Torah Portion

Kedoshim

קדושים

Leviticus 19:1-20:27
Ezekiel 22:1-16

Between Holy and Mundane: The Development of the Term Havdalah

Between Holy and Mundane: The Development of the Term Havdalah

In pre-exilic texts, לְהַבְדִּיל lehavdil means “to select, appoint, designate.” In the Priestly text, the term is used to refer to physical separation, while in the Holiness Text, it takes on an abstract meaning, to distinguish between objects and people in a cultic sense. The book of Ezra uses a new form of the term, לְהִבָּדֵל lehibbadel, to urge separating from non-Jews, prompting Trito-Isaiah to argue against separating (lehavdil) any faithful person from YHWH and His Temple.

Dr.
Attila Marossy
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Why Does the Bible Prohibit Marrying a Father’s Wife?

Why Does the Bible Prohibit Marrying a Father’s Wife?

Ancient Near Eastern law collections do not unequivocally prohibit a son from marrying his father's wife, and neither do modern incest laws. And yet, the Bible repeats this prohibition multiple times. Six reasons why.

Dr.
Hilary Lipka
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Does the Bible Believe in the Evil Eye?

Does the Bible Believe in the Evil Eye?

The belief in the power of an angry or jealous person’s eye to damage others was pervasive in the ancient Near East, in Jewish antiquity, and medieval times. But what does the Bible say?

Dr.
Nicole L. Tilford
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Tattoos - What Exactly Is Prohibited?

Tattoos - What Exactly Is Prohibited?

It is widely assumed that the Torah prohibits all tattoos. And yet, a look at the verse in context yields alternative understandings.

Dr.
David Bernat
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Speaking Truth to Power, Job Accuses God of Being Unjust

Speaking Truth to Power, Job Accuses God of Being Unjust

Job's friends piously justify God's actions and challenge Job to accept that he has done wrong. Yet God sides with Job and rebukes the friends for not “speaking about me in honesty as did my servant Job.”

Prof.
Edward L. Greenstein
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Terms of Taboo: What Is the Moral Basis for the Sexual Prohibitions?

Terms of Taboo: What Is the Moral Basis for the Sexual Prohibitions?

Leviticus 18 and 20 condemn sexual sins using several harsh terms; toevah, zimmah, chesed, tevel. Do these terms have specific meanings and what do they tell us about the Torah’s reason for forbidding incest?

Dr.
Yitzhaq Feder
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Love Your Neighbor: How It Became the Golden Rule

Love Your Neighbor: How It Became the Golden Rule

The biblical precept “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” has long been understood in Jewish and Christian circles as universal, a transcendent principle encompassing the whole Torah. However, in Leviticus, it is actually one of many action-oriented commandments focused on Israelite social cohesion.

Prof.
John J. Collins
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Bestiality in Biblical and Hittite Law

Bestiality in Biblical and Hittite Law

Only two law collections in the ancient Near East discuss bestiality: the Torah and the Hittite laws. How do these laws differ, and what motivated them?

Dr.
Ilan Peled
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Poetic Laws

Poetic Laws

A fresh look at the legislation in Parashat Kedoshim: Are we reading the legal details wrong? 

Dr.
Jason Gaines
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Gleanings for the Poor – Justice, Not Charity

Gleanings for the Poor – Justice, Not Charity

The agricultural allocations for the poor outlined in Leviticus and Deuteronomy are a series of negative commandments, in which God forbids Israelite householders from gathering some of their produce and requires them to leave it for the poor. The rabbis took these laws a step further, granting the poor property rights over the allocations even before they are gathered.

Dr.
Gregg E. Gardner
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The Priestly Repudiation of Yibbum

The Priestly Repudiation of Yibbum

Deuteronomy commands a man to marry the childless widow of his brother (yibbum). And yet, a close look at the Priestly text of the Torah shows that it did not have the option of yibbum.

Dr. Hacham
Isaac S. D. Sassoon
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The Law of Fourth-Year Fruit: Restraining the Ancient Vintage Celebration

The Law of Fourth-Year Fruit: Restraining the Ancient Vintage Celebration

Ancient Israel had two separate customs relating to vineyards and wine that took place during the time of vintage: a fertility rite (חילול) that marked the first use of a vineyard’s produce, and an annual vintage celebration (הילולים) in which the winegrowers praised God for their harvest. As the rites seem to have been wild, the law of ‘orla and the fourth year produce (רבעי) in Lev. 19:23-25 attempts to restrict them.

Prof.
Itamar Kislev
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The Inner Workings of a Genizah Midrash on the Symbolic Value of Orlah

The Inner Workings of a Genizah Midrash on the Symbolic Value of Orlah

A set of homilies from the Genizah connects two biblical readings (sidrot) in Leviticus by emphasizing the importance of the mitzvah of orlah as a key to inheriting and remaining on the land.

Dr.
Shana Strauch-Schick
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Tova Sacher
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Sexual Prohibitions in the Bible and the ANE: A Comparison

Sexual Prohibitions in the Bible and the ANE: A Comparison

How do the laws of Leviticus 18 compare to the laws and practices of the Babylonians, Hittites, and Egyptians, and to the rest of the Bible?

Dr.
Eve Levavi Feinstein
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Paying Workers Immediately or Within Twelve Hours?

Paying Workers Immediately or Within Twelve Hours?

Leviticus 19:13 and Deuteronomy 24:14 insist that workers be paid without delay. The Talmud, however, interprets these two verses in a way that actually delays paying the workers. Rashbam and Ramban, reassert the peshat (plain meaning), thereby preserving the intent of the law.

Prof. Rabbi
Marty Lockshin
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Kedoshim

קדושים

Leviticus 19:1-20:27

לֹא תְקַלֵּל חֵרֵשׁ וְלִפְנֵי עִוֵּר לֹא תִתֵּן מִכְשֹׁל

ויקרא יט:יד

You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind.

Lev 19:14

Leviticus

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