Horayot, Chapter Two, Mishnah Seven



Mishnah six compared the sin offerings offered for unwitting transgressions that the individual, the ruler, the high priest and the court bring.  Mishnah seven compares these parties with regard to the asham talui (see above 2:4), the asham vadai and the sliding scale sacrifice (see above 2:5).  An asham vadai is a guilt offering.  There are five different situations in which a person must bring an asham vadai:  1) for robbery (Lev 5:21-25; 2) for illegal use of sacred property (Lev 5:14-16); 3) for relations with an betrothed slave woman (Lev 19:20-22); 4) a nazir (Num 6:9-12); 5) a leper (Lev 14:10-12).


Mishnah Seven

I)                      The individual and the ruler are both obligated to bring an asham talui, but the anointed priest and the court are exempt.

II)                    The individual and the ruler and the anointed priest are obligated to bring an asham vadai, but the court is exempt.

III)                   For the hearing of the voice [of adjuration]; for an oath made by an expression, or for impurity relating to the Temple and its holy things, the court is not obligated but the individual, the ruler and the anointed priest are obligated.

A)                                Except that the anointed priest is not liable for impurity relating to the Temple and its holy things; these are the words of Rabbi Shimon.

1)                                             What do they bring? A sliding scale sacrifice.

2)                                             Rabbi Eliezer says: the ruler brings a goat.



Section one:  With regard to the asham talui, the king is like any individual Israelite.  If he may (or may not) have transgressed a commandment which is punishable by kareth, he brings an asham talui.  However, the high priest and the court, if they made a ruling and they do not know if they erred, do not bring an asham talui.  In other words, for the court or high priest to be liable for their errant ruling, it must be certain that they did so. 

Section two:  All individuals, even a high priest, who unwittingly transgress one of the five commandments which are atoned for by an asham vadai, must bring the asham.  However, if the court issues an errant ruling with regard to one of these commandments, and the people follow their errant ruling, the court does not bring an asham vadai, nor do they bring any sacrifice.  They are liable to bring a bull as a sin offering only if they issue an errant ruling about a commandment punishable by kareth and atoned for by a sin offering (and not a guilt offering).

Section three:  As we learned in mishnah five, if the court issues an errant ruling with regard to a commandment atoned for by a sliding scale sacrifice, they are not liable.  If, however, if an individual, king or high priest were to transgress one of these commandments, he must bring a sliding scale sacrifice.  The one exception is that the high priest is not obligated to bring a sliding scale sacrifice if he transgresses a commandment involving the purity of the Temple and its holy things. 

The mishnah now asks what type of sacrifice the king or the anointed priest brings should he transgress one of these commandments.  According to the first opinion, they bring a sliding scale sacrifice, as do all regular Israelites.  Rabbi Eliezer holds that the king brings a goat.