Friday, August 2, 2013

Parshas Re'eh - Jews Don't Drink Blood

What struck me when I read through the parsha was the number of times it instructs us not to eat/drink an animal's blood when we slaughter it.
"But you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it onto the earth, like water." (Deuteronomy 12:16) 
"Only be strong not to eat the blood - for the blood, it is the life - and you call not eat the life with the meat. You shall not eat it, you shall pour it onto the ground like water. You shall not eat it, in order that it be well with you and your children after you, when you do what is right in the eyes of G-d." (Deuteronomy 12: 23-25) 
"However you shall not eat its blood; you shall pour it onto the ground like water." (Deuteronomy 15: 23)
It's interesting to see this command listed three times in this parsha alone (also mentioned in Leviticus as well, I do not know about the other books). It seems obvious to us not to drink blood, but at the same time Jews have a terrible "Blood Libel" that has followed us throughout history even into recent times. It's strange that so many Jews have been murdered over something that was obviously false.

This command is also important when we think about kosher meats (this parsha also talks about the different animals/birds/fish that are/n't kosher). We salt our meats - chicken, beef - to make sure that we draw out all the blood out of the animal's meat before we eat it. Aside from the special way we kill our animals, salting is another action that we take to make sure the meat is kosher.

See a history of the "Blood Libel" here.

Rabbi Sacks: COVENANT & CONVERSATION: Re’eh – Judaism’s Social Vision

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