eviticus 19 cannot be defined as a regular section of Tanach as it has such strong meanings
in what it has to say. It covers everything from respecting your parents to tattooing and piercing. It says what you should do and what should do and what you should not do.
eviticus 19 raises many questions and answers many other questions. I asked my mom if
this text raised any questions and she said “the difficulty in trying to obey God’s laws everyday life.” She said an example would be tattooing and piercing. It seems like the social norm for women today to get their ears pierced and for some men to get tattoos. The fact of the matter is that in verse 28, “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor imprint any marks upon you”, if you get a tattoo or piercing, you cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery.
The sad part is that 14% of the American population has a piercing other than the ear lobe
(statisticbrain.com). Also, as of 2012, 14% of the American population has tattoos as well
(statisticbrain.com). The main question it raised for me is in verse 26 “You shall not eat with the blood; neither shall you practice divination nor soothsaying.” I know we should not perform any kind of sacrifices because it can be recognized as idolatry; however, did the Jews perform sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem? The text answered many questions as well. The main answer it provided for my mom was “God wants us to observe all of his statutes and ordinances and as long as we try our best, we will be considered good Jews.” She got this angle because from almost every verse there was a way to say “because I said so.” If we did not try our best, God would punish us. The main answer it raised for me was the fact that there is a lot we cannot do; however, most of the things we cannot do would harm others.
This includes stealing and “putting a stumbling block in front of the blind.”
This text relates to my life in many ways. For one, I do not have any tattoos or piercings and I try to abstain from getting any of them. Another one is fact is that I have never gossiped in my life. It says that gossip is equal to murder because it is character assassination. I try to avoid gossip at all costs. One last way it relates to my life is that the quote “And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family” is on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, the town I was born in
(ushistory.org). The way it relates to my mom is “I try to be a good person and I try my hardest to obey God’s statutes and ordinances.” She considers herself a good Jew, but could always be a better one. She always tries to go to Shabbat services, but it always my fault that we do not get to go.
There are a few life lessons reflected in Leviticus 19. One is the entire verse 14 “You should not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but you should fear your God.”
The fact of the matter is that no one should in any circumstances “Curse the deaf” or “Put a stumblingblock before the blind.” This would really harm people with disabilities. The reality is that you really should fear your God. This is because he/she can control how your life turns out. If you steal, gossip, bear false witness, etc, it will turn out badly. My mom’s opinion was slightly different than mine. She believed the main lesson was that “You should love, respect,
and treat as you do yourself.” She went on to say “I feel that the statutes and ordinances are righteous and just, but are not always followed by people over the centuries.” One example of this was Nazi Germany. The…