In this era of progressing socially acceptable moral depravity, perhaps it is a good time, at the risk of losing some of my illustrious readers, to address this topic? These laws are presented in this week’s Torah portion. It is most probably no coincidence that they are presented in the weeks prior to Yom Kippur when the observant Jew stands before his God and begs to be included in the coming year’s roster and must answer to his sins in the year that just passed.
Jerome S. Kaufman
LAWS OB FORBIDDEN RELATIONS
From the Hebrew Bible (The Five Books of Moses)
Book Three – Vayikra (Leviticus), Parshas Acharei, 18:1 Read at the Yom Kippur Mincha service
God spoke to Moshe, saying: “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘I am your God’.”
“Do not follow the practices of the land of Egypt where you lived. And do not follow the practices of the land of Cana’an, where I am bringing you (for these two nations are the most depraved of all). Do not (even) follow their customs.”
“You should fulfill My rational laws, and guard My suprarational commands and (always) their (wisdom, and not secular wisdom). I am God, your God. “You should guard My commands and My rational laws which a man should do, and you will live by them (in the next world for) I am God (who is faithful to pay reward).”
No man (or woman) may come near to any of his (or her) close relatives, to uncover their nakedness (and co-habit with them). I am God (who is faithful to pay reward).
You must not uncover the nakedness of your fathers wife or the nakedness of your mother ( if she is not your father’s wife. Since she is your mother, you must not uncover her nakedness.
You must not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife (even after death, since) it is your father’s (wife’s) nakedness.
You must not uncover your sister’s nakedness, (whether) she is your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, (and regardless of whether) she is born to a woman who may remain in the home or (if she is) born to a woman who must be expelled.
You must not uncover the nakedness of the daughter of your son or daughter (who was born from a forbidden relationship), for they are (like) your own nakedness.
You must not uncover the nakedness of your father’s (Jewish) wife’s daughter, born to your father (because) she is your sister.
You must not uncover the nakedness of your father’s sister (because she is the close relative of your father.
You must not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister, because she is the close relative of your mother.
You must not uncover the nakedness of your father’s brother, (namely) you must not come near his wife, (because) she is your aunt
You must not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife so must not uncover her nakedness.
You must not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife (for she) is your brother’s nakedness.
You must not uncover the nakedness of a woman (to whom you are married) and her daughter.
You must not take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter (in marriage) to uncover her nakedness. It is the advice (of the evil inclination since) they are close relatives.
“You must not take a woman (in marriage) in addition to her sister, to make them rivals by uncovering one’s nakedness in addition to the other’s. (Even if you divorce one sister, you not marry the other one) in her lifetime.
“You must not come near a woman during the ritual impurity of her menstruation, to uncover her nakedness.
“You must not lie carnally with your fellowman’s wife, to make yourself impure with her.
“You must not give any of your offspring (to pagan priests) to pass through between two bonfires, in worship of the pagan deity) Molech. You must not profane the Name of your God. I am God.
“You must not lie down with a man, as one lies with a woman. This is an abomination”
“You must not cohabit with any animal, to become impure from it. A woman must not stand in front of an animal to cohabit with it. This is depravity.
“You must not defile yourselves by any of these things, for the nations whom I am sending away from you have defiled themselves with all these things. The land became defiled. I remembered its sin (bringing punishment) upon it, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.
“But you will observe My suprarational commands and My rational commands, and you will not do any of these abominations — neither the native, nor the convert who lives among you.
“The people of the land who preceeded you, did all of these abominations and the land became defiled. Let the land not vomit you out for having defiled it, as it vomited out the nation that preceded you. For if anyone commits any of these abominations, (both) the people (the man and the woman who committed (the act) will be cut off from the midst of their people.
“(The courts should) enforce My restrictions, not to commit any of the abominable practices that were done before you, and you will not become defiled by them.
(If you keep My laws then) I am God your God.
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