וסמך ידו בשתי ידיו כי מצאנו וסמך אהרן ובניו את ידיהם על ראש הפר (שמות כט י) וסמכו אהרן ובניו את ידיהם על ראש האיל (שם טו) ודרשו בו ידי כל יחיד ויחיד והנה היא בשתי ידיו ובשעיר המשתלח מפורש וסמך אהרן את שתי ידיו על ראש השעיר (ויקרא ט״ז:כ״א) ולא ידעתי אם כן למה כתב בכל שאר הסמיכות "את ידו" ואולי להוציא ממנו מה שדרשו (מנחות צג) ידו ולא יד שלוחו כי שמא היה במשמע "ידיו" להביא את שתיהן ולא נמעט בו השליח אבל עכשיו שהסמיכה בשתי ידיו לא כתב לשון יחיד אלא למעט השליח שאף על פי ששלוחו כמותו בשאר המקומות לא נדון כן בסמיכה ובתורת כהנים (אחרי פרשה טז כא) וסמך אהרן את שתי ידיו (ויקרא טז כא) מלמד שהסמיכה בשתי ידים בנין אב לכל הסמיכות שיהיו בשתי ידים: AND HE SHALL LAY HIS HAND. This means his two hands, for we find it stated: and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock;56Exodus 29:10. and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands upon the head of the ram,57Ibid., Verse 15. and the Rabbis interpreted it to mean: “the hands of each and every individual.”58I.e., the word “hands” does not refer to “Aaron and his sons,” thus implying that each lay one hand, but to each individual laying his two hands on the offering. The source of this interpretation is unknown to me. Thus [it is clear that] both hands were required for it. In the case of the goat designed to be sent [to Azazel] it is expressly stated, And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat.59Further, 16:21. If so, I do not know why Scripture wrote “his hand” [in the singular] in all other cases of the laying of hands. Perhaps it is for the purpose of deriving therefrom what the Rabbis have interpreted:60Menachoth 93b. “His hand — and not the hand of his proxy.” For had it been written “his hands” [in the plural we would have interpreted it] to require the laying of both hands, and we would not have been able to exclude the proxy. But now that [we derive from other verses that] both hands must be laid upon the offering, [we must conclude that] He only wrote the singular [indicating the hands of only one person], to exclude a proxy, for although a man’s proxy is like the man himself61Kiddushin 41b. in all other places, we should not consider him so in the case of the laying of hands. In Torath Kohanim we find:62Torath Kohanim, Acharei 4:4. “And Aaron shall lay both his hands.59Further, 16:21. This teaches that the laying of hands upon the offering must be done with both hands, and forms the general rule for all cases of laying of hands, that they be done with both hands.”
ונרצה לו לכפר עליו על מה הוא מרצה לו אם תאמר על כריתות ומיתות ב"ד או מיתה בידי שמים או מלקות הרי ענשן אמור הא אינו מרצה אלא על עשה ועל לאו שנתק לעשה לשון רש"י (רש"י על ויקרא א׳:ד׳) וברייתא היא בתורת כהנים (פרק ד ח) ואני תמה וכי היכן עונשן אמור כי הקרבנות בשוגגין הן מרצין ונוכל לומר שיכפרו על חייבי מיתה בידי שמים שוגגין ועל חייבי מלקות שוגגין ועל חייבי מיתות ב"ד שוגגין באותן שאין חייבין עליהם חטאת כגון מכה אביו ואמו ומקלל כשם שהחטאת מכפרת בחייבי כריתות שוגגין ואולי בעבור שפירש הכתוב בחייבי מיתות ב"ד ובחייבי כריתות עונשן במזיד ובשוגג ופירש בחייבי מיתה בידי שמים עונשן במזיד למיתה ובחייבי לאוין למלקות ולא פירש בהם שום עונש בשוגג נראה להם לחכמים שכל העונש שבהם פרשו הכתוב כי למה יפרש עונשן של אלו במזיד ובשוגג ויפרש עונש האחרים במזיד ולא יפרש אותו בשוגג ויאמר שיהא מחוייב להביא בהן עולה ולכך ראו שאין בחייבי מיתה בידי שמים ובחייבי מלקות אלא עונשן המפורש בהן במזיד אבל בשוגג אין עליהם שום נשיאות חטא ואין צריכין רצוי כלל וזהו שאמרו "כבר ענשן אמור" שכל העונש שרצה להטיל עליהם כבר אמרו הכתוב אבל על עשה ועל לא תעשה הניתק לעשה המזידין שלא הזכיר בהם שום עונש ואי אפשר שלא יענש בהם בזה ירצה בעולה הזו אם יביאנה בנדבת נפשו ויתכן לומר כי בעבור שלא הזכיר בקרבנות הנדבה "לכפר עליו על שגגתו אשר שגג" כאשר בקרבנות החטא ואמר "ונרצה" היה לרבותינו במשמעות הזה שיכפר על המזידים שאינם רצויים לפניו כי השוגג אע"פ שחטא רצוי השם הוא אם כן אי אפשר לו לכפר על המזידים זולתי על עשה ועל לא תעשה שניתק לעשה שלא נזכר בהם עונש אלא שאינם רצויים למלך בעבור שעברו על מצותו ובמה יתרצו אל אדוניהם בדורון הזה וראיתי באגדה בויקרא רבא (ז ג) תני רבי שמעון בן יוחאי אין העולה באה אלא על הרהורי עבירת הלב אמר רבי לוי מקרא מלא הוא והעולה על רוחכם היה לא תהיה (יחזקאל כ לב) העולה מכפרת על העולה על רוחכם וכן באיוב הוא אומר והעלה עולות מספר כולם כי אמר איוב אולי חטאו בני וברכו אלהים בלבבם (איוב א ה) הדא אמרה אין העולה באה אלא על הרהורי הלב והטעם שלפי שהוא חטא שאין מכיר בו אלא ה' לפיכך כולה כליל לה' ולשון "ונרצה לו" יחזור אל השם הנכבד הנזכר שיתרצה לו בקרבן הזה לכפר עליו מלשון ובמה יתרצה זה אל אדניו (שמואל א כט ד) ואור פניך כי רציתם (תהלים מד ד) וכן רבים ויתכן כי ונרצה כנוי לחטא שנרצה לו חטאו לכפר עליו מלשון כי נרצה עונה (ישעיהו מ ב) עד רצתה הארץ את שבתותיה (דהי"ב לו כא) והם ירצו את עונם (ויקרא כו מג) לשון השלמה ויתכן שהוא כענין הראשון כאלו העון רצוי לפני השם לא יחר אפו בו עוד: AND IT SHALL BE FAVORABLY ACCEPTED FOR HIM TO MAKE ATONEMENT FOR HIM. “For what kind of sins does [the freewill burnt-offering] effect atonement for the person that brings it? Should you say, for sins [where punishment if wilfully committed] is excision, or any of the [four] deaths imposed by the court, or death by the hands of Heaven, or stripes, the punishment for all these sins is already stated, [and atonement is affected by those punishments, and therefore not by this offering]! You must conclude that [the freewill burnt-offering] effects atonement only for transgression of a positive commandment,63The Torah cites no punishment for failure to fulfill a positive commandment [with the two exceptions of not slaughtering the Passover-offering, and not being circumcised]. If a person thus failed to fulfill a positive commandment — such as dwelling in a booth on the Festival of Succoth — his bringing a freewill burnt-offering effects atonement for this sin. and for the violation of a negative commandment that is juxtaposed to a positive commandment.”64A case in point is the prohibition against taking an entire bird’s nest, with the mother-bird and its young (Deuteronomy 22:6). If, however, he did infringe upon the law, he is obliged to observe a positive commandment that the Torah stated next to the prohibition — Thou shalt in any wise let the dam go (ibid., Verse 7). Hence the usual punishment of stripes is not incurred for infringing the negative commandment, since the positive commandment “remedies” the prohibition. Yet it needs atonement, and the bringing of the burnt-offering expiates for it. — It is important to note that during the laying of hands on the offering the owner, in case of sin-offerings, confessed the sin for which he brought the offering, and so also in the case of guilt-offerings. Similarly, on bringing a burnt-offering he confessed the transgression for a positive commandment etc. [as explained here in the text]. In the case of the peace-offering, he uttered words of praise to G-d (Mishneh Torah, Hilchoth Ma’asei Korbanoth 3:14-15). This is Rashi’s language, and it is a Beraitha65Beraitha (literally: “outside”) is a teaching or tradition of the Tannaim that had been excluded from the Mishnah and incorporated in other collections. The Tosephta, Mechilta, Sifra (Torath Kohanim), and Sifre contain these Beraithoth. in Torath Kohanim.66Torath Kohanim Vayikra 4:5.
But I wonder! Where is “the punishment” for these sins already stated, since offerings only effect atonement for unwilful violations?67“Punishments” [such as “excision etc.”] are incurred only for wilful violation of the negative commandments, while offerings for atonement are brought only for unwilful violations. So how could Rashi state, “Should you say [that the freewill burnt-offering is brought] for such sins that make one liable to excision etc., the punishment for those sins has already been stated”? Where are those “punishments” for unwilful violations mentioned? For unwilful violations no punishments are ever incurred! Now we could say that [the freewill burnt-offerings] atone for those unwilful sins which the penalty [if committed wilfully] is death by the hands of Heaven, or stripes, or any of the [four] deaths imposed by the court, in such cases that do not obligate one to bring a sin-offering,68The general rule is that a sin-offering is brought only for such a sin unwilfully committed for which the penalty if committed wilfully would be excision. Ramban is thus suggesting: we could say that the freewill burnt-offering atones for those unwilful sins for which the penalty is death by the hands of Heaven etc., and for all those sins for which the penalty is death by the court and yet do not require the bringing of a sin-offering for unwilful violation. Examples follow in the text. such as smiting one’s father or mother, or cursing them,69The reason why the sin-offering is not brought for the unwilful violation of these negative commandments is that the punishment of excision is not incurred in case of the wilful violation thereof. See Note 68 above. just as the sin-offering atones for the unwilful sins for which the penalty [if committed wilfully] is excision. But perhaps it appeared to the Sages that since Scripture expressly states the punishment for both the wilful and unwilful commission of sins punishable by death imposed by the hands of the court or by excision, [stating that if committed wilfully, the sinner is liable to one of the above punishments, and if committed unwilfully, he must bring a sin-offering], and it further set forth the punishment of those liable to death by the hands of Heaven or stripes for certain sins, if committed wilfully, but did not mention in these [last two categories] any punishment if the sins are committed unwilfully — therefore it appeared [to the Sages] that Scripture had completely set forth their case.70Thus Scripture made it clear that in the case of those sins for which the penalty is death by the hands of Heaven or stripes if committed wilfully — no offering for expiation is needed when committed unintentionally. Rashi and the Torath Kohanim were thus correct in stating that the burnt-offering could not effect atonement for these unwilful sins, since “the punishments” have already been stated in Scripture both for wilful and unwilful sins, and therefore we could not say that the burnt-offering effects atonement for the above-mentioned sins if committed unwilfully. For why should Scripture have explained the punishment of some sins if committed either wilfully or unwilfully, and explained the punishment for other sins [only] if committed wilfully, but not if committed unwilfully, and did not say that he is obligated to bring a burnt-offering? Therefore the Sages concluded that in the case of those sins for which one is liable to death by the hands of Heaven or stripes, they are only punishable if committed wilfully, as explained in Scripture, but if committed unwilfully there is no burden of sin at all and they do not need any atonement. This is the meaning of the saying of the Rabbis [in the Torath Kohanim66Torath Kohanim Vayikra 4:5. mentioned by Rashi]: “their punishment has already been stated,” meaning that Scripture had already stated the whole punishment that G-d desired to impose on them. But for the wilful transgression of a positive commandment63The Torah cites no punishment for failure to fulfill a positive commandment [with the two exceptions of not slaughtering the Passover-offering, and not being circumcised]. If a person thus failed to fulfill a positive commandment — such as dwelling in a booth on the Festival of Succoth — his bringing a freewill burnt-offering effects atonement for this sin. and for the violation of a negative commandment that is juxtaposed to a positive commandment,64A case in point is the prohibition against taking an entire bird’s nest, with the mother-bird and its young (Deuteronomy 22:6). If, however, he did infringe upon the law, he is obliged to observe a positive commandment that the Torah stated next to the prohibition — Thou shalt in any wise let the dam go (ibid., Verse 7). Hence the usual punishment of stripes is not incurred for infringing the negative commandment, since the positive commandment “remedies” the prohibition. Yet it needs atonement, and the bringing of the burnt-offering expiates for it. — It is important to note that during the laying of hands on the offering the owner, in case of sin-offerings, confessed the sin for which he brought the offering, and so also in the case of guilt-offerings. Similarly, on bringing a burnt-offering he confessed the transgression for a positive commandment etc. [as explained here in the text]. In the case of the peace-offering, he uttered words of praise to G-d (Mishneh Torah, Hilchoth Ma’asei Korbanoth 3:14-15). where Scripture mentioned no punishment whatever, and it is impossible that no penalty should be inflicted for them at all, in these cases the sinner is atoned for by this burnt-offering, if he brought it of his own freewill.
It is possible to say that because He did not use in the case of the freewill offerings71Further, 5:18. the expression: “to make atonement for him concerning the error which he committed,” as He said with reference to the offerings brought for sins committed unwilfully,71Further, 5:18. and instead He said, and it shall be favorably accepted, it appeared to our Rabbis that the meaning thereof is that [the burnt-offering] effects atonement for those who wilfully commit certain sins, seeing that these persons are not [hitherto] favorably accepted by Him. For he who commits a sin unwilfully is yet, in spite of his sin, considered favorably accepted by G-d. If so, it is impossible that the burnt-offering effect atonement for wilful sinners except for those who transgress a positive commandment or a negative commandment that is juxtaposed to a positive commandment, in which cases no punishment has been mentioned in Scripture, but they are not pleasing to G-d because they violated His commandment. With what can these men become favorably accepted by their Master?72See I Samuel 29:4. With this gift!
I have seen in the Agadah,73The Agadah (homily) comprises all subjects in Rabbinical literature which do not aim directly at the exposition of the laws of the Torah, but which teach and edify on all subjects concerning the Torah. The Agadic literature is contained primarily in the Midrashim, as well as in the Talmud. It would appear that Ramban uses the term Agadah here in contradistinction to the Torath Kohanim previously mentioned, which is primarily a book of Halachah (law). There in the Torath Kohanim the purpose of the burnt-offering is as explained above; in the Agadah — in Vayikra Rabbah — it is assigned another purpose, as explained further on. in Vayikra Rabbah:74Vayikra Rabbah 7:3. “Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai taught: The burnt-offering only comes to effect atonement for sinful thoughts of the heart. Said Rabbi Levi: It is a clear Biblical text: ‘V’ha’olah al ruchachem’75The Hebrew term for the burnt-offering is olah [literally, “comes up”]. There is thus here a suggestion that the olah is for those sinful thoughts “which come into one’s mind.” (And that which cometh into your mind) shall not be at all76Ezekiel 20:32. — the olah (burnt-offering) effects atonement for those things which come into your mind. Similarly it says of Job: and he offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, ‘It may be that my sons have sinned, and blasphemed G-d in their hearts.’77Job 1:5. This proves that the burnt-offering only comes to effect atonement for sinful thoughts of the heart.” The reason why [the burnt-offering was singled out for this purpose] is because it is a sin that no one recognizes except G-d [Who knows our secret thoughts]; therefore it is wholly burnt to G-d.
The expression v’nirtzah lo78Up to here we have followed Silberman’s translation of the phrase: “and it shall be favorably accepted for him.” Ramban now suggests three new interpretations: 1) “and he will be favorably accepted by Him.” 2) “and the sin will be completed to him” — never to be mentioned again. 3) “and it will be ‘agreeable’ to Him.” refers back to the Glorious Name mentioned [in the preceding verse: to the door of the Tent of Meeting he shall bring it for his acceptance before the Eternal], meaning that he should be favorably accepted by Him through this offering which effects atonement for him. This is similar in expression to these verses: for wherewith should this fellow ‘yithratzeh’ (reconcile himself) unto his lord?;79I Samuel 29:4. and the light of Thy countenance because ‘r’tzitham’ (Thou wast favorable to them),80Psalms 44:4. and many others. It is possible that v’nirtzah is a by-word for the sin, meaning that the sin is finished for him, so that he may now be forgiven, similar to these expressions: ‘ki nirtzah avonah’ (that her guilt is paid off);81Isaiah 40:2. until the land ‘rotz’thah’ (had been paid) her Sabbaths;82II Chronicles 36:21. and they ‘yirtzu’ (shall be paid) the punishment of their iniquity83Further, 26:43. — all these being expressions of completion. It is further possible to say in line with the first interpretation, that the sin will be as if it were “agreeable” [not objectionable before G-d], meaning that His anger will no longer be kindled against him.