradicted by later references to hunting--the killing is allowed, but the blood must be treated with respect. 
Life force/soul (nefesh) becomes embodied in blood. The river that ties together all life force, it also allows for atonement].

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