Principles of Torah Commandments

Kedushah (Holiness)

Holiness = "to set apart"

Divinity requires boundaries

Examples: the Sabbath, certain foods, people at certain times

Prohibition against worshipping other G-ds

Prohibitions against images of G-d

Purity (Tahor)

1) Ritual purity

--Sources of impurity are natural (blood, semen, corpses) and unavoidable

--Impurity imparts a kind of impermanent contagion that must be removed

--Purpose is to safeguard boundaries of the sacred (the set apart)

--G-d is allergic to certain pollutants that are the most un-G-dlike

--One should approach the sacred in the state most near to G-d

2) Moral purity

moral impurity = acts so heinous that they are defiling

--poses threat to the land of Israel

--is not contagious

--rectification consists of penance and atonement

--does not define the sanctuary

--nevertheless, G-d finds these behaviors so heinous that His Presence may be withdrawn from the land

Life Belongs to God

Blood is life

Whoever sheds blood has taken the place of G-d

Animals may be eaten, but their blood must be drained

Money cannot atone for life

Everything has its place

That which can't be categorized should be avoided

Humans should not mix elements (a version of creation)

Remember the Stranger

Foreigners are not to be enslaved or oppressed

Everyone has rights

The poor have rights to gleanings and the "corners of the fields"

The land has the right to rest (and so do animals)

The land belongs to G-d

G-d assigns the land to the tribes; one doesn't "own" it