Only be strong, that you do not partake of the blood; for the blood is the life, and you must not consume the life with the flesh.
Rabbi Yehuda says that the words “Only be strong… that you don’t partake of the blood…” teach us that the Jews were obsessed with the consumption of blood, which made them very cruel and harsh.
Rabbi Shimon ben Azai disagrees and says that it teaches us that if we must be careful not to eat blood, which no one really has a desire for, how much more so must we be careful not to transgress any of the other commandments.
Hashem gave the Jewish people the manna, angels’ food, in order to soften their inclinations.
(Sifri; Rashi; Ramban, Yomah 75b)
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