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Numbers Chapter 15
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Deuteronomy

Meal Offerings for Sacrifices
15:1 God spoke to Moses, telling him to
15:2 speak to the Israelites and say to them:

When you come to your homeland that I am giving you,

15:3 you will be presenting fire offerings to God. They may be burnt offerings, or other sacrifices, either for a general or specific pledge, or for your festivals. Taken from the cattle or smaller animals, they shall be meant to provide an appeasing fragrance to God.
15:4 The one bringing the sacrifice to God must then present a grain offering consisting of 1/10 [ephah] of the best grade wheat meal mixed with 1/4 hin olive oil.
15:5 The wine for the libation shall [also] be 1/4 hin. This shall be for each sheep offered as a burnt offering or [peace] sacrifice.
15:6 For a ram, you shall prepare a grain offering of 2/10 [ephah] wheat meal mixed with 1/3 hin oil.
15:7 The wine for the libation shall [also] be 1/3 hin, presented as an appeasing fragrance to God.
15:8 If you prepare one of the cattle as a burnt offering or [other] sacrifice, to fulfill a vow, or as a peace offering to God,
15:9 then together with each animal one must present a grain offering of 3/10 [ephah] of wheat meal mixed with 1/2 hin oil.
15:10 The wine presented as a libation shall [also] be 1/2 hin, as a fire offering, an appeasing fragrance to God.
15:11 You must follow this prescription for each bull or ram, or, among the smaller animals, for sheep and goats.
15:12 Regardless of the number prepared, you must present [the prescribed meal offering] for each one.
15:13 In order to present a fire offering that is an appeasing fragrance to God, every native born [Israelite] must present it in this manner, along with the prescribed [grain offerings].
15:14 If a proselyte joins you, or lives among you in future generations, and he prepares a fire offering as an appeasing fragrance to God, he must do it in exactly the same manner.
15:15 Among the group that may marry one another, the same rule shall apply both to you and to the proselyte who joins. It is an eternal law for future generations that the proselyte shall be the same as you before God.
15:16 There shall thus be one Torah and one law for you and for the proselyte who joins you.

The Dough Offering
15:17 God spoke to Moses, telling him to
15:18 speak to the Israelites and say to them:

When you come to the land to which I am bringing you,

15:19 and you eat the land's produce, you must separate an elevated gift for God.
15:20 You must separate the first portion of your kneading as a dough offering. It must be separated very much like the elevated gift that is taken from the threshing floor.
15:21 In future generations, you must thus give the first of your kneading as an elevated gift to God.

Communal Sin Offerings for Idolatry
15:22 [This is the law] if you inadvertently [commit an act of idolatry, which is equivalent to] violating all these commandments that God gave to Moses.
15:23 [It is like a violation of] all that God commanded you through Moses, from the day that God gave His commandments, as well as [what He will command you] later in future generations.
15:24 If [such a sin] is committed inadvertently by the community [because of their] leadership, the entire community must prepare one young bull for a burnt offering as an appeasing fragrance to God, along with its prescribed grain offering and libation. [They must also present] one goat for a sin offering.
15:25 The priest shall then make atonement for the entire Israelite community, and they will be forgiven. It was inadvertent, and they brought their sacrifice as a fire offering to God along with their sin offering before God, for their misdeed.
15:26 Since all the people acted without knowledge, the entire Israelite community along with the proselytes who join them shall thus be forgiven.

Individual Sin Offerings for Idolatry
15:27 If a single individual commits [such a sin] inadvertently, he must bring a yearling female goat for a sin offering.
15:28 The priest will then make atonement before God for the individual who sinned inadvertently, to expiate his sin, and he will be forgiven.
15:29 There shall be a single law for one who does such an inadvertent act, whether he is a native born Israelite or a proselyte who joins them.
15:30 However, if a person commits [such an act of idolatry] high-handedly, whether he is native born or a proselyte, he is blaspheming God, and that person shall be cut off [spiritually] from among his people.
15:31 Since he has denigrated God's word and violated His commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off [spiritually and] his sin shall remain upon him.

The Man Gathering Sticks on the Sabbath
15:32 While the Israelites were in the desert, they discovered a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath.
15:33 The ones who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses, Aaron and the entire community.
15:34 Since it was not specified what must be done to him, they placed him under guard.

The Penalty for Sabbath Violation
15:35 God said to Moses, 'That man must die. Let the entire community pelt him with stones outside the camp.'
15:36 The entire community took him outside the camp, and they pelted him to death with stones. It was done as God had commanded Moses.

Tzitzith-Tassels
15:37 God spoke to Moses, telling him to
15:38 speak to the Israelites and have them make tassels on the corners of their garments for all generations. They shall include a twist of sky-blue wool in the corner tassels.
15:39 These shall be your tassels, and when you see them, you shall remember all of God's commandments so as to keep them. You will then not stray after your heart and eyes, which [in the past] have led you to immorality.
15:40 You will thus remember and keep all My commandments, and be holy to your God.
15:41 I am God your Lord, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am God your Lord.



Commentary:

When you come to your homeland
  Grain offerings (menachoth) were not offered together with sacrifices until after the Israelites entered the promised land (Sifri; Ramban).

burnt offerings
  See Genesis 8:20, Leviticus 1:3.

general or specific pledge
  See Leviticus 7:16.

1/10 ephah
  This is an omer, a day's worth of food (Exodus 16:36). It is around 2 quarts.

wheat meal
  See note on Leviticus 2:1.

1/4 hin
  Around one quart.

peace
  (See Yad, Maaseh HaKorbanoth 2:2,3; Menachoth 90b).

2/10 ephah
  Around 4 quarts

1/3 hin
  Around 1-1/3 quarts

peace offering
  See Leviticus 3:1.

3/10 ephah
  Around 6 quarts.

1/2 hin
  Around 2 quarts

the group that may marry one another
  Kahal in Hebrew. See Deuteronomy 23:2-4.

elevated gift
  Terumah in Hebrew.

dough offering
  Challah in Hebrew. This offering must be separated from an omer of dough, about 8 cups (Eruvin 83b; Rashi). In the codes, this is given as the volume of 43.2 eggs (Yad, Bikkurim 6:15; Yoreh Deah 324:1). Since the volume of an average egg is 50 cc., 1.69 fl. oz., or 3.05 cu. in., the amount of dough that must be kneaded so that there is an obligation to separate challah is 2160 cc., 73 fluid ounces, 9-1/8 cups, or 131.8 cubic inches. [Incidentally, the codes give the volume as 311 cubic finger-breadths (Yad, loc. cit.). A simple calculation shows that if a finger-breadth is 3/4 inch, this is 131.8 cubic inches.]

threshing floor
  The elevated gift (terumah) taken from crops. This was given to the priest; see Numbers 18:12.

idolatry
  (Horayoth 8a; Rashi; Rashbam). Some say that it also includes any other situation where the entire Israelite nation would violate the entire Torah (Ramban).

leadership
  Literally, 'eyes.' See Leviticus 4:13.

one goat...
  This was only true of idolatry; for other sins, only the bull had to be presented (Leviticus 4:14; see Yad, Shegagoth 12:1).

individual
  Even a high priest or king. In this respect also, idolatry is different from other sins (see Leviticus 4; Horayoth 7b; Yad, Shegagoth 1:4).

yearling female goat
  Not like the other sins where one can also bring a lamb (Leviticus 4:32; Rashi; Yad, loc. cit.).

in the desert
  Some say that they were still in the Sinai Desert (Ibn Ezra). This follows the opinion that all the Israelites only kept one Sabbath after it was given with the Manna and this Sabbath violation occurred on the very next Sabbath (Sifri; Rashi; cf. Chizzkuni). The date given for this event is then 22 Iyyar of the first year of the Exodus (Sifri Zuta; Yalkut Shimoni). According to tradition, it occurred around the same time as the act of blasphemy recorded in Leviticus 24:11 (q.v.; see Chizzkuni).

Others, however, maintain that this event occurred after the spies, or around the same time (cf. Ramban). There is thus an opinion that it occurred on 21 Iyyar of the second year of the Exodus (Midrash HaGadol).

man
  Some say that he was Tzeloph'chad, mentioned in Numbers 27:3 (Shabbath 96a; Sifri).

gathering
  (Radak, Sherashim; Ibn Janach; Septuagint). Some say that the violation consisted of carrying on the Sabbath. According to others it was cutting the sticks, or binding them (Shabbath 96b; Sifri).

not specified...
  The death penalty was specified (Exodus 31:14, 35:2). However, the form of the penalty had not been specified (Sanhedrin 78b; Sifri; Rashi).

God spoke to Moses
  This is the third paragraph of the Sh'ma.

tassels
  Tzitzith in Hebrew. Also see Deuteronomy 22:12. The tzitzith-tassels consist of four strings doubled over so that eight strings appear to hang from each corner (Menachoth 39b). There is also an area where a single string is wound around the other seven, consisting of one-third of the tassel (Menachoth 39a). This must be held in place by a knot (Yevamoth 4a, b). The custom is that there be five knots and four areas of winding on each tzitzith-tassel (Targum Yonathan). The prevailing custom is that these wound areas have respectively 7, 8, 11 and 13 windings.

twist
  Some say that this denotes a single thread made of two strands twisted together (Sifri; Targum Yonathan). According to this, only one of the seven strings would be dyed blue (Yad, Tzitzith 1:6). This was done by dying half of one of the strings before it was inserted (Teshuvoth Ramban, P'er HaDor 21).

A second opinion is that the word pethil here denotes a doubled-over string (Tosafoth, Menachoth 38a, s.v. HaTekheleth, end, 39b, s.v. U'Posle-hah). This may agree with the opinion that an entire thread was dyed blue, so that when it was doubled over, two out of the eight strings were blue (Raavad on Yad, Tzizith 1:6).

There is a third opinion that the word pethil here denotes the thread that is wound around the others (Rashi, Menachoth 39b, s.v. U'Posle'hah; Rashi on Deuteronomy 32:5). Thus, it was the blue thread that was wound around the others. According to this opinion, the number of blue threads is not defined, and may be equal to the number of white threads. There were thus four blue and four white strings in the tassel (Rashi, Tosafoth, Menachoth 38a, s.v. HaTekheleth).

If the special blue wool is not available, the fringes can be made entirely white (Menachoth 38a).

sky-blue wool
  See note on Exodus 25:4.





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