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Esias E. Meyer

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2023

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Leviticus’ More Priestly Version of the Dietary Laws

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https://thetorah.com/article/leviticus-more-priestly-version-of-the-dietary-laws

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Esias E. Meyer

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Leviticus’ More Priestly Version of the Dietary Laws

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TheTorah.com

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https://thetorah.com/article/leviticus-more-priestly-version-of-the-dietary-laws

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Leviticus’ More Priestly Version of the Dietary Laws

Deuteronomy and Leviticus drew on common Vorlage (source text) to develop their regulations about the consumption of land, marine, and winged creatures. While Deuteronomy only lightly modifies this Vorlage, the editors of Leviticus expanded the text in several stages to align it with Priestly ideology.

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Leviticus’ More Priestly Version of the Dietary Laws

Handling animal carcasses and purifying clothes. Phillip Medhurst Collection of Bible illustrations, 1970 (colorized). Wikimedia

Both Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 present a similar set of dietary restrictions, in the same order.[1]

Mammals – Among the mammals with four feet (quadrupeds), only those that have split hooves and chew the cud may be consumed (Lev 11:3–8; Deut 14:6–8).[2]

Marine creatures – Only those that have both fins and scales are permitted as food (Lev 11:9–12; Deut 14:9–10).

Winged creatures – Bats and a variety of birds of prey are prohibited, as are (most) flying insects (Lev 11:13–23; Deut 14:11–20).

The two lists do differ, however, on several points. For example, only Deuteronomy 14 includes:

Ten specified quadrupeds – which are permitted as food (vv. 4–5).

Two positive commands – to eat only clean birds (v. 11) and clean winged creatures (v. 20).

Deuteronomy is also more restrictive than Leviticus, prohibiting consumption of all flying insects and all animals that have died naturally (14:19, 21), while Leviticus allows consumption of flying insects that have jointed legs and animals that have died naturally, if the animal is otherwise permitted as food (11:21–22, 39–40).

In addition, only Leviticus 11 includes:

Carcass contamination – a list of regulations related to contamination from touching the carcasses of certain animals (vv. 24–38).

Land Swarmers – prohibitions against consuming animals that swarm on the land (vv. 41–42).

An exhortation – to holiness (vv. 43–45).

A colophon – about the regulations (vv. 46–47).[3]

Scholars have offered three proposals for understanding the relationship between the two texts. Some argue that Leviticus 11 is an extension or elaboration of Deuteronomy 14.[4] For others, Deuteronomy 14 presents an abridged version of Leviticus 11.[5] Since each text contains material not present in the other, however, the most satisfactory explanation for the differences between them may be that both passages have elaborated on a common, earlier Vorlage (source text).[6]

While the shorter list in Deuteronomy 14 probably only slightly modifies its source,[7] Leviticus 11 significantly expands on the Vorlage, in stages, to align its regulations with Priestly ideology.

The First Stage of Editing: The Creation Story

In the first stage of expanding its Vorlage, the scribes of Leviticus focused on dietary regulations,[8] categorizing the animals in the text in accordance with the Priestly creation story, which divides the world into three spaces—land, water, and sky (Gen 1:6–10). On day 5, God creates the creatures that populate the water and sky.[9] On day 6, He creates the land creatures.[10] All three spaces have both swarming and non-swarming creatures.[11]

To anchor the dietary laws within the Priestly view of creation, the scribes of Leviticus 11 added land swarmers to its inherited list of prohibited animals:

ויקרא יא:מא וְכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ עַל הָאָרֶץ שֶׁקֶץ הוּא לֹא יֵאָכֵל. יא:מב כֹּל הוֹלֵךְ עַל גָּחוֹן וְכֹל הוֹלֵךְ עַל אַרְבַּע עַד כָּל מַרְבֵּה רַגְלַיִם לְכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ עַל הָאָרֶץ לֹא תֹאכְלוּם כִּי שֶׁקֶץ הֵם.
Lev 11:41 All the things that swarm upon the earth are an abomination; they shall not be eaten. 11:42 You shall not eat, among all things that swarm upon the earth, anything that crawls on its belly, or anything that walks on fours, or anything that has many legs; for they are an abomination.[12]

As a result, the dietary laws in Leviticus now include swarming and non-swarming land, marine, and winged creatures.[13] (See the Appendix below for the full text of chapter 11, showing the stages of expansion.)

Highlighting Sacrificial Animals

In addition, the scribes introduced a new way to categorize the prohibited animals. Deuteronomy 14 usually uses the adjective טָמֵא (tameʾ), “(ritually) unclean,” for animals that may not be eaten, as in its prohibition against consuming pork:[14]

דברים יד:ח וְאֶת הַחֲזִיר כִּי מַפְרִיס פַּרְסָה הוּא וְלֹא גֵרָה טָמֵא הוּא לָכֶם מִבְּשָׂרָם לֹא תֹאכֵלוּ וּבְנִבְלָתָם לֹא תִגָּעוּ.
Deut. 14:8 Also the swine—for although it has true hoofs, it does not bring up the cud—is unclean for you. You shall not eat of their flesh or touch their carcasses.

Leviticus 11 also uses טָמֵא, but in its food restrictions, the term applies only to (non-swarming) mammals (vv. 4–8), such as the pig:

ויקרא יא:ז וְאֶת הַחֲזִיר כִּי מַפְרִיס פַּרְסָה הוּא וְשֹׁסַע שֶׁסַע פַּרְסָה וְהוּא גֵּרָה לֹא יִגָּר טָמֵא הוּא לָכֶם.
Lev 11:7 And the swine—although it has true hoofs, with the hoofs cleft through, it does not chew the cud: it is unclean for you.

For for marine creatures (vv. 9–12), birds (vv. 13–19), flying insects (vv. 20–23), and land swarmers (vv. 41–42), on the other hand, Leviticus 11 instead uses nominal and verbal forms of the root שׁ.ק.ץ, “to detest, abominate something as ritually unclean.”[15]

For example, prohibited marine creatures are considered שֶׁקֶץ (sheqetz):[16]

ויקרא יא:י וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר אֵין לוֹ סְנַפִּיר וְקַשְׂקֶשֶׂת בַּיַּמִּים וּבַנְּחָלִים מִכֹּל שֶׁרֶץ הַמַּיִם וּמִכֹּל נֶפֶשׁ הַחַיָּה אֲשֶׁר בַּמָּיִם שֶׁקֶץ הֵם לָכֶם.
Lev 11:10 But anything in the seas or in the streams that has no fins and scales, among all the swarming things of the water and among all the other living creatures that are in the water—they are an abomination for you.

Compare this statement with Deuteronomy’s formulation of the same prohibition:

דברים יד:י וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר אֵין לוֹ סְנַפִּיר וְקַשְׂקֶשֶׂת לֹא תֹאכֵלוּ טָמֵא הוּא לָכֶם.
Deut. 14:10 But you may not eat anything that has no fins and scales: it is unclean for you.

A similar difference in terminology also occurs between the winged insects prohibitions:

ויקרא יא:כ כֹּל שֶׁרֶץ הָעוֹף הַהֹלֵךְ עַל אַרְבַּע שֶׁקֶץ הוּא לָכֶם.
Lev 11:20 All winged swarming things that walk on fours shall be an abomination for you.
דברים יד:יט וְכֹל שֶׁרֶץ הָעוֹף טָמֵא הוּא לָכֶם לֹא יֵאָכֵלוּ.
Deut 14:19 All winged swarming things are unclean for you: they may not be eaten.

Leviticus 11 thus introduces a distinction between the non-swarming and swarming land animals created on day 6.[17] By categorizing the land swarmers as שֶׁקֶץ (sheqetz, “an abomination”), and grouping them with the inedible marine and winged creatures, the scribes isolate the non-swarming land animals from all other creatures as the only group that may be designated טָהוֹר (tahor), “clean,” or טָמֵא (tameʾ), “unclean.”

Biblical scholar Lance Hawley argues that these categorization schemes serve the Priestly interest in cultic matters:

The distinction between טמא and שקץ in the first literary stratum demonstrates a distinct focus on only the בהמה [cattle] as potentially unclean animals, which indicates the close relationship between these animals and the sanctuary. It only makes sense that the Priestly authors would be primarily concerned with sacrificial practices and would seek to embed this in creation theology. Their rhetorical point is that sacrifice is founded on the principles of the cosmos. They are simply carrying out their duty as it is laid out in Genesis l.[18]

Concluding the First Version

The first version of Leviticus 11 ended with the colophon now found at the end of the chapter:

ויקרא יא:מו זֹאת תּוֹרַת הַבְּהֵמָה וְהָעוֹף וְכֹל נֶפֶשׁ הַחַיָּה הָרֹמֶשֶׂת בַּמָּיִם וּלְכָל נֶפֶשׁ הַשֹּׁרֶצֶת עַל הָאָרֶץ. יא:מז לְהַבְדִּיל בֵּין הַטָּמֵא וּבֵין הַטָּהֹר וּבֵין הַחַיָּה הַנֶּאֱכֶלֶת וּבֵין הַחַיָּה אֲשֶׁר לֹא תֵאָכֵל.
Lev 11:46 These are the instructions concerning animals, birds, all living creatures that move in water, and all creatures that swarm on earth, 11:47 for distinguishing between the unclean and the clean, between the living things that may be eaten and the living things that may not be eaten.

At a later stage of editing, the scribes add the laws in verses 24–40 and 43–45, most of which do not focus directly on prohibited or permitted animals.

The Second Stage of Editing: Carcass Contamination

Touching the carcasses of unclean mammals is prohibited early in the lists of both Leviticus and Deuteronomy:

ויקרא יא:ח מִבְּשָׂרָם לֹא תֹאכֵלוּ וּבְנִבְלָתָם לֹא תִגָּעוּ טְמֵאִים הֵם לָכֶם.
Lev 11:8 You shall not eat of their flesh or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.
דברים יד:ח ...מִבְּשָׂרָם לֹא תֹאכֵלוּ וּבְנִבְלָתָם לֹא תִגָּעוּ.
Deut 14:8 …You shall not eat of their flesh or touch their carcasses.

This prohibition was certainly part of their shared Vorlage.

At the next stage of editing (see Appendix), the scribes of Leviticus expanded upon this prohibition in a new section (vv. 24–40) that addresses the consequences of carcass contamination:

ויקרא יא:כד וּלְאֵלֶּה תִּטַּמָּאוּ כָּל הַנֹּגֵעַ בְּנִבְלָתָם יִטְמָא עַד הָעָרֶב. יא:כה וְכָל הַנֹּשֵׂא מִנִּבְלָתָם יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְטָמֵא עַד הָעָרֶב.
Lev 11:24 And the following shall make you unclean—whoever touches their carcasses shall be unclean until evening.[19] 11:25 And whoever carries the carcasses of any of them shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening.

The logic seems clear here: carrying something implies longer or more extensive contact with that object, and therefore a more comprehensive cleansing ritual is needed.

Only the carcasses of land creatures, namely mammals that are prohibited as food (vv. 24–28) and land swarmers (vv. 29–31), render a person unclean upon contact. In the latter case, even an object that touches the carcass, such as clothing, becomes unclean (vv. 32–38). Finally, carcasses of permitted animals that have died naturally also cause contamination (vv. 39–40).[20] These contamination laws are the first in a series of Priestly laws regarding ritual purity that extend through chapter 15.

Are Land Swarmers שֶׁקֶץ or טָמֵא?

The addition of the land-swarmers regulations in the second stage of editing Leviticus 11 disrupts the distinction between שֶׁקֶץ and טָמֵא that was introduced in the first stage of the text. In the first version, only non-swarming mammals are טָמֵא, while land swarmers (along with marine and winged creatures) are שֶׁקֶץ:

יא:מא וְכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ עַל הָאָרֶץ שֶׁקֶץ הוּא לֹא יֵאָכֵל.
Lev 11:41 All the things that swarm upon the earth are an abomination; they shall not be eaten.

In this first version, animals that are שֶׁקֶץ may not be eaten, but nothing is said about touching their carcasses.[21]

The additions in the second version, however, describe land swarmers as טָמֵא:

ויקרא יא:כט וְזֶה לָכֶם הַטָּמֵא בַּשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ עַל הָאָרֶץ הַחֹלֶד וְהָעַכְבָּר וְהַצָּב לְמִינֵהוּ.
Lev 11:29 The following shall be unclean for you from among the things that swarm on the earth: the mole, the mouse, and great lizards of every variety.

Not only may they not be eaten, but they also cause contamination upon contact with their carcasses (vv. 31–37). Thus verses 29–38 were likely added during the second stage of editing by a scribe who thought that these creatures should not be touched either.

The Final Stage of Editing: Holiness Legislation

The final addition to the passage (see Appendix) was probably composed by the authors of the Holiness Legislation (Lev 17–26), as it includes an exhortation to become holy:[22]

ויקרא יא:מג אַל תְּשַׁקְּצוּ אֶת נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם בְּכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ וְלֹא תִטַּמְּאוּ בָּהֶם וְנִטְמֵתֶם בָּם. יא:מד כִּי אֲנִי יְ־הוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וְהִתְקַדִּשְׁתֶּם וִהְיִיתֶם קְדֹשִׁים כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אָנִי וְלֹא תְטַמְּאוּ אֶת נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם בְּכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הָרֹמֵשׂ עַל הָאָרֶץ. יא:מה כִּי אֲנִי יְ־הוָה הַמַּעֲלֶה אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לִהְיֹת לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים וִהְיִיתֶם קְדֹשִׁים כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אָנִי.
11:43 You shall not draw abomination upon yourselves through anything that swarms; you shall not make yourselves unclean therewith and thus become unclean. 11:44 For I YHWH am your God: you shall sanctify yourselves and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not make yourselves unclean through any swarming thing that moves upon the earth. 11:45 For I YHWH am He who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God: you shall be holy, for I am holy.

The concerns in these verses parallel the Holiness Legislation later in Leviticus that links eating clean animals with holiness and being separated from other nations:[23]

ויקרא כ:כה וְהִבְדַּלְתֶּם בֵּין הַבְּהֵמָה הַטְּהֹרָה לַטְּמֵאָה וּבֵין הָעוֹף הַטָּמֵא לַטָּהֹר וְלֹא תְשַׁקְּצוּ אֶת נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם בַּבְּהֵמָה וּבָעוֹף וּבְכֹל אֲשֶׁר תִּרְמֹשׂ הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר הִבְדַּלְתִּי לָכֶם לְטַמֵּא. כ:כו וִהְיִיתֶם לִי קְדֹשִׁים כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אֲנִי יְ־הוָה וָאַבְדִּל אֶתְכֶם מִן הָעַמִּים לִהְיוֹת לִי.
Lev 20:25 So you shall set apart the clean beast from the unclean, the unclean bird from the clean. You shall not draw abomination upon yourselves through beast or bird or anything with which the ground is alive, which I have set apart for you to treat as unclean. 20:26 You shall be holy to Me, for I YHWH am holy, and I have set you apart from other peoples to be Mine.

Thus, each stage in the revision of the original Vorlage created a more “Priestly” text, formalizing its categorization scheme, grounding its theology in creation, increasing its focus on avoiding and rectifying ritual defilement, and ultimately directly associating eating and holiness.

Appendix

The Progressive Expansion of Leviticus 11

(Regular text represents the first stage, indented text the second stage, and double-indented text the third stage.)

ויקרא יא:א וַיְדַבֵּר יְ־הוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר אֲלֵהֶם.
Lev 11:1 YHWH spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them:
ויקרא יא:ב דַּבְּרוּ אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר זֹאת הַחַיָּה אֲשֶׁר תֹּאכְלוּ מִכָּל הַבְּהֵמָה אֲשֶׁר עַל הָאָרֶץ. יא:ג כֹּל מַפְרֶסֶת פַּרְסָה וְשֹׁסַעַת שֶׁסַע פְּרָסֹת מַעֲלַת גֵּרָה בַּבְּהֵמָה אֹתָהּ תֹּאכֵלוּ. יא:ד אַךְ אֶת זֶה לֹא תֹאכְלוּ מִמַּעֲלֵי הַגֵּרָה וּמִמַּפְרִיסֵי הַפַּרְסָה אֶת הַגָּמָל כִּי מַעֲלֵה גֵרָה הוּא וּפַרְסָה אֵינֶנּוּ מַפְרִיס טָמֵא הוּא לָכֶם. יא:ה וְאֶת הַשָּׁפָן כִּי מַעֲלֵה גֵרָה הוּא וּפַרְסָה לֹא יַפְרִיס טָמֵא הוּא לָכֶם. יא:ו וְאֶת הָאַרְנֶבֶת כִּי מַעֲלַת גֵּרָה הִוא וּפַרְסָה לֹא הִפְרִיסָה טְמֵאָה הִוא לָכֶם. יא:ז וְאֶת הַחֲזִיר כִּי מַפְרִיס פַּרְסָה הוּא וְשֹׁסַע שֶׁסַע פַּרְסָה וְהוּא גֵּרָה לֹא יִגָּר טָמֵא הוּא לָכֶם. יא:ח מִבְּשָׂרָם לֹא תֹאכֵלוּ וּבְנִבְלָתָם לֹא תִגָּעוּ טְמֵאִים הֵם לָכֶם.
Lev 11:2 Speak to the Israelite people thus: These are the creatures that you may eat from among all the land animals: 11:3 any animal that has true hoofs, with clefts through the hoofs, and that chews the cud—such you may eat. 11:4 The following, however, of those that either chew the cud or have true hoofs, you shall not eat: the camel—although it chews the cud, it has no true hoofs: it is unclean for you; 11:5 the daman—although it chews the cud, it has no true hoofs: it is unclean for you; 11:6 the hare—although it chews the cud, it has no true hoofs: it is unclean for you; 11:7 and the swine—although it has true hoofs, with the hoofs cleft through, it does not chew the cud: it is unclean for you. 11:8 You shall not eat of their flesh or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.
ויקרא יא:ט אֶת זֶה תֹּאכְלוּ מִכֹּל אֲשֶׁר בַּמָּיִם כֹּל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ סְנַפִּיר וְקַשְׂקֶשֶׂת בַּמַּיִם בַּיַּמִּים וּבַנְּחָלִים אֹתָם תֹּאכֵלוּ. יא:י וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר אֵין לוֹ סְנַפִּיר וְקַשְׂקֶשֶׂת בַּיַּמִּים וּבַנְּחָלִים מִכֹּל שֶׁרֶץ הַמַּיִם וּמִכֹּל נֶפֶשׁ הַחַיָּה אֲשֶׁר בַּמָּיִם שֶׁקֶץ הֵם לָכֶם. יא:יא וְשֶׁקֶץ יִהְיוּ לָכֶם מִבְּשָׂרָם לֹא תֹאכֵלוּ וְאֶת נִבְלָתָם תְּשַׁקֵּצוּ. יא:יב כֹּל אֲשֶׁר אֵין לוֹ סְנַפִּיר וְקַשְׂקֶשֶׂת בַּמָּיִם שֶׁקֶץ הוּא לָכֶם.
Lev 11:9 These you may eat of all that live in water: anything in water, whether in the seas or in the streams, that has fins and scales—these you may eat. 11:10 But anything in the seas or in the streams that has no fins and scales, among all the swarming things of the water and among all the other living creatures that are in the water—they are an abomination for you 11:11 and an abomination for you they shall remain: you shall not eat of their flesh and you shall abominate their carcasses. 11:12 Everything in water that has no fins and scales shall be an abomination for you.
ויקרא יא:יג וְאֶת אֵלֶּה תְּשַׁקְּצוּ מִן הָעוֹף לֹא יֵאָכְלוּ שֶׁקֶץ הֵם אֶת הַנֶּשֶׁר וְאֶת הַפֶּרֶס וְאֵת הָעָזְנִיָּה. יא:יד וְאֶת הַדָּאָה וְאֶת הָאַיָּה לְמִינָהּ. יא:טו אֵת כָּל עֹרֵב לְמִינוֹ. יא:טז וְאֵת בַּת הַיַּעֲנָה וְאֶת הַתַּחְמָס וְאֶת הַשָּׁחַף וְאֶת הַנֵּץ לְמִינֵהוּ. יא:יז וְאֶת הַכּוֹס וְאֶת הַשָּׁלָךְ וְאֶת הַיַּנְשׁוּף. יא:יח וְאֶת הַתִּנְשֶׁמֶת וְאֶת הַקָּאָת וְאֶת הָרָחָם. יא:יט וְאֵת הַחֲסִידָה הָאֲנָפָה לְמִינָהּ וְאֶת הַדּוּכִיפַת וְאֶת הָעֲטַלֵּף.
Lev 11:13 The following you shall abominate among the birds—they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, and the black vulture; 11:14 the kite, falcons of every variety; 11:15 all varieties of raven; 11:16 the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull; hawks of every variety; 11:17 the little owl, the cormorant, and the great owl; 11:18 the white owl, the pelican, and the bustard; 11:19 the stork; herons of every variety; the hoopoe, and the bat.
ויקרא יא:כ כֹּל שֶׁרֶץ הָעוֹף הַהֹלֵךְ עַל אַרְבַּע שֶׁקֶץ הוּא לָכֶם. יא:כא אַךְ אֶת זֶה תֹּאכְלוּ מִכֹּל שֶׁרֶץ הָעוֹף הַהֹלֵךְ עַל אַרְבַּע אֲשֶׁר לֹא כְרָעַיִם מִמַּעַל לְרַגְלָיו לְנַתֵּר בָּהֵן עַל הָאָרֶץ. יא:כב אֶת אֵלֶּה מֵהֶם תֹּאכֵלוּ אֶת הָאַרְבֶּה לְמִינוֹ וְאֶת הַסָּלְעָם לְמִינֵהוּ וְאֶת הַחַרְגֹּל לְמִינֵהוּ וְאֶת הֶחָגָב לְמִינֵהוּ. יא:כג וְכֹל שֶׁרֶץ הָעוֹף אֲשֶׁר לוֹ אַרְבַּע רַגְלָיִם שֶׁקֶץ הוּא לָכֶם.
Lev 11:20 All winged swarming things that walk on fours shall be an abomination for you.11:21 But these you may eat among all the winged swarming things that walk on fours: all that have, above their feet, jointed legs to leap with on the ground— 11:22 of these you may eat the following: locusts of every variety; all varieties of bald locust; crickets of every variety; and all varieties of grasshopper. 11:23 But all other winged swarming things that have four legs shall be an abomination for you.
ויקרא יא:כד וּלְאֵלֶּה תִּטַּמָּאוּ כָּל הַנֹּגֵעַ בְּנִבְלָתָם יִטְמָא עַד הָעָרֶב. יא:כה וְכָל הַנֹּשֵׂא מִנִּבְלָתָם יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְטָמֵא עַד הָעָרֶב. יא:כו לְכָל הַבְּהֵמָה אֲשֶׁר הִוא מַפְרֶסֶת פַּרְסָה וְשֶׁסַע אֵינֶנָּה שֹׁסַעַת וְגֵרָה אֵינֶנָּה מַעֲלָה טְמֵאִים הֵם לָכֶם כָּל הַנֹּגֵעַ בָּהֶם יִטְמָא. יא:כז וְכֹל הוֹלֵךְ עַל כַּפָּיו בְּכָל הַחַיָּה הַהֹלֶכֶת עַל אַרְבַּע טְמֵאִים הֵם לָכֶם כָּל הַנֹּגֵעַ בְּנִבְלָתָם יִטְמָא עַד הָעָרֶב. יא:כח וְהַנֹּשֵׂא אֶת נִבְלָתָם יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְטָמֵא עַד הָעָרֶב טְמֵאִים הֵמָּה לָכֶם.
Lev 11:24 And the following shall make you unclean—whoever touches their carcasses shall be unclean until evening, 11:25 and whoever carries the carcasses of any of them shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening— 11:26 every animal that has true hoofs but without clefts through the hoofs, or that does not chew the cud. They are unclean for you; whoever touches them shall be unclean. 11:27 Also all animals that walk on paws, among those that walk on fours, are unclean for you; whoever touches their carcasses shall be unclean until evening. 11:28 And anyone who carries their carcasses shall wash his clothes and remain unclean until evening. They are unclean for you.
ויקרא יא:כט וְזֶה לָכֶם הַטָּמֵא בַּשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ עַל הָאָרֶץ הַחֹלֶד וְהָעַכְבָּר וְהַצָּב לְמִינֵהוּ. יא:ל וְהָאֲנָקָה וְהַכֹּחַ וְהַלְּטָאָה וְהַחֹמֶט וְהַתִּנְשָׁמֶת. יא:לא אֵלֶּה הַטְּמֵאִים לָכֶם בְּכָל הַשָּׁרֶץ כָּל הַנֹּגֵעַ בָּהֶם בְּמֹתָם יִטְמָא עַד הָעָרֶב. יא:לב וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר יִפֹּל עָלָיו מֵהֶם בְּמֹתָם יִטְמָא מִכָּל כְּלִי עֵץ אוֹ בֶגֶד אוֹ עוֹר אוֹ שָׂק כָּל כְּלִי אֲשֶׁר יֵעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה בָּהֶם בַּמַּיִם יוּבָא וְטָמֵא עַד הָעֶרֶב וְטָהֵר. יא:לג וְכָל כְּלִי חֶרֶשׂ אֲשֶׁר יִפֹּל מֵהֶם אֶל תּוֹכוֹ כֹּל אֲשֶׁר בְּתוֹכוֹ יִטְמָא וְאֹתוֹ תִשְׁבֹּרוּ. יא:לד מִכָּל הָאֹכֶל אֲשֶׁר יֵאָכֵל אֲשֶׁר יָבוֹא עָלָיו מַיִם יִטְמָא וְכָל מַשְׁקֶה אֲשֶׁר יִשָּׁתֶה בְּכָל כְּלִי יִטְמָא. יא:לה וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר יִפֹּל מִנִּבְלָתָם עָלָיו יִטְמָא תַּנּוּר וְכִירַיִם יֻתָּץ טְמֵאִים הֵם וּטְמֵאִים יִהְיוּ לָכֶם. יא:לו אַךְ מַעְיָן וּבוֹר מִקְוֵה מַיִם יִהְיֶה טָהוֹר וְנֹגֵעַ בְּנִבְלָתָם יִטְמָא. יא:לז וְכִי יִפֹּל מִנִּבְלָתָם עַל כָּל זֶרַע זֵרוּעַ אֲשֶׁר יִזָּרֵעַ טָהוֹר הוּא. יא:לח וְכִי יֻתַּן מַיִם עַל זֶרַע וְנָפַל מִנִּבְלָתָם עָלָיו טָמֵא הוּא לָכֶם.
Lev 11:29 The following shall be unclean for you from among the things that swarm on the earth: the mole, the mouse, and great lizards of every variety; 11:30 the gecko, the land crocodile, the lizard, the sand lizard, and the chameleon. 11:31 Those are for you the unclean among all the swarming things; whoever touches them when they are dead shall be unclean until evening. 11:32 And anything on which one of them falls when dead shall be unclean: be it any article of wood, or a cloth, or a skin, or a sack—any such article that can be put to use shall be dipped in water, and it shall remain unclean until evening; then it shall be clean. 11:33 And if any of those falls into an earthen vessel, everything inside it shall be unclean and [the vessel] itself you shall break. 11:34 As to any food that may be eaten, it shall become unclean if it came in contact with water; as to any liquid that may be drunk, it shall become unclean if it was inside any vessel. 11:35 Everything on which the carcass of any of them falls shall be unclean: an oven or stove shall be smashed. They are unclean and unclean they shall remain for you. 11:36 However, a spring or cistern in which water is collected shall be clean, but whoever touches such a carcass in it shall be unclean. 11:37 If such a carcass falls upon seed grain that is to be sown, it is clean; 11:38 but if water is put on the seed and any part of a carcass falls upon it, it shall be unclean for you.
ויקרא יא:לט וְכִי יָמוּת מִן הַבְּהֵמָה אֲשֶׁר הִיא לָכֶם לְאָכְלָה הַנֹּגֵעַ בְּנִבְלָתָהּ יִטְמָא עַד הָעָרֶב. יא:מ וְהָאֹכֵל מִנִּבְלָתָהּ יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְטָמֵא עַד הָעָרֶב וְהַנֹּשֵׂא אֶת נִבְלָתָהּ יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְטָמֵא עַד הָעָרֶב.
Lev 11:39 If an animal that you may eat has died, anyone who touches its carcass shall be unclean until evening; 11:40 anyone who eats of its carcass shall wash his clothes and remain unclean until evening; and anyone who carries its carcass shall wash his clothes and remain unclean until evening.
ויקרא יא:מא וְכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ עַל הָאָרֶץ שֶׁקֶץ הוּא לֹא יֵאָכֵל. יא:מב כֹּל הוֹלֵךְ עַל גָּחוֹן וְכֹל הוֹלֵךְ עַל אַרְבַּע עַד כָּל מַרְבֵּה רַגְלַיִם לְכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ עַל הָאָרֶץ לֹא תֹאכְלוּם כִּי שֶׁקֶץ הֵם.
Lev 11:41 All the things that swarm upon the earth are an abomination; they shall not be eaten. 11:42 You shall not eat, among all things that swarm upon the earth, anything that crawls on its belly, or anything that walks on fours, or anything that has many legs; for they are an abomination.
ויקרא יא:מג אַל תְּשַׁקְּצוּ אֶת נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם בְּכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ וְלֹא תִטַּמְּאוּ בָּהֶם וְנִטְמֵתֶם בָּם. יא:מד כִּי אֲנִי יְ־הוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וְהִתְקַדִּשְׁתֶּם וִהְיִיתֶם קְדֹשִׁים כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אָנִי וְלֹא תְטַמְּאוּ אֶת נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם בְּכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הָרֹמֵשׂ עַל הָאָרֶץ. יא:מה כִּי אֲנִי יְ־הוָה הַמַּעֲלֶה אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לִהְיֹת לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים וִהְיִיתֶם קְדֹשִׁים כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אָנִי.
Lev 11:43 You shall not draw abomination upon yourselves through anything that swarms; you shall not make yourselves unclean therewith and thus become unclean. 11:44 For I YHWH am your God: you shall sanctify yourselves and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not make yourselves unclean through any swarming thing that moves upon the earth. 11:45 For I YHWH am He who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God: you shall be holy, for I am holy.
ויקרא יא:מו זֹאת תּוֹרַת הַבְּהֵמָה וְהָעוֹף וְכֹל נֶפֶשׁ הַחַיָּה הָרֹמֶשֶׂת בַּמָּיִם וּלְכָל נֶפֶשׁ הַשֹּׁרֶצֶת עַל הָאָרֶץ. יא:מז לְהַבְדִּיל בֵּין הַטָּמֵא וּבֵין הַטָּהֹר וּבֵין הַחַיָּה הַנֶּאֱכֶלֶת וּבֵין הַחַיָּה אֲשֶׁר לֹא תֵאָכֵל.
Lev 11:46 These are the instructions concerning animals, birds, all living creatures that move in water, and all creatures that swarm on earth, 11:47 for distinguishing between the unclean and the clean, between the living things that may be eaten and the living things that may not be eaten.

Published

April 13, 2023

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Last Updated

February 26, 2024

Footnotes

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Prof. Esias E. Meyer is an Associate Professor at the University of Pretoria in the Department of Old Testament and Hebrew Scriptures. He holds a D.Th. in Old Testament Studies from Stellenbosch University. He started lecturing at UP in 2010, and before that he was a minister in a reformed congregation near Cape Town. His research is focused on Leviticus and the Pentateuch. He is the author of The Jubilee in Leviticus 25: A Theological Ethical Interpretation from a South African Perspective (2005).