The third year’s reading (that’s this year) of Achrei Mot is in two sections.
The first deals with slaughtering animals. Bottom line, don’t do it unless you bring it to the Priest as an offering to God. Two reasons:
1) You might be slaughtering an animal as an offering to the hairy goat-demons rather than God. (Honest! That’s what it says!)
2) You want to make sure that the animal’s blood is spilled on the altar and that you don’t eat it. “For the life of all flesh – its blood is its life. Everyone eating it shall be cut off”
To this day, Orthodox Jews drain meat of its blood before they eat it. (Of course, there are no longer any priests to make a sacrifice and the blood isn’t spilled on any altar. The blood just goes down the kitchen drain.)
The second part of the parsha deals with whom you may or may not fool around with. You can’t fool around with your dad’s wife, with your sister, with your granddaughter, your aunt, your daughter-in-law…Get the pattern here? Basically, a guy can’t get close to anyone he’s close with (family or the wife of a close friend.) These are all no-no’s for a man. So what about what a woman is to do? The Torah doesn’t say.
Food for Thought
What does “The life of all flesh is its blood” mean?