Kohanim/Priests & Ceremonial Cleanness (Tazria/Metzora; Acharei Mot & Emor)


The name of the book of the Holy Bibilical Scriptures we are currently reading can be broken down as follows:




Where does Leviticus get its name from?

The English name Leviticus comes from the Latin Leviticus, which is in turn from the Greek Greek Λευιτικόν, Leuitikon, referring the priestly tribe of the Israelites, “Levi.” The Greek expression is in turn a variant of the rabbinic Hebrew torat kohanim, “law of priests.”

What is the definition of Leviticus?

It is the third book of the Pentateuch, c.1400, from Late Latin Leviticus (liber), literally “book of the Levites,” from Greek to Leuitikon biblion, from Leuites, from Hebrew Lewi. … The Hebrew title is Torath Kohanim, literally “the law of the priests.” Related: Levite; Levitical.

What is the meaning of the name Leviticus?

Leviticus as a boys’ name is of Greek origin, and the meaning of Leviticus is “belonging to the Levites”.

What is the Book of Leviticus all about?

The Book of Exodus narrates how Moses led the Israelites in building the Tabernacle (Exodus 35–40) based on YAHUVEH GOD’S instructions (Exodus 25–31). Then in Leviticus, YAHUVEH GOD tells the Israelites and their priests how to make offerings in the Tabernacle and how to conduct themselves while camped around the holy tent sanctuary.

This teaching is inspired by the TORAH Portion Reading “EMOR/SAY”.

For the last three weeks or so, the theme of DEATH has been seen in each of the TORAH Portion Readings for each week.

While reading TORAH Portion “EMOR/SAY,” I picked up on this.

Chapter 21 of the Book of Leviticus (in Hebrew: Vayikra), YAHUVEH ELOHIM gives some very strict instructions to HIS Appointed Priests in relation to what YAHUVEH GOD regards as Ceremonially Clean and Ceremonially Unclean.

A ceremony is an event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion.

Ceremonial means the system of rules and procedures to be observed at a formal or religious occasion.

Being “clean” or “unclean” was a ceremonial designation governing the ritual of corporate worship. For example, there were certain animals, like pigs, considered unclean and therefore not to be used in sacrifices (Leviticus 5:2); and there were certain actions, like touching a dead body, that made a living person unclean.

As per the Old Covenant/Testament, Priests were appointed by YAHUVEH ELOHIM. They all came from the Israelite tribe of Levi. They were specially set apart specifically for the purpose of serving YAHUVEH ELOHIM on behalf of the Children of Israel in HIS Tabernacle. The Tabernacle is a representation or a picture on earth of what is in the Heavens.

When YAHUSHUA HA MASHIACH came to the earth physically in human form, HE introduced the New Covenant/Testament which says that anyone who accepts YAH’S SALVATION and faithfully takes up HIS cross and follows YAHUSHUA HA MASHIACH is a Priest of the Most High YAHUVEH ELOHIM!

1 Peter 2:9 Names of God Bible (NOG)

9 However, you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God. You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Amongst the Priests, YAHUVEH ELOHIM appoints and ordains High Priests for the purposes of leading and guiding HIS Priests spiritually through this wilderness called earth. The High Priests are also referred to as shepherds.

Throughout the Book of Leviticus, YAHUVEH GOD Almighty repeatedly says, “Be HOLY as I AM HOLY!”

This statement/commandment is made in relation to various aspects of mankind’s life, for example,

  • What to eat and what not to eat
  • Clothing – What to wear and what not to wear
  • Helping the needy
  • Sickness/Illness, etc

YAHUVEH constantly reminds the Priests and High Priest that HE appointed and ordained them. They are therefore answer to HIM!

Leviticus 19:2 Names of God Bible (NOG)

2 “Tell the whole congregation of Israel: Be holy because I, Yahweh your Elohim, am holy.

Leviticus 20:7 Names of God Bible (NOG)

7 “Live holy lives. Be holy because I am Yahweh your Elohim.

Leviticus 11:44-45 Names of God Bible (NOG)

44 “Here is the reason: I am Yahweh your Elohim. You must live holy lives. Be holy because I am holy. Never become unclean by touching anything that swarms or crawls on the ground. 45 Here is the reason again: I am Yahweh. I brought you out of Egypt to be your Elohim. Be holy because I am holy.

Leviticus 11:44-45 The Message (MSG)

44-45 “Make yourselves holy for I am holy. Don’t make yourselves ritually unclean by any creature that crawls on the ground. I am God who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Be holy because I am holy.

Apostle Peter then repeats the Holy Scripture in 1 Peter as follows:

1 Peter 1:16 New King James Version (NKJV)

16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”[a]

The following is the full excerpt from 1 Peter 1 in relation to the above.

1 Peter 1:13-21 Names of God Bible (NOG)

Live Holy Lives

13 Therefore, your minds must be clear and ready for action. Place your confidence completely in what God’s kindness will bring you when Yeshua Christ appears again. 14 Because you are children who obey God, don’t live the kind of lives you once lived. Once you lived to satisfy your desires because you didn’t know any better. 15 But because the God who called you is holy you must be holy in every aspect of your life. 16 Scripture says, “Be holy, because I am holy.” 17 So if you call God your Father, live your time as temporary residents on earth in fear. He is the God who judges all people by what they have done, and he doesn’t play favorites. 18 Realize that you weren’t set free from the worthless life handed down to you from your ancestors by a payment of silver or gold which can be destroyed. 19 Rather, the payment that freed you was the precious blood of Christ, the lamb with no defects or imperfections. 20 He is the lamb who was known long ago before the world existed, but for your good he became publicly known in the last period of time. 21 Through him you believe in God who brought Christ back to life and gave him glory. So your faith and confidence are in God.

What do the Holy Bibilical Scriptures mean by the word “unclean?”

Answer: The Hebrew word translated “unclean” in Leviticus is used nearly one hundred times in this one book, clearly emphasizing “clean” status versus “unclean.”

  • Animals,
  • objects,
  • food,
  • clothing,

and even

  • people

……………………………..could be considered “unclean.”

Generally, the TORAH (a.k.a Mosaic Law) spoke of something as “unclean” if it was unfit to use in worship to YAHUVEH ELOHIM Almighty.
Being “clean” or “unclean” was a ceremonial designation governing the ritual of corporate worship. For example, there were

  • certain animals, like pigs, considered unclean and therefore not to be used in sacrifices (Leviticus 5:2);

Leviticus 5:2 Names of God Bible (NOG)

2 “If you touch anything unclean[a]—the unclean dead body of a wild or tame animal or the body of an unclean, swarming creature—and then ignore what you did, you are unclean and will be guilty.

and there were

  • certain actions, like touching a dead body, that made a living person unclean and temporarily unable to participate in the worship ceremony (Leviticus 5:3).

Leviticus 5:3 Names of God Bible (NOG)

3 “If you become unclean by touching human uncleanness of any kind and then ignore it (although you know what you did), you will be guilty.

Leviticus 10:10 taught, “You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean” (ESV).

Leviticus 10:10 Names of God Bible (NOG)

10 Teach them the difference between what is holy and what is unholy, what is clean and what is unclean.[a]

The parallel between “holy” and “clean” (and “common” and “unclean”) reveals that the command was related to one’s spiritual condition, though physical actions were often involved.

This reminds me of HAVDALLAH/SEPARATION!

There is a Ritual in Judaism called HAVDALLAH which is practised at the end of every SHABBAT/SABBATH.

During the ritual, the scripture concerning separation the clean from the unclean and the holy from the unholy is actually said.

SHABBAT is the Holiest Day of each week.

Every other day is ordinary and common but SHABBAT is uncommon, special and extraordinary!

SHABBAT (sun-down Fri. to sun-down Sat) is set apart by YAHUVEH ELOHIM a seen in Genesis 2.

Certain foods were unclean for Jews and forbidden for them to eat, such as

  • pork,
  • certain fish,


  • certain birds.
  • A skin infection could make a person unclean or unfit for presence at the tabernacle or even in the community (Leviticus 13:3).

Leviticus 13:3 Names of God Bible (NOG)

3 The priest will examine the disease. If the hair in the diseased area has turned white, and the diseased area looks deeper than the rest of his skin, it is an infectious skin disease. When the priest has examined him, he must declare him unclean.

  • A house with certain kinds of mold was unclean.
  • A woman was unclean for a period of time following childbirth.
  • On holy days couples were restricted from engaging in sexual activity as the release of semen made them unclean until evening (Leviticus 15:18).

Leviticus 15:18 Names of God Bible (NOG)

18 “When a man has sexual intercourse with a woman and has an emission of semen, they must wash themselves. They will be unclean until evening.

While a wide variety of circumstances could make a person, animal, or item unclean, the majority of the laws concerned activities disqualifying a person or animal in connection with the tabernacle offerings.

  • An animal offered for sacrifice had to be without defect.

The person who offered the sacrifice also had to be “clean” before the TORAH (a.k.a Law); i.e., the worshiper had to comply with the TORAH and approach YAHUVEH GOD with reverence.

In the New Covenant/Testament, YAHUSHUA HA MASHIACH used the idea of being “clean” to speak of being holy.

Luke 11:39-41 Names of God Bible (NOG)

39 The Lord said to him, “You Pharisees clean the outside of cups and dishes. But inside you are full of greed and evil. 40 You fools! Didn’t the one who made the outside make the inside too? 41 Give what is inside as a gift to the poor, and then everything will be clean[a] for you.

In Luke 11:39–41 He says to the Pharisees, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you–be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.”

“Clean” and “unclean” were concepts very familiar to those under the Old Covenant/Testament Law.

YAHUVEH GOD called HIS people to separate themselves from the impurities of the world.

The principle of being clean crosses into the New Covenant/Testament as well, with the idea of living spiritually pure (2 Corinthians 6:17) and seeking to be holy, living a life worthy of our calling (Colossians 1:10).

2 Corinthians 6:17 Names of God Bible (NOG)

17 The Lord says, “Get away from unbelievers.
Separate yourselves from them.
Have nothing to do with anything unclean.[a]
Then I will welcome you.”

Colossians 1:10 Names of God Bible (NOG)

10 We ask this so that you will live the kind of lives that prove you belong to the Lord. Then you will want to please him in every way as you grow in producing every kind of good work by this knowledge about God.

Why did the time period of being unclean end in the evening?

On numerous occasions in the Book of Leviticus, a person who had become unclean would only be unclean until evening. The answer to why is found in the Jewish understanding of how days operate. In Genesis 1, YAHUVEH ELOHIM’S week of creation is presented with each day having evening and then a morning. The Jewish people recognized sunset or evening as the end of one day and the beginning of the next.
This is also why the Sabbath begins at sunset on Friday and lasts until sunset on Saturday in the Jewish tradition. The death ofYAHUSHUA HA MASHIACH took place on a Wednesday afternoon, with His body buried before sunset of that day. No one visited the tomb on Saturdayg as it is the weekly SHABBAT. No work could be done on that day.

Leviticus 11:24-25 Names of God Bible (NOG)

24 “Regarding the creatures mentioned above, this is how you would become unclean: Whoever touches their dead bodies will be unclean until evening. 25 Whoever carries any part of their dead bodies must wash his clothes. He will be unclean until evening.

In terms of timings, under the TORAH (a.k.a Mosaic Law), several actions resulted in a person becoming ritually unclean until sunset. For example, Leviticus 11:24–25 states, “You will make yourselves unclean by these [unclean insects]; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. Whoever picks up one of their carcasses must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening.”

  • If a person killed a fly and touched its carcass in the morning, say at 10:00 A.M., that person was to wash his clothes and would remain ritually unclean until that evening.

At nightfall he would be considered clean again.

If this same man killed another fly and picked it up with his hands at 10:00 that night, he would again be considered unclean. He would have to wash his clothes again and remain unclean until the next night, at sundown.

In Western thought, both occurrences would be seen as taking place on the same day (10:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M.), but the Hebrew way of thinking considered these events as occurring on two different days. The result was the fly-swatting person being unclean for two days.

Imagine how often people would have to wash clothes—and in a time when the only possible way to wash was by hand (in a desert)! The Israelites would have taken the commandments regarding uncleanness very seriously as a result.

An “unclean” person could not bring offerings before the LORD YAHUVEH, nor could he participate in the festivals. For minor infractions, such as touching a bug, the “uncleanness” only lasted for the rest of that same day, ending at sunset.

So in relation to the Priests and Ceremonial Cleanness, YAHUVEH ELOHIM says that if HIS Priests and High Priests come in contact with dead bodies of human beings and animals or anything death-related, they become contaminated both physically and spiritually. This is why when Jews are leaving the cemetery, they pray some prayers and immediately after the burial, they do a hand-washing ritual which also includes some prayers.

Washing the Hands After The Funeral

All those who attended the funeral must wash their hands ritually, once outside the cemetery area. Take a large cup of water in the left hand, pour it over the entire right hand, covering up to the wrist. Take the cup in the right hand, and pour it over the entire left hand, covering up to the wrist. Repeat two additional times. It is customary to place the cup upside down after washing, and not to dry one’s hands with a towel or paper, so that the memory of the deceased lingers.

Now in relation to death, we see the issue of death appearing in these last three TORAH Portion readings as mentioned above.

YAHUVEH ELOHIM detests death so very much that HE could not make it any clearer how much HE does!

Note that throughout the New Covenant/Testament, we see YAHUVEH, YAHUSHUA and SHKINYINYAH GLORY speak through their Apostles particularly Shaul/Paul saying that:

those who have accepted YAH’S SALVATION have passed from death to life (a.k.a spiritual death to spiritual life)!

John 5:23-25 New King James Version (NKJV)

23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

Life and Judgment Are Through the Son

24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.

Ephesians 2:1-10 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Destined for Wrath, Saved by Grace

2 You were dead in your trespasses and sins. 2 At that time, you walked in the way of this world, in conformity to the ruler of the domain of the air—the ruler of the spirit who is now operating in the sons of disobedience. 3 We too all lived among them in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind. By nature we were children of wrath, just like the others. 4 But God was rich in mercy,[a]because of His great love with which He loved us. 5 Even when we were dead in our trespasses, He made us alive together with Messiah. (By grace you have been saved!) 6 And He raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua 7 to show in the olam ha-ba the measureless richness of His grace in kindness toward us in Messiah Yeshua.

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves—it is the gift of God. 9 It is not based on deeds, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship—created in Messiah Yeshua for good deeds, which God prepared beforehand so we might walk in them.

1 John 3:14-20 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers and sisters. The one who does not love remains in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer—and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 We have come to know love by this—Yeshua laid down His life for us, and we also ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 But if someone has material possessions and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him[a], how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Children, let us not love with word or talk, but in deed and truth!
19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and set our heart at rest before Him 20 whenever our heart condemns us. For God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

Yes, it was YAHUVEH GOD who placed the curse of death upon mankind as a result of disobedience/sin against HIM but since then, HE has been doing everything possible to clean mankind up. It was the same curse that opened the door for mankind to be receive spiritual freedom from the very curse. YAHUSHUA HA MASHIACH had to die on behalf of mankind so as to free mankind from eternal death. Unfortunately, earthly physical death can not be rid of now but it will be in YAHUSHUA’S Millennial Reign which is after the Great Tribulation so for now, we have to live with it!

What does the Bible say about death?

The Holy Bibilical Scriptures presents death as separation:

physical death is the separation of the soul from the body


spiritual death is the separation of the soul from YAHUVEH GOD.

Death is the result of sin.

Romans 6:23 Names of God Bible (NOG)

23 The payment for sin is death, but the gift that God freely gives is everlasting life found in Christ Yeshua our Lord.

“For the wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23a. The whole world is subject to death, because all have sinned.

“By one man sin entered the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

Romans 5:12 Names of God Bible (NOG)

A Comparison between Adam and Christ

12 Sin came into the world through one person, and death came through sin. So death spread to everyone, because everyone sinned.

In Genesis 2:17, the LORD YAHUVEH warned Adam that the penalty for disobedience would be death—“you will surely die.”

Genesis 2:17 Names of God Bible (NOG)

17 But you must never eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because when you eat from it, you will certainly die.”

When Adam disobeyed, he experienced immediate spiritual death, which caused him to hide “from Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8).

Genesis 3:8 Names of God Bible (NOG)

8 In the cool of the evening, the man and his wife heard Yahweh Elohim walking around in the garden. So they hid from Yahweh Elohim among the trees in the garden.

Later, Adam experienced physical death (Genesis 5:5).

Genesis 5:5 Names of God Bible (NOG)

5 Adam lived a total of 930 years; then he died.

On the cross, Jesus also experienced physical death (Matthew 27:50).

Matthew 27:20 Names of God Bible (NOG)

20 But the chief priests and leaders persuaded the crowd to ask for the release of Barabbas and the execution of YAHUSHUA.

The difference is that Adam died because he was a sinner, and YAHUSHUA HA MASHIACH, who had never sinned, chose to die as a substitute for sinners (Hebrews 2:9).

Hebrews 2:9 Names of God Bible (NOG)

9 YAHUSHUA was made a little lower than the angels, but we see him crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death. Through God’s kindness[a] he died on behalf of everyone.

YAHUSHUA HA MASHIACH then showed HIS power over death and sin by rising from the dead on the third day (Matthew 28; Revelation 1:18).

Matthew 28:1-8 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

The Son Is Risen!

28 Now after Shabbat, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Miriam of Magdala and the other Miriam came to look at the tomb. 2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, for an angel of Adonaidescended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning,[a] and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And those keeping watch were shaken for fear of him and became like dead men.

5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Yeshua who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He[b] was lying. 7 Go quickly now and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead. And behold, He’s going before you to the Galilee. There you will see Him. See, I have told you!” 8 They quickly left the tomb, with fear yet with great joy, and ran to bring news to His disciples.

Revelation 1:18 Names of God Bible (NOG)

18 the living one. I was dead, but now I am alive forever. I have the keys of death and hell.

Because of MASHIACH (YAHUSHUA), death is a defeated foe. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55; Hosea 13:14).

1 Corinthians 15:55 Names of God Bible (NOG)

55 Death, where is your victory?
Death, where is your sting?”

Hosea 13:4 Names of God Bible (NOG)

4 “I am Yahweh your Elohim. I brought you out of Egypt.
You have known no god besides me.
There is no savior except me.

For the unsaved, death brings to an end the chance to accept YAH’S gracious offer of salvation. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Hebrews 9:27 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this judgment,

For the saved, death ushers us into the presence of MASHIACH (YAHUSHUA): “To be absent from the body, and to be present with the LORD YAHUSHUA” (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23).

2 Corinthians 5:8 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

8 We are confident, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and at home with the Lord.

Philippians 1:23 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

23 I am torn between the two—having a desire to leave and be with Messiah, which is far better;

So real is the promise of the believer’s resurrection that the physical death of a Messianic Jew/Christian is called “sleep” (1 Corinthians 15:51; 1 Thessalonians 5:10).

We look forward to that time when “there shall be no more death” (Revelation 21:4).

1 Corinthians 15:51 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery:

We shall not all sleep,
but we shall all be changed—

1 Thessalonians 5:10 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

10 He died for us so that, whether we may be awake or asleep,[a] we may live together with Him.

Revelation 21:4 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

4 He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes,[a]
and death shall be no more.
Nor shall there be mourning or crying or pain any longer,
for the former things have passed away.”

In this day and age, those who have accepted YAH’S SALVATION are all Priests.

When come into contact with physical death of any kind (relatives, friends, colleagues, animals, etc), we are to pray to be washed spiritually by the Mighty and Precious BLOOD OF YAHUSHUA HA MASHIACH!