The Shmuz on Parshas Achrei Mos


“And a man of the house of Israel, and of the converts who live with you, who consume any blood, I will set my face against his soul whom he has consumed blood, and I will exclude him from among the nations.”  Vayikrah 17: 10

The Torah warns us with many different exhortations not to eat blood. The Kli Yakar tells us that in Devarim, the Torah tells us that we should not eat blood because, “It was not good for you or your children who come after you.” He  explains that: ” Consume blood it brings cruelty to the one who eats it, and the nature of the father is transferred to his children so that they may be like him. Therefore, the Torah warns us not to consume blood so that we do not acquire that nature. “

It seems clear to Kli Yakar that consuming blood will cause changes in the nature of the person who consumes it. His sensitivities and reactions will change him, and he will become a new person. However, not only will it become cruel and without compassion, these characteristics will become part of its genetic transmission, establishing that every child he has will have that same predisposition towards cruelty.

This concept seems to be difficult to understand. First, how is it that consuming blood makes a person cruel? Second, how does that change affect a person’s genetic transmission so that even their children are also ruthless?

To understand the answer to this, we have to focus on the basic composition of man.

The Choves Ha’Levavos (Sha’ar Avodas Elokim 3) explain that HASHEM created man in two totally different parts – a nefesh Ha’Schil i (the intellectual soul) and a nefesh Ha’Bahami (the animal soul). The “I” that thinks, feels and remembers is composed of two separate and competitive parts, each with its own nature, tendencies, and needs. The Ha’Schili nefesh  want only what is good and right and noble. He feels the desire to help his neighbor and is hungry to obtain his purpose and mission. But more than anything, you need to feel close to HASHEM.

Then, there is the other part of man – the animal soul. He also has desires and inclinations, and he is also hungry for things. One way to have a better understanding of the animal soul in man is to visit his parallel in the wild kingdom.


HASHEM imprints on the essence of each animal all the instincts necessary to survive as well as for the continuation of the species. The animal part has no power of reasoning or cognitive elements. It does not have an “I” who is the captain of the ship. But, if you have a vibrant essence that is programmed to meet your needs. That part is the nefesh of the animal.

The nefesh is pure instinct, desires and passions and is affected by both the internal and the external triggers. In the spring, birds fly north and participate in the crossing, courting and building their nests. Each individual bird does not choose its partner with intention. Two robins do not sit and seduce each other, ” It’s time for us to sit head and form a family.”  The animal is attracted by the sight, smell, and sound of one of its kind, and hot pursues it – almost they always come together for life. They are motivated by the mold of the predetermined instinct.

These instincts and desires are affected by various forces. A bird of a different species will not cause a mating reaction, nor the same with another bird at a different time of the year. In the middle of winter, these desires remain inactive. The change of season, makes them come to light to the point that they take control over the existence of the bird. They have been pre-programmed to respond to the stimulus that allows the triumph of each bird and the species as a whole.


This seems to be the answer to the question. The Kli Yakir is teaching us that when the Torah forbids us to eat blood, it is because consuming it will make a drastic change in our inner essence. We would be ingesting part of that animal’s nefesh , which will become part of ourselves Nefesh Ha’Bahami.  Our conscious reality will change because part of who we are, the part of the animal soul, will capture cruelty. This change is so strong that if the person who took that blood had then a baby, that baby would also have cruelty as its internal constitution.

Just as certain chemicals can affect the mental state of man, the Torah is teaching us that there are certain properties that have a permanent effect on the nature of man. They change their Nefesh , and this changes their way of thinking and feeling.

Similarly, the mefarshim explains that none of the kosher animals are predators. The nature of a predatory animal is to pursue and kill. If a person consumed the blood of such an animal, some part of the Nefesh of that animal would enter the soul of man and develop a nature of aggressiveness and violence. The Torah forbids it because it would hurt the delicate balance in man.

This concept is very relevant because it helps us to have a better understanding of the Torah as a system of human perfection. HASHEM is the Creator, and he wrote the Torah as a guide book for the growth of humans. Inside are all the tools to achieve greatness.

Some of the tools are easy to understand and there are others that take years to fully understand them, but the system is there.

By following these guidelines, restrictions, and commandments, you are guaranteed a person, that you are going in the right direction – using your permanence on this planet to grow and perfect yourself.

This is an excerpt from the Shmuz in Parsha’s book. .


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