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The אשׁם (asham-guilt offering) is the fifth qorbanot and is described in Leviticus chapter 5.

He shall also bring his guilt offering [asham] to the LORD for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin. (Leviticus 5:6)


The KJV translates this as a "trespass offering".


The beginning of the chapter provides some examples of ways that people can become "guilty" [asham] and need a "guilt offering" [asham]:

  • A person fails to testify when he hears a public call for witnesses and he is a witness to a matter (Lev 5:1)
  • A person who becomes unclean by touching some unclean thing unawares (Lev 5:2)
  • A person who becomes unclean by touching human uncleanness unawares and then later becomes aware of it (Lev 5:3)
  • A person who makes a rash vow to do something (either evil or good) and he is not paying attention and later becomes aware of it (Lev 5:4)

It is interesting that this is the first offering (indeed the first place in Scripture!) where confession [ידה (yadah)- confess, give thanks] is required:

"So it shall be when he becomes guilty [asham] in one of these, that he shall confess that in which he has sinned [chata]. (Leviticus 5:5)


Here are the details of the asham:

What is
Slain By
Slain Where? Entrails?
A female from the flock, a lamb or a goat- (Lev 5:6) No mention The priest-
(Lev 5:6)
No mention No mention
Two turtle doves or two pigeons (one for a sin offering [chata'at] and one for a burnt offering [olah])-
(Lev 5:7)
No mention The priest-
(Lev 5:8)
The same place as a sin offering-
(Lev 5:9)
No mention
A tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering [chata'at] without oil or incense-
(Lev 5:11)
No mention The priest-
(Lev 5:12)
The memorial portion is burned up on the altar-
(Lev 5:12)
No mention
If a person acts unfaithfully and sins unintentionally against the LORD's holy things then the price of a ram in silver shall be brought to the LORD for a guilt offering [asham], plus the 120% of the value of the holy thing-
(Lev 5:15)

(Lev 5:15)
The priest-
(Lev 5:16)
No mention No mention
If a person sins and does any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, though he was unaware, he shall bring the price of a ram from the flock for a guilt offering [asham]-
(Lev 5:18)
(Lev 5:18)
The priest-
(Lev 5:18)
No mention No mention


Leviticus chapter 6:2-6 provides some additional examples of willful sin:

If a person sins and acts unfaithfully [ma'al] against the LORD and:

  • deceives his companion in regard to a deposit or a security entrusted to him
  • or through robbery
  • or if he has extorted from his companion
  • or has found what was lost and lied about it and sworn falsely
  • so that he sins in regard to any one of the things a man may do (Lev 6:2-3)

then it shall be when he sins and becomes guilt, that he shall restore:

  • what he took by robbery
  • or what he got by extortion
  • or the deposit which was entrusted to him
  • or the lost thing which he found
  • or anything about which he swore falsely; (Lev 6:4-5)


  • he shall make restitution for it in full
  • and add a fifth (an additional 20%) to it
  • and give it to the person to whom it belongs on the day he presents his guilt [asham] offering (Lev 6:5)


  • he shall bring to the priest his asham: the value of a ram without defect (Lev 6:6)


Law for Asham

The "law for asham" is found in Leviticus chapter 7 and includes:

  • The asham is to be slain in the place where the olah is slain. (Lev 7:2)
  • He (the priest) shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar. (Lev 7:2)
  • He shall offer these up in smoke on the altar as an offering by fire (Lev 7:5)
    • its fat,
    • the fat tail,
    • the fat the covers the entrails (Lev 7:3),
    • the two kidneys and the fat that is on them is on the loins,
    • the lobe of the liver which is removed with the kidneys (Lev 7:4)
  • Every male among the priests may eat of it in a holy place: it is most holy. (Lev 7:6)
  • As is a chata'at so is an asham: there is one law for (both of) them. (Lev 7:7)
  • The priest who makes atonement with it shall have it. (Lev 7:7)



Torah Portion

כּי תבוא (Ki Tavo)



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Yom Shishi, 20 Elul, 5779

Friday, September 20, 2019


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