Decades ago Dr Laura Schlesinger, who was an observant Orthodox Jew at the time, said that homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. In response, she received a letter from someone named Kent Ashcraft, who posed some hilarious questions that were quickly circulated.
I’m sure others have responded to this letter over the years, but I couldn’t help myself – so posted below, after the original letter to Dr. Schlesinger, is my own personal response:
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan.
MY RESPONSE TO THE LETTER:
If I may be so bold as to answer for Dr. Laura. While I enjoyed your extremely humorous letter, I would like to know why, since you seem to be familiar with Scripture, you didn’t know the answer to your own questions!
If you’re Jewish, you definitely should have known the answers, and if you’re Christian, well, you have an excuse because you’re under the erroneous and very deceptive impression that you’re “under grace and not under the law” or required to keep any of God’s “forever” commands; but I hope you’ll be able to follow what I’ve written here for you. I’ve done my best to be brief, clear and concise.
Let’s take the easiest question concerning animal sacrifice: Jewish or not, surely you know there is no Temple, so sacrifices cannot be done today – much less, performed in your own yard, as you cannot have an altar. Furthermore, unless YOU are a Levite Priest, why would YOU be doing any sacrifices, anyway?
At this point I must also ask: Is it legal where you live to kill and sacrifice animals in your own yard? While God’s commands trump everything, we ARE commanded to adhere to the laws of the land, as well ( Matthew 22:17-22; Mark 12:13-17; Romans 13:1-7)…Honestly, I think you can solve your neighbors’ problems by ceasing your illegal activities immediately (especially since they don’t line up with Torah!)…..
As for as owning slaves and selling your daughter into slavery – well, there comes a point where common sense must kick in – after all, most of those "613" commands (that MEN numbered) were directed at the Levite cohanim (priests) ; some were only for men; some only for women, and some were only for a certain timeframe … but some were meant to last FOREVER - those that believers today must still pay attention to.
First of all, owning and selling slaves was never a command, anyway. But because men had slaves (it was a way of life back then), He laid down some rules on how to treat them. Same with the “multiple wives” nonsense some are propagating. GOD never told men to have more than one wife, but once that happened, He had to lay down some rules to shield them from abuse.
Surely you know that “slavery” back in Torah times was a voluntary thing, and they were required to be released during the jubilee year. MAN twisted the original purpose of “slavery”, so what on earth would make you think you have a right to “own” slaves today, anyway? Have you even READ the Torah at any time during your life? From what I can tell, you certainly sound like you’ve received your knowledge of God and His Word from the same place most other folks are getting their skewed info … by hearsay or off the Internet.
Which brings me to the next point about menstruating women. Certainly, while Israel was wandering around in the desert (whining and complaining the whole time, I might add – even though they had been witnessing God’s miracles since their days with Pharaoh and the Ten Plagues!) women used to have to “live outside the camp” for a week.
Common sense dictates the reason for that was because, in those days, they didn’t have hot and cold running water at their fingertips, nor good hygiene products to manage their flows. Today, of course, we have all those necessities of life and so there’s no need for women to be hidden away from society.
This also means you don’t have to ask every woman if she’s menstruating because it’s no longer pertinent in modern society; plus, honestly, it’s none of your doggone business, now, is it?
Now, as to your neighbor working on Shabbat. You didn’t say whether or not he’s Jewish, nor did you mention whether or not he works in the medical field or at the fire department or in some other “emergency response”-type career. We DO live in a world that doesn’t care about God’s rules, and this actually includes many Jews!
But if your neighbor Christian, forgive him and forget about it, for he doesn’t know any better because he’s living under the “erroneous impression,” remember?
By the way, if you’re Jewish, you’ll need to push aside what the Rabbis taught and the “fences” they built around Shabbat and begin to realize that God Himself never said that emergencies couldn’t or shouldn’t be handled on the Sabbath. (I’m not making this up; it’s TRUE that the Rabbis were responsible for adding “fences” to Torah that completely tied Israel’s hands on both the weekly Shabbats and yearly mo’edim….)
So yeah … I suggest you don’t kill your neighbor OR ask the police to do it, or you’ll surely risk ending up in prison, or at the very least, a mental institution.
BTW, you seem to think God’s capital punishment is something to scoff at. You don’t seem to realize that no individual in Biblical times had any “right” to inflict capital punishment on any other person! That was levied by the courts, the same way it is levied by the courts today, even though today’s courts abide only by “man’s” law. Making fun of the actions necessitating capital punishment by God’s rules only means you have never read or never understood God at all.
As for your greater and lesser “abomination” question, SERIOUSLY? Have you never realized that there are NO “degrees” of sin? ALL continuous, intentional sin will result in you losing your eternal life with YHWH! All sin is an “abomination”. A habitual liar can lose his salvation just as quickly as a vicious murderer can, because God cannot and will not be in the presence of evil. (Psalm 5:4; Isaiah 59:2.)
But while eating shellfish is an abomination (Leviticus 11:10), homosexuality is specifically cited as deserving the death penalty, along with adultery (Exodus 20), murder (Exodus 20), bestiality (Leviticus 20), and other crimes deemed serious enough by Elohim to merit death. We should not poke fun at what Elohim considers an abomination worthy of death! We should instead pay attention!
As to your Lev. 21:20 question concerning your being able to approach the altar of G-d since you wear reading glasses, you’ll be happy to know that, since the redemptive death and resurrection of Yeshua our bodies are “the temple” and therefore, we can have access to Him whenever we wish, in whatever state our physical condition might be in. What really matters today is the state of our SPIRITUAL condition. (In all honesty, yours seems to be in question.)
As for not touching a football, don’t be ridiculous. The scripture says not to touch an actual dead animal – so that you don’t end up contaminated and sick! Remember, these commands were being given IN THE WILDERNESS where people did not have ready access to soap and water. And let’s get realistic here: Pigskin footballs cannot be equated with a rotting corpse lying by the side of the road. After all the tanning and processing that leather goes through, it’s no longer considered a “dead pig.”
That scripture about not rounding your hair at the temples ALSO needs to be taken in context so that you can come to the logical conclusion that it goes hand-in-hand with the verse before and after it, which serves as a warning to the Israelites to NOT continue the pagan customs practiced in Egypt! (Remember, they had just been freed from 400 years of slavery in Egypt which reeked of multiple FALSE gods…) Take a look at the CONTEXT:
Leviticus 18:3 ”You are not to engage in the activities found in the land of Egypt, where you used to live; and you are not to engage in the activities found in the land of Kena`an, where I am bringing you; nor are you to live by their laws. … 19: “26 "'Do not eat anything with blood. Do not practice divination or fortune-telling. 27 Don't round your hair at the temples or mar the edges of your beard. 28 Don't cut gashes in your flesh when someone dies or tattoo yourselves; I am ADONAI. (CJB)
As for your flippant remarks about you uncle and Leviticus 19:19, it is clear you have misread Scripture. Today, “Planting two different crops in the same field” does not violate Torah. The commandment is to not repeat the actions of the ancients who sowed different seeds, accompanying the act with magical rites and invocations.
And “wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread” does not apply to modern cotton/polyester blends. These commandments, again, followed Leviticus 18:3 ”You are not to engage in the activities found in the land of Egypt, where you used to live; and you are not to engage in the activities found in the land of Kena`an, where I am bringing you; nor are you to live by their laws.”
For Israelites, wool and linen (flax) were appointed for the priests alone (Exodus 28, 39; Leviticus 16). The law laid down in this verse is substantially repeated in Deuteronomy 22:9-11.
Regarding your uncle’s supposed sins of blaspheming and cursing – well, there IS coming a Judgment Day where he will stand before God to explain himself – just before he is eternally SEPARATED from Him (Revelation 20:11-15). Your uncle does have the choice to prevent that from happening – by repenting, turning from his sins and beginning to live a life of obedience to God via His Torah!
I wholeheartedly suggest you re-read the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, through HEBREW eyes and an open heart, until you no longer have a desire to make fun of YHWH and His Word. If you are a Believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – whether Jewish or Gentile – you ARE Israel! And as such, you have a responsibility to become holy! Below is just ONE of the many scriptures revealing that indisputable fact:
Leviticus 19: 1 ADONAI said to Moshe, 2 "Speak to the entire community of Isra'el; tell them, 'You people are to be holy because I, ADONAI your God, am holy. (CJB)