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Parsha Mitzvot: Vayikra: Mitzvah 115 – Concept 350

“If one’s offering is a burnt offering from the cattle, he shall offer an unblemished male; he shall bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, voluntarily, before God (Vayikra 1:3).” We are commanded to carry out the procedure of the burnt offering as prescribed in the Torah. (Maimonides, Laws of Sacrificial Procedure)

The burnt offering is the first of all the offerings mentioned and discussed in some detail. According to the plain meaning of the text this is logical as before one sins in deed, one generally sins in thought. It was therefore appropriate to mention this burnt offering which atones, not for sins committed, but for sins of omission such as positive commandments, or, sins committed only in one’s mind.

The burnt offering is mentioned first as it corresponds to the emanation of Bina. The sequence of the types of offerings mentioned parallels the Emanations in descending order, so that the peace offering is immediately below the burnt offering, followed by the offering when the High Priest has become guilty of a sin. (Rabbeinu Bachya)

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