I was at a conference today and got to hear the pretty awesome Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers. He was explaining something I'd never heard before, and I'm probably butchering it, that holiness makes you unclean according to the Jewish understanding.

He said something to the effect that it was out of reverence, more or less, for the fact that women bleed and do not die, that the period for holiness (a time to leave women to be with God) was necessary and that touching something holy was what made one unclean. This is why when Jesus said "Drink my blood" it was a big deal and also why He had to say eat My Body and drink My Blood. Because this would be life reconstituted (a mini sign of the resurrection). Leviticus 17 forbid the eating of blood and Jesus didn't come to destroy the Law, but to complete it, which is why we

  • Consume the Blood of Christ
  • Are washed clean in the Blood of Christ.

And I think his whole argument made sense with respect to women, who Chesterton in the Everlasting Man argues suffer more at the hands of historians than they ever did at the hands of their husbands. But could that idea apply to leprosy as well?

Basically, what the deacon said sounded great when applied to femininity, but entirely didn't make sense if applied to leprosy - as I understand the disease, it involves a lot of bleeding, not a lot of pain, and eventual death, maybe this is the distinction? Am I comparing apples with oranges here? Or is there something hidden in Leviticus that saw a holiness in leprosy?

Looking for Catholic exegesis, but anything scholarly will do.

  • 1
    Lots of people hypothesise reasons for the specific Jewish Laws, that are really based on nothing! As much as we wish it were otherwise, most of them do not come with explanations.
    – curiousdannii
    Oct 30, 2022 at 4:59
  • Mainly wondering 1. If the notion of holiness... ?? Peter, can you please finish the sentence. Thanks. Oct 30, 2022 at 12:25
  • This sounds like nonsense to me. Jews did not want to be unclean, else they would have eaten pork year-round.
    – jaredad7
    Oct 31, 2022 at 14:38
  • @jar wouldn't have sounded like nonsense if you heard it from the Deacon, pretty hard not to believe that guy. I took pretty good notes although I couldn't remember why I wrote "in the Jewish mind, it was holiness that defiled you" I think it had something to do with Uzziah, an Ox and the Ark of the Covenant.
    – Peter Turner
    Oct 31, 2022 at 15:01
  • @PeterTurner my guess would be either that the Deacon is mistaken or that you misunderstood him.
    – jaredad7
    Nov 1, 2022 at 13:41


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