In contrast to the priestly qualifications prevalent among the religions of other ancient Middle East nations and Greece, Leviticus sets no moral requirements on Levites, though it applies to them exhaustive physical qualifications. It is unimaginable that the legist is more concerned with minor physical issues than with gross moral ones. Here Leviticus sends a message that there is no morality in Judaism, only observance. Just like laymen, priests must observe the commandments; as long as they observe them, nobody can make on them any further demands.

This contradicts the rabbinical doctrine that condemns narrow observance. According to rabbis, Sodom was destroyed because it observed commandments to the letter rather than going an extra mile. The doctrine is utterly wrong: each human being comes into this world to live his own life. Doing for others more than the commandments prescribe conflicts with his reason for existence.

The commandments create a wonderfully balanced society. For example, Jews don’t offer charity, but work-for-food programs that require the deserving poor to glean the fields. Any attempt to widen the charity demoralizes the poor. They become demanding and unwilling to work, and charity becomes a coercion of the middle class. Going an extra mile doesn’t improve the well-designed system of commandments, but rather wreaks havoc on it.

By observing a myriad of “extra mile” regulations, some Jews lose sight of the major commandments. Quantity takes over the quality. Proud of their mundane observances, they don’t feel committed to the major commandments, such as the commandment to cleanse the land of Israel.