16:1] The Eternal One spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they drew too close to the presence of the Eternal. 2] The Eternal One said to Moses:
Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come at will into the Shrine behind the curtain, in front of the cover that is upon the ark, lest he die; for I appear in the cloud over the cover. 3] Thus only shall Aaron enter the Shrine: with a bull of the herd for a purgation offering and a ram for a burnt offering.— 4] He shall be dressed in a sacral linen tunic, with linen breeches next to his flesh, and be girt with a linen sash, and he shall wear a linen turban. They are sacral vestments; he shall bathe his body in water and then put them on.— 5] And from the Israelite community he shall take two he-goats for a purgation offering and a ram for a burnt offering.
6] Aaron is to offer his own bull of purgation offering, to make expiation for himself and for his household. 7] Aaron shall take the two he-goats and let them stand before the Eternal at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting; 8] and he shall place lots upon the two goats, one marked for the Eternal and the other marked for Azazel. 9] Aaron shall bring forward the goat designated by lot for the Eternal, which he is to offer as a purgation offering; 10] while the goat designated by lot for Azazel shall be left standing alive before the Eternal, to make expiation with it and to send it off to the wilderness for Azazel.
11] Aaron shall then offer his bull of purgation offering, to make expiation for himself and his household. He shall slaughter his bull of purgation offering, 12] and he shall take a panful of glowing coals scooped from the altar before the Eternal, and two handfuls of finely ground aromatic incense, and bring this behind the curtain. 13] He shall put the incense on the fire before the Eternal, so that the cloud from the incense screens the cover that is over [the Ark of] the Pact, lest he die. 14] He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger over the cover on the east side; and in front of the cover he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. 15] He shall then slaughter the people’s goat of purgation offering, bring its blood behind the curtain, and do with its blood as he has done with the blood of the bull: he shall sprinkle it over the cover and in front of the cover.
16] Thus he shall purge the Shrine of the impurity and transgression of the Israelites, whatever their sins; and he shall do the same for the Tent of Meeting, which abides with them in the midst of their impurity. 17] When he goes in to make expiation in the Shrine, nobody else shall be in the Tent of Meeting until he comes out.
When he has made expiation for himself and his household, and for the whole congregation of Israel, 18] he shall go out to the altar that is before the Eternal and purge it: he shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the goat and apply it to each of the horns of the altar; 19] and the rest of the blood he shall sprinkle on it with his finger seven times. Thus he shall purify it of the defilement of the Israelites and consecrate it.
20] When he has finished purging the Shrine, the Tent of Meeting, and the altar, the live goat shall be brought forward. 21] Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat and confess over it all the iniquities and transgressions of the Israelites, whatever their sins, putting them on the head of the goat; and it shall be sent off to the wilderness through a designated agent. 22] Thus the goat shall carry on it all their iniquities to an inaccessible region; and the goat shall be set free in the wilderness.
23] And Aaron shall go into the Tent of Meeting, take off the linen vestments that he put on when he entered the Shrine, and leave them there. 24] He shall bathe his body in water in the holy precinct and put on his vestments; then he shall come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, making expiation for himself and for the people. 25] The fat of the purgation offering he shall turn into smoke on the altar.
26] The one who set the Azazel-goat free shall wash those clothes and bathe the body in water—and after that may reenter the camp.
27] The bull of purgation offering and the goat of purgation offering whose blood was brought in to purge the Shrine shall be taken outside the camp; and their hides, flesh, and dung shall be consumed in fire. 28] The one who burned them shall wash those clothes and bathe the body in water—and after that may re-enter the camp.
29] And this shall be to you a law for all time: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall practice self-denial; and you shall do no manner of work, neither the citizen nor the alien who resides among you. 30] For on this day atonement shall be made for you to purify you of all your sins; you shall be pure before the Eternal. 31] It shall be a sabbath of complete rest for you, and you shall practice self-denial; it is a law for all time. 32] The priest who has been anointed and ordained to serve as priest in place of his father shall make expiation. He shall put on the linen vestments, the sacral vestments. 33] He shall purge the innermost Shrine; he shall purge the Tent of Meeting and the altar; and he shall make expiation for the priests and for all the people of the congregation.
34] This shall be to you a law for all time: to make atonement for the Israelites for all their sins once a year.
And Moses did as the Eternal had commanded him.
17:1] The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: 2] Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelite people and say to them:
This is what the Eternal has commanded: 3] if anyone of the house of Israel slaughters an ox or sheep or goat in the camp, or does so outside the camp, 4] and does not bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to present it as an offering to the Eternal, before the Eternal’s Tabernacle, bloodguilt shall be imputed to that party: having shed blood, that person shall be cut off from among this people. 5] This is in order that the Israelites may bring the sacrifices which they have been making in the open—that they may bring them before the Eternal, to the priest, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and offer them as sacrifices of well-being to the Eternal; 6] that the priest may dash the blood against the altar of the Eternal at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and turn the fat into smoke as a pleasing odor to the Eternal; 7] and that they may offer their sacrifices no more to the goat-demons after whom they stray. This shall be to them a law for all time, throughout the ages.
8] Say to them further: If anyone of the house of Israel or of the strangers who reside among them offers a burnt offering or a sacrifice, 9] and does not bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to offer it to the Eternal, that person shall be cut off from this people.
10] And if anyone of the house of Israel or of the strangers who reside among them partakes of any blood, I will set My face against the person who partakes of the blood; I will cut that person off from among kin. 11] For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have assigned it to you for making expiation for your lives upon the altar; it is the blood, as life, that effects expiation. 12] Therefore I say to the Israelite people: No person among you shall partake of blood, nor shall the stranger who resides among you partake of blood.
13] And if any Israelite or any stranger who resides among them hunts down an animal or a bird that may be eaten, that person shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. 14] For the life of all flesh—its blood is its life. Therefore I say to the Israelite people: You shall not partake of the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Anyone who partakes of it shall be cut off.
15] Any person, whether citizen or stranger, who eats what has died or has been torn by beasts shall wash those clothes, bathe in water, remain impure until evening—and shall then be pure. 16] But if the clothes are not washed and the body is not bathed, that person shall bear the guilt.
18:1] The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: 2] Speak to the Israelite people and say to them:
I the Eternal am your God. 3] You shall not copy the practices of the land of Egypt where you dwelt, or of the land of Canaan to which I am taking you; nor shall you follow their laws. 4] My rules alone shall you observe, and faithfully follow My laws: I the Eternal am your God.
5] You shall keep My laws and My rules, by the pursuit of which human beings shall live: I am the Eternal.
6] None of you men shall come near anyone of his own flesh to uncover nakedness: I am the Eternal.
7] Your father’s nakedness, that is, the nakedness of your mother, you shall not uncover; she is your mother—you shall not uncover her nakedness.
8] Do not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is the nakedness of your father.
9] The nakedness of your sister—your father’s daughter or your mother’s, whether born into the household or outside—do not uncover their nakedness.
10] The nakedness of your son’s daughter, or of your daughter’s daughter—do not uncover their nakedness; for their nakedness is yours.
11] The nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, who was born into your father’s household—she is your sister; do not uncover her nakedness.
12] Do not uncover the nakedness of your father’s sister; she is your father’s flesh.
13] Do not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister; for she is your mother’s flesh.
14] Do not uncover the nakedness of your father’s brother: do not approach his wife; she is your aunt.
15] Do not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law: she is your son’s wife; you shall not uncover her nakedness.
16] Do not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife; it is the nakedness of your brother.
17] Do not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter; nor shall you marry her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter and uncover her nakedness: they are kindred; it is depravity.
18] Do not marry a woman as a rival to her sister and uncover her nakedness in the other’s lifetime.
19] Do not come near a woman during her menstrual period of impurity to uncover her nakedness.
20] Do not have carnal relations with your neighbor’s wife and defile yourself with her.
21] Do not allow any of your offspring to be offered up to Molech, and do not profane the name of your God: I am the Eternal.
22] Do not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is an abhorrence.
23] Do not have carnal relations with any beast and defile yourself thereby. Likewise for a woman: she shall not lend herself to a beast to mate with it; it is perversion.
24] Do not defile yourselves in any of those ways, for it is by such that the nations that I am casting out before you defiled themselves. 25] Thus the land became defiled; and I called it to account for its iniquity, and the land spewed out its inhabitants. 26] But you must keep My laws and My rules, and you must not do any of those abhorrent things, neither the citizen nor the stranger who resides among you; 27] for all those abhorrent things were done by the people who were in the land before you, and the land became defiled. 28] So let not the land spew you out for defiling it, as it spewed out the nation that came before you. 29] All who do any of those abhorrent things—such persons shall be cut off from their people. 30] You shall keep My charge not to engage in any of the abhorrent practices that were carried on before you, and you shall not defile yourselves through them: I the Eternal am your God.
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.