Horayot, Chapter Two, Mishnah Six



This mishnah summarizes who brings what type of sin offering for transgressions done unwittingly.


Mishnah Six

I)                      For all the commandments in the Torah, the penalty for which, if committed intentionally, is kareth and, if committed unwittingly, a sin offering, the individual brings as an offering a lamb or a goat, the ruler brings a goat, and the anointed priest and the court bring a bull.  

II)                    In the case of idolatry, the individual and the ruler and the anointed priest bring a goat while the court bring a bull and a goat: the bull for a burnt offering and the goat for a sin offering.



Section one:  The first section of the mishnah deals with all commandments except idolatry.  In these cases, if an individual unwittingly transgresses, s/he brings a sin offering of a lamb or a goat.  This is stated in Leviticus 4:27-28, 32. 

If a ruler (a king) is the unwitting transgressor, he brings a goat (Leviticus 4:22-23).

If the anointed priest (the high priest) made an errant ruling and then unwittingly transgressed, he brings a bull.  This is stated in Leviticus 4:3.  The same is true of a court who made an errant ruling (Leviticus 4:13-14). 

Section two:  If the transgression was one of idolatry the individual brings a goat.  As I stated in the introduction, the rabbis consider Numbers 15:22-29 to be dealing with sins of idolatry.  Verse 27 states, “In case it is an individual who has sinned unwittingly, he shall offer a she-goat in its first year as a sin offering.”  Since the Torah does not make any exceptions for rulers or high priests, they too bring the same sin offering in this case as does a regular Israelite.

Verse 24, “If this was done unwittingly, through the inadvertence of the community, the whole community shall present one bull of the herd as burnt offering of pleasing odor to the Lord, with its proper meal offering and libation, and one he-goat as a sin offering.”  The rabbis consider this verse to be dealing with a case where a court issued an errant ruling and the people followed its ruling.  We saw this discussed above in mishnah 1:5.