“If anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens who reside among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood, and will cut that person off from the people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you for making atonement for your lives on the altar; for, as life, it is the blood that makes atonement.” –Lev 17.10-11 NRSV
Blood is a pretty big deal in Leviticus. It’s easy to read a passage like this, be turned off by the fact that it mentions blood four times in the space of two verses, and label Leviticus disgusting and irrelevant. But I would argue that it is neither disgusting nor irrelevant. In fact, this passage has a whole lot more to do with the value of life than eating blood; when blood is mentioned in Leviticus, the issue at hand is life. Leviticus 17.10-11 is a reminder to the people of Israel that blood—life—is sacred and belongs only to God.
Not so gross after all.