Sunday, April 25, 2010

Acharei Mot-Kedoshim: Startling omissions

Here are a couple of things that I noticed this year for the first time:

  • Parshat Acharei Mot: In Leviticus chapter 18, verses 6-21, the enumeration of anti-incest laws, there's no mention whatsoever of the most obvious form of incest--there's no directly-stated prohibition against a father having sex with his daughter. Sure, it's common sense and common decency to avoid such a heinous act, but so are all the other enumerated "forbidden relationships."
  • Parshat Kedoshim: In Leviticus chapter 19, verses 20-22, the Torah says that, if a man has sex with a female slave who's engaged to a male slave, neither of the offenders has to be put to death, but the man has to bring a guilt offering to be sacrificed by the priest. On the one hand, I'm happy to hear that such an act didn't incur the death penalty. On the other hand, the callous disregard for the welfare of the woman in question is positively--or negatively--breathtaking. Of what compensation was it to the woman to have a sacrifice brought to the priest?


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