In this study I would like to look more closely at the sin-offering and the burnt-offering.

 

The עולה, burnt-offering, atones for sinful thoughts, and for neglecting the performance of the positive commandments. The חטאת, sin-offering, atones for the commission of unintentional sins provided the sins are so severe that the transgressor would be liable to the penalty of keret, extirpation, had he committed them intentionally.[1] God would prefer that we transgress no sins at all and hence render needless the entire institution of atonement sacrifices.[2]

 

Rashi’s Commentary for: Vayiqra (Leviticus) 4:2 of all the commandments of the Lord Our Rabbis explained: A sin- offering is brought only for such a transgression whose prohibition is expressed [in the Torah] as a negative commandment, and whose willful violation incurs the penalty of keret - excision (premature death by the hands of Heaven). The unintentional violation of such prohibitions incurs a sin-offering [upon the individual][3]

 

Thus all the sins for which a private person brings a fixed sin-offering are 43. They include:[4]

 

a) one who is intimate with his mother,

 

b) one who is intimate with his wife's mother,

 

c) one who is intimate with his maternal grandmother,

 

d) one who is intimate with his paternal grandmother,

 

e) one who is intimate with his daughter,

 

f) one who is intimate with his daughter's daughter,

 

g) one who is intimate with his son's daughter,

 

h) one who is intimate with his wife's daughter,

 

i) one who is intimate with the daughter of his wife's daughter,

 

j) one who is intimate with the daughter of his wife's son,

 

k) one who is intimate with his sister,

 

l) one who is intimate with his sister who is the daughter of his father's wife,

 

m) one who is intimate with his father's sister,

 

n) m) one who is intimate with his mother's sister,

 

o) one who is intimate with his wife's sister,

 

p) one who is intimate with his father's wife,

 

q) one who is intimate with the wife of his father's brother,

 

r) one who is intimate with his son's wife,

 

s) one who is intimate with his brother's wife,

 

t) one who is intimate with another man's wife,

 

u) one who is intimate with a woman in the niddah state,

 

v) one who is intimate with a male,

 

w) one who is intimate with his father,

 

x) one who is intimate with his father's brother,

 

y) one who is intimate with an animal,

 

z) a woman who has an animal engage in relations with her.

 

Thus all the prohibitions involving forbidden relations punishable by karet are 26.

 

Among other sins, there are seventeen. They are:

 

a) one who serves a false deity by performing a deed,

 

b) one who gives his descendants to Molech,

 

c) one who divines through an ov,

 

d) one who performs a deed while divining with a yidoni,

 

e) one who desecrates the Sabbath,

 

f) one who performs forbidden labor on Yom Kippur,

 

g) one who eats or drinks on Yom Kippur,

 

h) one who eats chametz on Pesach,

 

i) one who partakes of fat,

 

j) one who partakes of blood,

 

k) one who partakes of sacrificial meat after the time for eating it passes,

 

l) one who partakes of sacrificial meat that was disqualified, because of an undesirable intent concerning time,

 

m) one who slaughters a sacrificial animal outside the Temple Courtyard,

 

n) one who offers a sacrifice outside the Temple Courtyard,

 

o) one who prepares anointing oil like that used in the Temple,

 

p) one who prepares incense like that used in the Temple, and

 

q) one who anoints himself with the anointing oil of the Temple.

 

These are the 43 transgressions for which one brings a fixed sin-offering for their inadvertent violation.

 

Rabbeinu Bechaye explains the difference between a Sin Offering and an Olah offering. The sin offering (korban chatas) comes from [unintentional} violation of prohibited actions. A korban olah, on the other hand, atones for improper thoughts. Improper thoughts, Rabbeinu Bechaye explains, is something that a person can never totally escape from. Unfortunately, they are very prevalent and they are more prevalent at night than during the daytime. It is for this reason that the Olah offerings are to burn the entire night. Night time is the time when people especially need atonement from improper thoughts. About this it is written:

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 6:2 Command Aaron and his sons, saying: This is the law of the burnt-offering: It is the burnt-offering that stays on the flame, on the altar, all night until the morning, and the fire of the Altar should be kept aflame on it.

 

The Sin offering was always offered first, followed by a burnt offering:

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 5:7-10 "'If he cannot afford a lamb, he is to bring two doves or two young pigeons to HaShem as a penalty for his sin--one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. He is to bring them to the priest, who shall first offer the one for the sin offering. He is to wring its head from its neck, not severing it completely, And is to sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering against the side of the altar; the rest of the blood must be drained out at the base of the altar. It is a sin offering. The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for him for the sin he has committed, and he will be forgiven.

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 9:1-16 On the eighth day Moses summoned Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. He said to Aaron, "Take a bull calf for your sin offering and a ram for your burnt offering, both without defect, and present them before HaShem. Then say to the Israelites: 'Take a male goat for a sin offering, a calf and a lamb--both a year old and without defect--for a burnt offering, And an ox and a ram for a fellowship offering to sacrifice before HaShem, together with a grain offering mixed with oil. For today HaShem will appear to you.'" They took the things Moses commanded to the front of the Tent of Meeting, and the entire assembly came near and stood before HaShem. Then Moses said, "This is what HaShem has commanded you to do, so that the glory of HaShem may appear to you." Moses said to Aaron, "Come to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering and make atonement for yourself and the people; sacrifice the offering that is for the people and make atonement for them, as HaShem has commanded." So Aaron came to the altar and slaughtered the calf as a sin offering for himself. His sons brought the blood to him, and he dipped his finger into the blood and put it on the horns of the altar; the rest of the blood he poured out at the base of the altar. On the altar he burned the fat, the kidneys and the covering of the liver from the sin offering, as HaShem commanded Moses; The flesh and the hide he burned up outside the camp. Then he slaughtered the burnt offering. His sons handed him the blood, and he sprinkled it against the altar on all sides. They handed him the burnt offering piece by piece, including the head, and he burned them on the altar. He washed the inner parts and the legs and burned them on top of the burnt offering on the altar. Aaron then brought the offering that was for the people. He took the goat for the people's sin offering and slaughtered it and offered it for a sin offering as he did with the first one. He brought the burnt offering and offered it in the prescribed way.

 

Notice that the order is always:

1. Sin offering

2. Burnt offering

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 9:22 - 10:2 Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. And having sacrificed the sin offering, the burnt offering and the fellowship offering, he stepped down. Moses and Aaron then went into the Tent of Meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of HaShem appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the presence of HaShem and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown. Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before HaShem, contrary to his command.

 

I believe that the unauthorized fire was the fire from the burnt offering being used before the fire from the sin offering. Notice:

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 10:16-20 When Moses inquired about the goat of the sin offering and found that it had been burned up, he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's remaining sons, and asked, "Why didn't you eat the sin offering in the sanctuary area? It is most holy; it was given to you to take away the guilt of the community by making atonement for them before HaShem. Since its blood was not taken into the Holy Place, you should have eaten the goat in the sanctuary area, as I commanded." Aaron replied to Moses, "Today they sacrificed their sin offering and their burnt offering before HaShem, but such things as this have happened to me. Would HaShem have been pleased if I had eaten the sin offering today?" When Moses heard this, he was satisfied.

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 14:19-20 "Then the priest is to sacrifice the sin offering and make atonement for the one to be cleansed from his uncleanness. After that, the priest shall slaughter the burnt offering And offer it on the altar, together with the grain offering, and make atonement for him, and he will be clean.

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:2-24 HaShem said to Moses: "Tell your brother Aaron not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die, because I appear in the cloud over the atonement cover. "This is how Aaron is to enter the sanctuary area: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on. From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. "Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. Then he is to take the two goats and present them before HaShem at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats--one lot for HaShem and the other for the scapegoat. Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to HaShem and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before HaShem to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. "Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before HaShem and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain. He is to put the incense on the fire before HaShem, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the Testimony, so that he will not die. He is to take some of the bull's blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover. "He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull's blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the Tent of Meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. No one is to be in the Tent of Meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel. "Then he shall come out to the altar that is before HaShem and make atonement for it. He shall take some of the bull's blood and some of the goat's blood and put it on all the horns of the altar. He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites. "When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites--all their sins--and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert. "Then Aaron is to go into the Tent of Meeting and take off the linen garments he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place, and he is to leave them there. He shall bathe himself with water in a holy place and put on his regular garments. Then he shall come out and sacrifice the burnt offering for himself and the burnt offering for the people, to make atonement for himself and for the people.

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 8:9-14 Bring the Levites to the front of the Tent of Meeting and assemble the whole Israelite community. You are to bring the Levites before HaShem, and the Israelites are to lay their hands on them. Aaron is to present the Levites before HaShem as a wave offering from the Israelites, so that they may be ready to do the work of HaShem. "After the Levites lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, use the one for a sin offering to HaShem and the other for a burnt offering, to make atonement for the Levites. Have the Levites stand in front of Aaron and his sons and then present them as a wave offering to HaShem. In this way you are to set the Levites apart from the other Israelites, and the Levites will be mine.

 

Shemot (Exodus) 29:10-18 "Bring the bull to the front of the Tent of Meeting, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head. Slaughter it in HaShem's presence at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. Take some of the bull's blood and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger, and pour out the rest of it at the base of the altar. Then take all the fat around the inner parts, the covering of the liver, and both kidneys with the fat on them, and burn them on the altar. But burn the bull's flesh and its hide and its offal outside the camp. It is a sin offering. "Take one of the rams, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head. Slaughter it and take the blood and sprinkle it against the altar on all sides. Cut the ram into pieces and wash the inner parts and the legs, putting them with the head and the other pieces. Then burn the entire ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to HaShem, a pleasing aroma, an offering made to HaShem by fire.

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) chapter 28 and chapter 29 talk about the Sabbath and festivals. A sin offering is mentioned for EVERY one of the days.

 

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A burnt offering with no mention of a sin offering:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 22:1-14 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you." Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together. When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of HaShem called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place HaShem Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of HaShem it will be provided."

 

Shemot (Exodus) 18:8-12 Moses told his father-in-law about everything HaShem had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel's sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how HaShem had saved them. Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things HaShem had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians. He said, "Praise be to HaShem, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that HaShem is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly." Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law in the presence of God.

 

Shemot (Exodus) 29:38-42 "This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight. With the first lamb offer a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil from pressed olives, and a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering. Sacrifice the other lamb at twilight with the same grain offering and its drink offering as in the morning--a pleasing aroma, an offering made to HaShem by fire. "For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before HaShem. There I will meet you and speak to you;

 

Shemot (Exodus) 40:29 He set the altar of burnt offering near the entrance to the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, and offered on it burnt offerings and grain offerings, as HaShem commanded him.

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 1:2-3 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When any of you brings an offering to HaShem, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock. "'If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he is to offer a male without defect. He must present it at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting so that it will be acceptable to HaShem. He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 6:9-13 "Give Aaron and his sons this command: 'These are the regulations for the burnt offering: The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar. The priest shall then put on his linen clothes, with linen undergarments next to his body, and shall remove the ashes of the burnt offering that the fire has consumed on the altar and place them beside the altar. Then he is to take off these clothes and put on others, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a place that is ceremonially clean. The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.

 

Notice the order:

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 12:6-8 "'When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering. He shall offer them before HaShem to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood. "'These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.'"

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:10-12 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before HaShem so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to HaShem a lamb a year old without defect,

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 28:2-8 "Give this command to the Israelites and say to them: 'See that you present to me at the appointed time the food for my offerings made by fire, as an aroma pleasing to me.' Say to them: 'This is the offering made by fire that you are to present to HaShem: two lambs a year old without defect, as a regular burnt offering each day. Prepare one lamb in the morning and the other at twilight, Together with a grain offering of a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil from pressed olives. This is the regular burnt offering instituted at Mount Sinai as a pleasing aroma, an offering made to HaShem by fire. The accompanying drink offering is to be a quarter of a hin of fermented drink with each lamb. Pour out the drink offering to HaShem at the sanctuary. Prepare the second lamb at twilight, along with the same kind of grain offering and drink offering that you prepare in the morning. This is an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to HaShem.

 

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 13:12-16 If you hear it said about one of the towns HaShem your God is giving you to live in That wicked men have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods you have not known), Then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, You must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. Gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to HaShem your God. It is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt.

 

* * *

 


This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:

 

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501

 

Internet address: gkilli@aol.com

Web page: http://www.betemunah.org/

 

(360) 918-2905

 

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[1] The ArtScroll Tanach Series, Tehillim, A new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic, and rabbinic sources. Commentary by Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Feuer, Translation by Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Feuer in collaboration with Rabbi Nosson Scherman. See Psalm 40:7.

[2] Radak

[3] Torath Kohanim 4:196; Shab. 69a

[4] Mishneh Torah, Sefer HoKorbanot, Hochot Shegagot, by Maimonides.