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The עלה (olah- burnt offering) is the first of the qorbanot mentioned in Leviticus chapter 1.

If his offering [qorban] is a burnt offering [olah] from the herd, he shall offer it, a male without defect; he shall offer [qarab] it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD. (Leviticus 1:3)


The KJV translates olah as "a burnt sacrifice".

The details of the olah that are described in Leviticus chapter 1 are listed in the chart below.

Slain By
Slain Where? Soothing
From the herd-
oxen & cattle (Lev 1:3)
(Lev 1:3)
(Lev 1:4-5)
Before the tent of meeting- (west of the altar- Lev 1:3) Yes-
(Lev 1:9)
Washed and burned up-
(Lev 1:9)
From the flock-
sheep & goats (Lev 1:10)
(Lev 1:10)
(Lev 1:11)
North of the altar-
(Lev 1:11)
(Lev 1:13)
Washed and burned up-
(Lev 1:13)
From the birds-
pigeons & doves (Lev 1:14)
No Aaronic priest-
(Lev 1:15)
North of the altar-
(Lev 1:15-16)
(Lev 1:17)
Discarded east of the altar w/ feathers- (Lev 1:17)


In all of these cases, the Aaronic priest offers up the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkles it around the altar (Leviticus 1:5, 11, 15) and arranges the pieces of the animal on the altar (Leviticus 1:8, 12).

There is one noted variation in the description of the olah: if the olah is from the herd then the skin is removed before the flesh of the animal is burned up (Leviticus 1:6).


A voluntary offering

Generally speaking, the olah is a voluntary offering that is not compulsory. As noted above the first olah described in Scripture is the result of the voluntary outpouring of thanks towards G-d by Noah.


Law for the Olah

The "law for the olah" is found in Leviticus chapter 6 and includes:

  • The olah shall remain on the hearth on the altar all night until the morning. (Lev 6:9)
  • The fire on the altar is to be kept burning on it. (Lev 6:9)
  • The priest is to:
    • put on his linen robe and undergarments,
    • take up the ashes of the olah and place them beside the altar,
    • take off his (linen) garments and put on other garments,
    • and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place. (Lev 6:10-11)
  • The priest is to:
    • put wood on the altar every morning
    • lay out the olah on it
    • offer up in smoke the fat portions of the peace offerings on it. (Lev 6:12)
  • Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out. (Lev 6:13)


Additional instruction for the olah is found in Leviticus 7 and Leviticus 17

  • The priest who presents any man's olah, that priest shall have for himself the skin of the olah which he has presented. (Lev 7:8)
  • Any person from the house of Israel or from the aliens who sojourn among them who offers a burnt offering and does not bring it to the doorway of the tent of meeting to offer it to the LORD shall be cut off from his people. (Lev17:8)


Torah Portion

כּי תבוא (Ki Tavo)



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Yom Shishi, 20 Elul, 5779

Friday, September 20, 2019


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