An extended & rather gory list of how to sacrifice animals follows, including which (parts of the) animals to offer for which trespasses/sins (fat, kidneys, liver, blood... especially the last is of huge importance in all rites). Rule of thumb: whenever somebody does something wrong - kill some animals. Easy to remember.
Further rules determine which animals to eat. Those that "parteth the hoof", are "cloven-footed" or "cheweth cud" are generally pronounced edible, with the exception of camel, cony (rabbit), hare and swine (I wonder how Br'er Rabbit ended up in that august company?); in the water, anything with "fins and scales" is acceptable, the rest is unclean/abomination. Most birds are off limits (funny: bats are included with birds... whatever). "That goeth upon all four" are pronounced abominable too, except locusts, beetles & grasshoppers (protein-rich!) - these actually have 6 legs, but who cares. Creeping things are bad, 'mkay: weasel, mouse, tortoise, ferret, chameleon, snail and mole (highly interesting - though completely off kilter - taxonomy there...); even touching them is unclean, especially the "carcase" (I can understand creeping things were sort of blacklisted after that episode with the serpent; who knows what further tricks they might have up their sleeve).
Additional animal sacrifice is demanded for "transgressions in all their sins" of the people: every year, a big "atonement day" is to be held, with an extra amount of animals being sacrificed (day 10 of month 7 of whatever calendar they are using). Any animal killed without offering a part to god will result in the perpetrator being cut off from his people. "Eating" blood is also forbidden (sorry Vlad).
After having organised sacrifice & food, next item on the "unclean" list is obviously woman (it probably made better sense when they wrote it). First, there is childbirth: if a woman bears a boy, she is unclean for 7 days and has to purify for another 33 (so together it's magical 40); if it is a girl however, she is unclean for 14 days and has to purify for 66 days! (this foreshadows the quran's claims of a woman's worth being half a man's). She is only pronounced clean after animal sacrifice. If a woman has her period, she is also unclean: keep apart, don't touch, anything they touch is unclean, sacrifice animals before pronounced clean (to quote South Park's Mr. Garrison: "I just don't trust anything that bleeds for 3 days and doesn't die").
Regarding the ever-popular theme of sex (where cleanliness would actually make sense for a change), we first get a list of which family members you're not supposed to get it on with ("the nakedness thou shalt not uncover"); interestingly enough, most of these rules have been broken by all biblical heroes so far, without any word of complaint from god. An anthology:
- to lie with mankind (as a man, I presume) is abomination
- to lie with any beast (this goes for men & women) is "confusion"
- "do not prostitute thy daughter" (Lot offering his virgin daughters to strangers apparently forgotten by then. But then he offered them for free, so that's all right)
- sex with your (half-)sister is not punishable by death, you are merely "cut off in the sight of your people" (Abraham & Sarah managed it without anybody complaining, however)
- sex with a menstruating woman is wrong for "discovering the fountain of her blood" - seriously
- if you have sex with your father's or mother's sister (Moses' own parents!), you have to "bear the iniquity", but that doesn't mean shit as guarding the tabernacle is also at times described as "bearing the iniquity"
Following a consistent logic about cleanliness, we are presented rules regarding lepers next. Apparently leprosy posed a real danger in those times, so it makes sense to devise rules about keeping infected people apart & burning their clothes. As an ugly corollary however, any man "with a blemish" is not welcome to offer & approach the altar: blind, lame, "flat nose" (?), "any thing superfluous" (??), brokenfooted/-handed, crookback't, "a dwarf" - they should keep away from the tabernacle, "that he profane not my sanctuaries". The same goes for animals, by the way; if it's not a perfect animal the lord doesn't want it. One could draw interesting parallels with Hitler and his pure Aryan race here.
Inbetween these three main categories, some rules I might term "miscellaneous" are offered, like dresscode. Some priceless advice from our sartorial god:
- "neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee" (that's right, god hates mixed materials in clothing... my favorite one so far)
- "ye shall not round the corners of your heads" (WTF?), "neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard" (later, this is extended to a prohibition on "making baldness upon your head")
- "ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you" (tattoos)
Also included are several commandments against the worship of Molech (Moloch), a rival god (funny, I thought god was the only one); and time and again, the importance of the sabbath as a holy day & day of rest is stressed. After discussing possession of land (interspersed with frequent and, frankly, extremely annoying exclamations of "I am the lord your god"), god concludes magnanimously: if you do as I say things will be great. If not, there'll be TROUBLE (to show he means business, a blasphemer is stoned). A balance is drawn up for both possibilities, with some 10 lines covering "great" and over 30 lines (mostly rather graphic & violent) describing "trouble". Good to know you always have the choice). Traditionally, the bill is presented at the end: every age & sex is "estimated" in cash, immediately payable to Aaron & Sons.