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Leviticus Chapter 5
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The Adjustable Guilt Offering
5:1 [This is the law] if a person sins [in any of the following ways]:

If he is bound by an oath [to give evidence in court], where he was a witness who saw or knew [something], and he does not testify, he must bear his guilt.

5:2 [The same is true] if a person touches anything ritually unclean, whether it is any dead non-kosher animal, wild or domestic, or any dead unclean creeping animal, and then commits a violation while forgetting that he was unclean.
5:3 Similarly, if he comes in contact with any ritual uncleanliness stemming from a human being, which renders him unclean, and then forgets about it, he may later discover that he has committed a violation.
5:4 [This is also true] if a person makes a verbal oath to do good or bad, no matter what is expressed in the oath, and then forgets about it.

In any of these cases, the person is considered guilty as soon as he realizes what he has done.

5:5 When he is guilty in any of these cases, he must confess the sin that he has committed.
5:6 He must [also] bring his guilt offering to God for the sin he has committed. It must be a female sheep or goat, [brought] as a sin offering. The priest will then make atonement for [the person's] sin.
5:7 If he cannot afford a sheep, the guilt offering that he presents to God for his sin shall be two turtle doves or two young common doves. One shall be a sin offering and the other shall be a burnt offering.
5:8 He shall bring them to the priest, who shall first sacrifice the one for the sin offering. He shall gouge through its neck from the back without separating [the head from the body].
5:9 He shall then drain some of the blood on the side of the altar, and the rest of the blood at the altar's base. This one is the sin offering.
5:10 Then he shall sacrifice the second [bird] as the law requires. The priest shall thus make atonement for the sin that [the person] committed, and he will be forgiven.

The Meal Offering for Guilt
5:11 If he cannot afford the two turtle doves or two common doves, the sacrifice that he must bring for his sin shall consist of 1/10 ephah of wheat meal as a sin offering. Since it is a sin offering, he shall not place any oil nor any frankincense on it.
5:12 He shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall scoop up three fingers full as a memorial portion. He shall burn [this portion] as a sin offering on the altar along with God's [other] fire offerings.
5:13 The priest shall thus make atonement for [the person's] sin with one of the above-mentioned offerings, and he will be forgiven. Just as in the case of the meal offering, [the unburnt portions of these sacrifices] shall belong to the priest.

The Misappropriation Sacrifice
5:14 God spoke to Moses saying:
5:15 If a person sins inadvertently by expropriating [for personal use] something that is sacred to God, he shall bring as his guilt offering to God, an unblemished ram with a prescribed value of [at least two] shekels according to the sanctuary standard. It shall be [prepared as] a guilt offering.
5:16 For misappropriating something that was sacred, he must make full restitution, adding one-fifth to it, and give it to the priest. The priest shall then atone for him with the guilt offering ram, and he will be forgiven.

The Offering for Questionable Guilt
5:17 If a person sins by violating certain of God's prohibitory commandments, without knowing [for sure] he still bears responsibility.
5:18 He must bring an unblemished ram, with the prescribed value, to the priest as a guilt offering. The priest shall then make atonement for the inadvertent sin that the person committed without definite knowledge, and he shall be forgiven.
5:19 It is a guilt offering that one must bring for his guilt toward God.

Offerings for Dishonesty
5:20 God spoke to Moses saying:
5:21 [This is the law] if a person sins and commits a misappropriation offense against God by lying to his neighbor. [It can involve] an article left for safekeeping, a business deal, robbery, withholding funds
5:22 or finding a lost object and denying it. If the person swears falsely in any of these cases involving human relations, he is considered to have sinned.
5:23 When he becomes guilty of such a sin, he must return the stolen article, the withheld funds, the article left for safekeeping, the found article,
5:24 or anything else regarding which he swore falsely.

He must make restitution of the principal, and then add one-fifth to it. On the day [that he seeks atonement for] his crime, he must give it to its rightful owner.

5:25 He must then bring to the priest his sin offering to God. It shall be an unblemished ram, worth the prescribed amount, as a guilt offering.
5:26 The priest shall make atonement for him before God, and he will then be forgiven for any crime that he has committed.



Commentary:

bound
  Or, 'accepts an oath;' literally 'hears a dread oath' (see Sifra; Shevuoth 30a; Yad, Shevuoth 1:12).

oath
  Alah in Hebrew, a dread oath. See Genesis 24:41.

creeping animal
  Sheretz in Hebrew. See Leviticus 11:29, 30.

commits a violation
  By eating anything sanctified or going into a sanctified area (Rashi; Yad, Shegagoth 10:5).

verbal...
  (Rashi; Radak, Sherashim). Bata in Hebrew.

no matter...
  This can also include an oath about something that already happened (Shevuoth 26a; Rashi).

forgets about it
  And then violates the oath (Yad, Shevuoth 3:8). Specifically, 'he is not aware that it incurs such a penalty' (Shevuoth 26a; Yad, Shevuoth 3:7).

guilt offering
  Asham in Hebrew. In general, this sacrifice is known as an 'adjustable sacrifice' or 'a sacrifice that can be more or less' (korban oleh ve-yored).

He shall gouge...
  Or, 'nip through its neck' (see Leviticus 1:15).

without separating...
  (Rambam; Sefer HaMitzvoth, Negative 112; Chinukh 124; Ralbag; see note on Leviticus 1:15). According to others, severing the gullet or windpipe, but not both (Rashi; Rashbam; Chizzkuni).

as the law requires
  See Leviticus 1:15.

1/10 ephah
  Around 2 quarts. See Exodus 29:40.

the unburnt...
  (Zevachim 53a; Yad, Maaseh HaKorbanoth 7:1; Rashi; Chizzkuni).

expropriating for personal use
  (Meilah 18a; Rashi).

ram
  In its second year (Zevachim 90b).

at least two
  (Zevachim 90b; Kerithoth 27a; Yad, Meilah 1:3, Pessuley Mukdashim 4:22; Chinukh 127; Abarbanel).

guilt offering
  Asham in Hebrew.

then
  (Bava Kama 111a; Raavad on Yad, Meilah 1:5). Or, 'the priest shall have [previously]' (Yad, loc. cit.).

certain
  Carrying a penalty of being 'cut off'. See Leviticus 4:2.

without knowing...
  That is, if there is a question as to whether or not there was a violation (Rashi, etc.).

prescribed value
  Two shekels, as in Leviticus 5:15 (Zevachim 90b; Rashi). Erkakha in Hebrew; see Leviticus 27:2.

article left for...
  See Exodus 22:10.

business deal
  Tesumath Yad in Hebrew. Especially a loan (Rashi; Ralbag, Abarbanel) or partnership (Targum; Ibn Ezra). Also included is a claim of loss on security for a loan (Bava Metzia 48a).

withholding funds
  Ashak in Hebrew. From someone to whom they are rightfully due (Rashi). This includes all illegal monetary cheating (Radak, Sherashim; Abarbanel). According to some, it denotes sneak thievery (Saadia; Ibn Ezra). See Leviticus 19:13.

and denying it
  (Ralbag; Abarbanel). Or, 'If he denies the truth' (Rashi). (See Kerithoth 2b, Bava Kama 103b; Yad Shevuoth 7:1-4).

involving human relations
  (Ralbag). Literally, 'regarding one of these that a person may do to sin.'

principal
  (Rashi). Rosh in Hebrew, literally 'head.' Or, 'He must repay it by himself' (Ibn Ezra), or, 'He must first make restitution' (Chizzkuni; Ralbag).

that he seeks atonement for
  (Abarbanel; Rashbam), or, 'on the day he brings his guilt sacrifice' (Chizzkuni). Or, 'As [much as it was worth] on the day of his crime, he must return ...' (Sifra; Bava Metzia 43b; Yad, Gezelah 3:1).





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