In Leviticus 15:19 and 24 (JPS), we are told: “And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even… And if any man lie with her, and her impurity be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean."

Next, Leviticus 18:19 warns: "And thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is impure by her uncleanness."

Finally, Leviticus 20:18 states: "And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness--he hath made naked her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood--both of them shall be cut off from among their people."

It seems to go from warning to death penalty. Could someone explain this?

Further more, it is something evil to God it seems: Ezekiel 22:10 and Ezekiel 18:5-6


2 Answers 2


All such prohibitions are written twice - once as a warning, and the second time to give out the punishment. You see this with all the incestuous prohibitions very clearly. But things in the ten commandments are the same way. No punishments listed there, but the prohibition repeated later with the punishment.

In fact, the Talmud will often ask, when it is not clear, where the warning for something is derived from if a punishment is stated clearly, or otherwise derived.

  • 1
    And there is no death penalty, only a punishment of being "cut off" which is spiritual excommunication, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kareth Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 17:32
  • @RebChaimHaQoton, are you sure? Sometimes being cut off did mean death it seems: "See Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defiles it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever does any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people." - Exodus 31:14
    – RFmic
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 18:17
  • @RFmic, see here: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/15310/…
    – Yishai
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 18:31

These quotes deal with separate issues:

  1. touching a menstruating woman or laying down next to her makes one ritually impure.

  2. Having intercourse, whether standard or "back door" is punishable by being cut off from the people, but not death.

  3. Physical contact which is not standard or "back door" intercourse does not carry the penalty of being cut off - it has a separate penalty of being lashed and this applys only to intimate contact such as hugging, kissing, etc. ( or other contact meant to arouse sexual pleasure ) but not to casual non-intimate contact such as for instance giving someone a hand to help them up the stairs - although this would still make you impure and is today generally considered forbidden in common practice.

  • For those of us who are no fluent in Hebrew are you able to add links to English translations? (Google translate doesn't really cut it unfortunately) Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 5:54

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