I was wondering about the Blood Libels that have plagued the Jewish people over the centuries. We’ve been accused of killing non-Jewish children to drink their blood. I have trouble understanding this, as I always thought that the Torah forbids the consumption of blood. Please explain.
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
One thing I can say about anti-Semitism is that it is highly irrational.
The Torah forbids eating the blood of an animal or bird (Leviticus 7:26).
Although we never know the ultimate reason for God's instructions, the Sefer Hachinuch (Mitzvot 147-148) provides possible explanations for the prohibition of eating blood. He quotes Nachmanides to the effect that "you are what you eat." Since the “soul” of a creature is in the blood, consuming this blood can cause the coarseness of the animal to be passed over to the consumer. It is not proper for a divine human soul to mix with the crass animal soul.
In order to extract the blood, the entire surface of meat must be covered with coarse salt. It is then left for an hour on an inclined or perforated surface to allow the blood to flow down freely. The meat is then thoroughly washed to remove all salt. Meat must be koshered within 72 hours after slaughter so as not to permit the blood to congeal. (An alternate means of removing the blood is through broiling on a perforated grate over an open fire.)