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English Translation


[You Shall Be] Holy

Translation from The Torah: A Modern Commentary (CCAR Press)

English translation of the Torah portion Kdoshim in the Book of Leviticus

19:1] The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: 2] Speak to the whole Israelite community and say to them:

You shall be holy, for I, the Eternal your God, am holy.

3] You shall each revere your mother and your father, and keep My sabbaths: I the Eternal am your God.

4] Do not turn to idols or make molten gods for yourselves: I the Eternal am your God.

5] When you sacrifice an offering of well-being to the Eternal, sacrifice it so that it may be accepted on your behalf. 6] It shall be eaten on the day you sacrifice it, or on the day following; but what is left by the third day must be consumed in fire. 7] If it should be eaten on the third day, it is an offensive thing, it will not be acceptable. 8] And one who eats of it shall bear the guilt for having profaned what is sacred to the Eternal; that person shall be cut off from kin.

9] When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10] You shall not pick your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I the Eternal am your God.

11] You shall not steal; you shall not deal deceitfully or falsely with one another. 12] You shall not swear falsely by My name, profaning the name of your God: I am the Eternal.

13] You shall not defraud your fellow [Israelite]. You shall not commit robbery. The wages of a laborer shall not remain with you until morning.

14] You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind. You shall fear your God: I am the Eternal.

15] You shall not render an unfair decision: do not favor the poor or show deference to the rich; judge your kin fairly. 16] Do not deal basely with members of your people. Do not profit by the blood of your fellow [Israelite]: I am the Eternal.

17] You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart. Reprove your kin but incur no guilt on their account. 18] You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against members of your people. Love your fellow [Israelite] as yourself: I am the Eternal.

19] You shall observe My laws.

You shall not let your cattle mate with a different kind; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed; you shall not put on cloth from a mixture of two kinds of material.

20] If a man has carnal relations with a woman who is a slave and has been designated for another man, but has not been redeemed or given her freedom, there shall be an indemnity; they shall not, however, be put to death, since she has not been freed. 21] But he must bring to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, as his reparation offering to the Eternal, a ram of reparation offering. 22] With the ram of reparation offering the priest shall make expiation for him before the Eternal for the sin that he committed; and the sin that he committed will be forgiven him.

23] When you enter the land and plant any tree for food, you shall regard its fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden for you, not to be eaten. 24] In the fourth year all its fruit shall be set aside for jubilation before the Eternal; 25] and only in the fifth year may you use its fruit—that its yield to you may be increased: I the Eternal am your God.

26] You shall not eat anything with its blood. You shall not practice divination or soothsaying. 27] You [men] shall not round off the side-growth on your head, or destroy the side-growth of your beard. 28] You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves: I am the Eternal.

29] Do not degrade your daughter and make her a harlot, lest the land fall into harlotry and the land be filled with depravity. 30] You shall keep My sabbaths and venerate My sanctuary: I am the Eternal.

31] Do not turn to ghosts and do not inquire of familiar spirits, to be defiled by them: I the Eternal am your God.

32] You shall rise before the aged and show deference to the old; you shall fear your God: I am the Eternal.

33] When strangers reside with you in your land, you shall not wrong them. 34] The strangers who reside with you shall be to you as your citizens; you shall love each one as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I the Eternal am your God.

35] You shall not falsify measures of length, weight, or capacity. 36] You shall have an honest balance, honest weights, an honest eifah, and an honest hin.

I the Eternal am your God who freed you from the land of Egypt. 37] You shall faithfully observe all My laws and all My rules: I am the Eternal.

20:1] And the Eternal One spoke to Moses: 2] Say further to the Israelite people:

Anyone among the Israelites, or among the strangers residing in Israel, who gives any offspring to Molech, shall be put to death; the people of the land shall pelt the person with stones. 3] And I will set My face against that person, whom I will cut off from among the people for having given offspring to Molech and so defiled My sanctuary and profaned My holy name. 4] And if the people of the land should shut their eyes to that person’s giving offspring to Molech, and should not put the person to death, 5] I Myself will set My face against that person’s kin as well; and I will cut off from among their people both that person and all who follow in going astray after Molech. 6] And if any person turns to ghosts and familiar spirits and goes astray after them, I will set My face against that person, whom I will cut off from among the people.

7] You shall sanctify yourselves and be holy, for I the Eternal am your God. 8] You shall faithfully observe My laws: I the Eternal make you holy.

9] If anyone insults either father or mother, that person shall be put to death; that person has insulted father and mother—and retains the bloodguilt.

10] If a man commits adultery with another’s wife—committing adultery with the wife of his fellow [Israelite]—the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death. 11] If a man lies with his father’s wife, it is the nakedness of his father that he has uncovered; the two shall be put to death—and they retain the bloodguilt. 12] If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall be put to death; they have committed incest—and they retain the bloodguilt. 13] If a man lies with a male as one lies with a woman, the two of them have done an abhorrent thing; they shall be put to death—and they retain the bloodguilt. 14] If a man marries a woman and her mother, it is depravity; both he and they shall be put to the fire, that there be no depravity among you. 15] If a man has carnal relations with a beast, he shall be put to death; and you shall kill the beast. 16] If a woman approaches any beast to mate with it, you shall kill the woman and the beast; they shall be put to death—and they retain the bloodguilt.

17] If a man marries his sister, the daughter of either his father or his mother, so that he sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace; they shall be excommunicated in the sight of their kinsfolk. He has uncovered the nakedness of his sister, he shall bear the guilt. 18] If a man lies with a woman during her menstrual condition and uncovers her nakedness, he has laid bare her flow and she has exposed her blood flow; both of them shall be cut off from among their people. 19] You [males] shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister or of your father’s sister, for that is laying bare one’s own flesh; they shall bear their guilt. 20] If a man lies with his uncle’s wife, it is his uncle’s nakedness that he has uncovered. They shall bear their guilt: they shall die childless. 21] If a man marries the wife of his brother, it is indecency. It is the nakedness of his brother that he has uncovered; they shall remain childless.

22] You shall faithfully observe all My laws and all My regulations, lest the land to which I bring you to settle in spew you out. 23] You shall not follow the practices of the nation that I am driving out before you. For it is because they did all these things that I abhorred them 24] and said to you: You shall possess their land, for I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey. I the Eternal am your God who has set you apart from other peoples. 25] So you shall set apart the pure beast from the impure, the impure bird from the pure. You shall not draw abomination upon yourselves through beast or bird or anything with which the ground is alive, which I have set apart for you to treat as impure. 26] You shall be holy to Me, for I the Eternal am holy, and I have set you apart from other peoples to be Mine.

27] A man or a woman who has a ghost or a familiar spirit shall be put to death; they shall be pelted with stones—and they shall retain the bloodguilt.

Translation from The Torah: A Modern Commentary, copyright (c) 2016 by CCAR Press. All rights reserved. Translation of Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; Deuteronomy from NJPS © 1962, 1985, 1999; CJPS © 2006. Used and adapted by CCAR Press with permission from The Jewish Publication Society and the University of Nebraska Press. No part of this translation may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, distributed, or be transmitted without express written permission from the Central Conference of American Rabbis. For permission, please contact CCAR Press.