The book of Leviticus is a tough one to get through — my apologies again.
I list this contradiction because it is often noted in the scholarly literature. As mentioned briefly in previous entries (#175, #185), critics have noticed two main layers of priestly material in the book of Leviticus, both of which were written by the Aaronid priestly guild. There is the literature that is P proper, Leviticus 1-16, and then there is what has come to be labeled as the Holiness code or H, Leviticus 17-25. The latter, H, exhibits some minor differences when compared to its parent tradition P.
In P, there is a heightened emphasis on the holiness of the Aaronid priests, and only the Aaronid priests (Ex 40:12-16; Lev 8:13, etc.; see #148-149, #153-154). Only the Aaronid priests may minister before Yahweh, enter the Tent of Meeting, and touch the holy sancta. In other words, in this strand of the P source, even the Levites, who minister to the Aaronids, are not allowed to enter the Tent of Meeting nor touch any of the Tabernacle’s sacred objects (see particularly Num 3; #152).
In H, however, the term holy (qodesh) is extended in its use to include all the people. This best comes through in the repeated refrain throughout H: “You should be holy, because I, Yahweh, your god, am holy.” This declarative statement is the heading of H’s moral legislation, i.e., the Holiness code. In other words, all the moral or ethical legislation in this strand of the Priestly source stress that any violation of Yahweh’s commandments is in reality a breach from their, the people’s, state of holiness. This is interesting to dwell upon because it hits at the larger issue or worldview in which both P and H wrote—namely, what we might understand and classify as crimes, or moral breaches, the author of H would have more appropriately understood as an act which defamed and profaned the sacred space—Tabernacle, people, land—within which the Israelites, and their deity (see #151) lived.
Thus, not observing the Sabbath; eating sacrificial meals more than 3 days old; reaping the corner of you land’s harvest and its fallen fruit; stealing; lying; swearing falsely in Yahweh’s name; exploiting your neighbor; cursing the deaf; hating your brethren; mating two kinds of animals or seeds; eating blood; sacrificing a child; adultery; homosexuality; and having sex with a menstruating woman are all “crimes” of unholiness!
I will argue when we get to the letters of Paul that Paul envisions the exact same type of ethical system: so-called sins are more properly acts that profane one’s consecrated and holy state, a consecrated and holy state that came about in exactly the same terms and manner that the Aaronid priests would have understood—via sacrifice!