Rabbi Ellen Dannin for Jewish Reconstructionist Communities
References to blood appear at least sixty-five times in the Torah, and more, depending on how you do the counting and excluding references to menses. In this parashah, it appears primarily in connection with sacrifices (Lev.16:14-15, 16:18-19, 16:27, 17:3-6).
But the more intriguing reference is in Lev. 17:10-14, where we are told:
"And any man from the house of Israel and from the aliens who will reside among them who will eat any blood: then I shall set my face against the person who eats the blood, and I shall cut him off from among his people. Because the flesh's life is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your lives, because it is the blood that makes atonement for life. On account of this I have said to the children of Israel: every person among you shall not eat blood, and the alien who resides among you shall not eat blood. And any man from the children of Israel and from the aliens who reside among them who will hunt game, animal or bird, that may be eaten: he shall spill out its blood and cover it with dust. Because all flesh's life: its blood is one with its life. So I say to the children of Israel: you shall not eat the blood of all flesh - because all flesh's life: it is its blood. Everyone of those who eat it will be cut off."
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