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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad


Acharei mot 29-5

After dying

Leviticus 17:8 – 18:5

And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’ Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘No one among you shall eat blood, nor shall any stranger who dwells among you eat blood.’

Lev. 17:10, 12 NKJV

From which people may the stranger be cut off?

The context of the prohibition of eating blood shows that it is related to the cult of demons. The Torah repeats this prohibition several times and also the consequence of disobedience, which shows that this is a very important and serious issue.

Now, this text teaches us that the foreigner – in Hebrew ger, גר – may be cut off from his people if he disobeys this commandment. This foreigner who lives among the sons of Israel is counted as a member of the people of Israel and therefore karetכרת, being cut off from his people – doesn't mean from the people he was originally from. In this case, the ger is one that has entered in the people because of the covenant of circumcision. For this reason, he could be cut off from his people, the people of Israel.

On the other hand, we see that the Torah doesn't include him in the group called "house of Israel" and "sons of Israel". There is the house of Israel, the sons of Israel, and there is the other group, the foreigners (converts), the gerim. This teaches us that gentiles who have entered the covenant of circumcision are a people with Israel, but are not considered sons of Israel or house of Israel. But they are part of the same people, because if they weren't counted as part of the people, they couldn't be cut off from their people.

The same laws apply both to the sons of Israel and to the gerim – foreigners who converted to enter into the covenant of circumcision (Ex. 12:48-49). All the commandments of the Torah apply only to those in the covenant of circumcision.

Blessings,

Ketriel


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