Saturday, March 24, 2018

A unique way of looking at the Book of Leviticus

The Book of Leviticus is a hard one to read and comprehend via our modern mindsets; but here’s a new and unique way of looking at it, as described by author Everett Fox in his chapter entitled, “On the Book of Leviticus and its Structure”; pages 501-502 (The Schocken Bible, Volume I, The First Five Books of Moses):

In sum, the world of the priestly strain in the Torah is a realm of desired order and perfection, a realm in which wholeness is to reign, in which anomaly and undesired mixture are not permitted, and in which boundaries are zealously guarded.

The human body becomes symbolic of the cosmos: its life/death boundary is marked, and troublesome flows from it are carefully regulated. The land of Israel becomes symbolic of the cosmos: too much evil-doing pollutes it, to the point where it can do naught else but “vomit out” its settlers (as it vomited out the previous ones).

The animal kingdom, from which humans are allowed to take life under carefully prescribed circumstances, becomes symbolic of cosmic values, through heightening awareness of predator and victim, and careful avoidance of blood, the symbol of life.

Indeed, in the system of Leviticus, it is no wonder that death is the major pollutant, and that blood of acceptable animal sacrifice is the agent through which human beings find atonement for minor pollutants.

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