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Parsha Mitzvot: Vayikra: Mitzvah 122 – Concept 401

“If a person commits treachery and sins unintentionally, against God’s holies, he shall bring his guilt offering to God, an unblemished ram from the flock, with a value of silver shekels, according to the sacred shekel, for a guilt offering. For what he has deprived the Sanctuary he shall make restitution, and a fifth to it, and give it to the Kohen; then the Kohen shall provide him atonement with the ram of the guilt offering and it shall be forgiven him.”(Leviticus 5:15-16) One who misused sanctified property must repay what he profaned plus a fifth, and bring an offering. (Rambam, Hilchot Meilah – The Laws of Misusing Sanctified Property)


When the Torah deal with trespass against holy, sacred property, where no human being suffers from the intent to defraud, the Torah mentions the nature of the sin, “trespass,” first. Seeing that God did not “suffer,” He is able to treat the sin as if it had been committed unintentionally. The verse may be translated as “a person commits a trespass sinning unintentionally.” In verse 21 however, where the sinner defrauds a fellow human being, the Torah emphasizes the sinful nature of the act by mentioning the word, “Techeta,” before defining the sin. It is typical of the Torah to treat sins committed against another person as more difficult to atone for than sins committed against God.  Rabbeinu Bachya

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