“The following will make you unclean; whoever touches the carcass of them will be unclean until evening, and whoever picks up any part of their carcass is to wash his clothes and be unclean until evening: every animal that has a separate but incompletely divided hoof or that doesn’t chew the cud is unclean for you; anyone who touches them will become unclean. Whatever goes on its paws, among all animals that go on all fours, is unclean for you; whoever touches its carcass will be unclean until evening; and whoever picks up its carcass is to wash his clothes and be unclean until evening — these are unclean for you.”-Leviticus 11:24-28
From verse 24 of Leviticus chapter 11, the content slightly shifts direction from talking about the food laws to a list of those creatures that will make one RITUALLY IMPURE if one comes into contact with them.
Or to put it another way, the Lord is teaching us how uncleanness gets transferred from one thing to another.
The following 3 kinds of contact are dealt with:
(as in bowls, pots and other containers)
The basic rule is that whoever comes into contact with certain categories of dead animals will be unclean until sundown.
Because the Hebrew day starts and ends at sundown.
Another aspect to this rule is that anyone who CARRIES the dead body of one of the prohibited dead animals will be unclean until the sun sets and afterwards will have to give their clothing a good washing.
The list of clean and unclean animals is almost identical to the one for kosher eating.
However, there is one new category introduced in verse 27.
“Whatever goes on its paws, among all animals that go on all fours, is unclean for you; whoever touches its carcass will be unclean until evening.”-Leviticus 11:24
So cats and dogs when dead are unclean!
They are unclean for BOTH eating and touching when dead.
Again, it is okay to touch one of these if they’re living.
Therefore, cats and dogs as pets are fine.
One interesting point to keep in mind is that BOTH human beings AND inanimate things like clothing can be contaminated from contact with an unclean dead thing.
Let’s move on to verse 29.
“The following are unclean for you among the small creatures that swarm on the ground: the weasel, the mouse, the various kinds of lizards, the gecko, the land crocodile, the skink, the sand-lizard and the chameleon.” -Leviticus 11:29-30
Here we are presented with yet another different category of living creatures, those described as SHARATS or “swarming” creatures.
If you touch any of these things, you will be unclean until the start of the new day (the end of the evening).
Now, I’m not sure if you caught this, but there is an important principle the Lord is communicating to us through His Laws concerning cleanness and uncleanness.
The underlying takeaway being taught here is that in general DEATH IS UNCLEAN.
Understand that from YHVH’s perspective, death is the most ABNORMAL thing in the universe.
We are NOT supposed to die.
All members of the animal kingdom, mice, birds, and fish etcetera are NOT supposed to die.
The vast majority of mankind accepts growing old and dying as just a natural part of life, but I’m telling you, from God’s viewpoint, death is the most abnormal condition that exists.
Because of man’s rebellion, our world is now fallen and as a result, things that are normal in our world like death and war are completely abnormal in God’s Kingdom.
Later on, when studying more about purity and holiness, we’ll find out just how much this subject is connected to what is normal and abnormal and its connection to what God has declared clean and unclean.
Finally, let’s take a look at verse 32.
“Anything on which one of them falls when dead will become unclean — wooden utensil, article of clothing, leather, sacking — any utensil used for work; it must be put in water, and it will be unclean until evening; then it will be clean.”-Leviticus 11:32
We are introduced to yet another way uncleanness is transmitted.
I have to let you know that the English is a bit misleading.
The English just says that whatever an unclean dead creature FALLS ON become unclean.
However, the real Hebrew meaning of this sentence is whatever an unclean dead creature falls ONTO AND INTO BECOMES UNCLEAN.
So a dead mouse falling ONTO your shoes is one type of uncleanness.
But if that same dead mouse were to fall INTO your cooking pot, that would be another type of uncleanness, and much more serious because it involves the preparation of food.
Up until now, we have looked at the WHAT of uncleanness, in other words, WHAT makes us unclean.
Moving forward, the TORAH is going to begin discussing the remedy, HOW to become clean again if one has become contaminated with uncleanness.