The `freewill' offering is first found in connection with the construction of the Tent of Meeting:
Shemot (Exodus) 35:29 - 36:3 All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to HaShem freewill offerings for all the work HaShem through Moses had commanded them to do. Then Moses said to the Israelites, "See, HaShem has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts-- To make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, To cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers--all of them master craftsmen and designers. So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom HaShem has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as HaShem has commanded." Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom HaShem had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning.
"Freewill" is defined by Strongs as:
5071 nedabah, ned-aw-baw'; from 5068; prop. (abstr.) spontaneity, or (adj.) spontaneous; also (concr.) a spontaneous or (by infer., in plur.) abundant gift:-free (-will) offering, freely, plentiful, voluntary (- ily, offering), willing (-ly, offering).
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5068 nadab, naw-dab'; a prim. root; to impel; hence to volunteer (as a soldier), to present spontaneously:-offer freely, be (give, make, offer self) willing (-ly).
Vayikra (Leviticus) 7:16-18 "'If, however, his offering is the result of a vow or is a freewill offering, the sacrifice shall be eaten on the day he offers it, but anything left over may be eaten on the next day. Any meat of the sacrifice left over till the third day must be burned up. If any meat of the fellowship offering is eaten on the third day, it will not be accepted. It will not be credited to the one who offered it, for it is impure; the person who eats any of it will be held responsible.
The `freewill' offering is eaten by the one who brings it on the first or the second day. It was not to be eaten on the third day, because it is impure.
Vayikra (Leviticus) 22:17-25 HaShem said to Moses, "Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites and say to them: 'If any of you--either an Israelite or an alien living in Israel--presents a gift for a burnt offering to HaShem, either to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering, You must present a male without defect from the cattle, sheep or goats in order that it may be accepted on your behalf. Do not bring anything with a defect, because it will not be accepted on your behalf. When anyone brings from the herd or flock a fellowship offering to HaShem to fulfill a special vow or as a freewill offering, it must be without defect or blemish to be acceptable. Do not offer to HaShem the blind, the injured or the maimed, or anything with warts or festering or running sores. Do not place any of these on the altar as an offering made to HaShem by fire. You may, however, present as a freewill offering an ox or a sheep that is deformed or stunted, but it will not be accepted in fulfillment of a vow. You must not offer to HaShem an animal whose testicles are bruised, crushed, torn or cut. You must not do this in your own land, And you must not accept such animals from the hand of a foreigner and offer them as the food of your God. They will not be accepted on your behalf, because they are deformed and have defects.'"
A `freewill' offering could be a burnt offering.
It must be a MALE from the cattle, the sheep, or the goats.
A stunted or a deformed animal could be offered as a freewill offering.
Bamidbar (Numbers) 15:1-16 HaShem said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'After you enter the land I am giving you as a home And you present to HaShem offerings made by fire, from the herd or the flock, as an aroma pleasing to HaShem--whether burnt offerings or sacrifices, for special vows or freewill offerings or festival offerings-- Then the one who brings his offering shall present to HaShem a grain offering of a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil. With each lamb for the burnt offering or the sacrifice, prepare a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering. "'With a ram prepare a grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a third of a hin of oil, And a third of a hin of wine as a drink offering. Offer it as an aroma pleasing to HaShem. "'When you prepare a young bull as a burnt offering or sacrifice, for a special vow or a fellowship offering to HaShem, Bring with the bull a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with half a hin of oil. Also bring half a hin of wine as a drink offering. It will be an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to HaShem. Each bull or ram, each lamb or young goat, is to be prepared in this manner. Do this for each one, for as many as you prepare. "'Everyone who is native-born must do these things in this way when he brings an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to HaShem. For the generations to come, whenever an alien or anyone else living among you presents an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to HaShem, he must do exactly as you do. The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before HaShem: The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.'"
The one who brings a `freewill' offering must also bring the required grain offering with oil and wine.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 12:1-14 These are the decrees and laws you must be careful to follow in the land that HaShem, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess--as long as you live in the land. Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places. You must not worship HaShem your God in their way. But you are to seek the place HaShem your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; There bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. There, in the presence of HaShem your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because HaShem your God has blessed you. You are not to do as we do here today, everyone as he sees fit, Since you have not yet reached the resting place and the inheritance HaShem your God is giving you. But you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land HaShem your God is giving you as an inheritance, and he will give you rest from all your enemies around you so that you will live in safety. Then to the place HaShem your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name--there you are to bring everything I command you: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, and all the choice possessions you have vowed to HaShem. And there rejoice before HaShem your God, you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites from your towns, who have no allotment or inheritance of their own. Be careful not to sacrifice your burnt offerings anywhere you please. Offer them only at the place HaShem will choose in one of your tribes, and there observe everything I command you.
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This study was written by
Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David
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