והתודה אשר חטא עליה והביא את אשמו אין הסדר כן אבל הוא מביא החטאת וסומך עליה ומתודה כענין שנאמר להלן (טז כא) וסמך אהרן את שתי ידיו על ראש השעיר החי והתודה עליו את כל עונות בני ישראל אבל לא אמר כאן "וסמך ידו" בעבור שפירש בכל החטאות למעלה שהם טעונים סמיכה וכן בקרבנות הנדבה ולא פירש הוידוי למעלה בשאר החטאות ועל דרך הפשט יראה שאמר בכאן "והתודה" בעבור כי שבועת העדות יביאו קרבן על זדונה וכן בשבועת הפקדון הזכיר (במדבר ה ז) והתודו את חטאתם אשר עשו אבל בחטאת השגגה לא יזכיר וידוי אבל על דעת רבותינו (ספרי זוטא נשא ה ה) והתודה אשר חטא עליה על כל הנזכרים בפרשה אף טומאת מקדש וקדשיו ושבועת ביטוי שהן בשוגג ושאר כל חטאות למדנו מכאן אבל הזכיר הוידוי בכאן מפני ששבועת העדות ושבועת ביטוי אין בזדונן כרת והצריכן וידוי וכל שכן למעלה בחטאות קבועות שיתודה על חייבי כריתות ורבותינו אמרו כי "והתודה אשר חטא עליה" כלל לכל חטאות שטעונין וידוי והכתוב בפרשת נשא (ה ו כ) ואשמה הנפש ההיא והתודו את חטאתם אשר עשו להביא כל האשמות כך מפורש בספרי (נשא ב) ושם דרשו ואשמה הנפש ההיא והתודו בנין אב לכל המתים שיטענו וידוי: AND HE SHALL CONFESS THAT WHEREIN HE HATH SINNED. 6. AND HE SHALL BRING HIS GUILT-OFFERING. This was not the [order of the] procedure.339For the offering had to be brought first, then the laying of hands was performed during which [while his hands lay on the offering] he confessed his sin (see Note 64 above). Hence the expression and he shall bring his guilt-offering must mean “and he who comes to bring an offering to effect atonement for his guilt … ” Rather, he first brought the sin-offering and laid his hands upon it, and then confessed, similarly to that which is [explicitly] said further on, And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel.340Further, 16:21. Here, however, Scripture does not state “and he shall lay his hand,” because He explained previously in the case of all sin-offerings341Above, Chapter 4, Verses 4, 15, 24 and 29. that they require the laying of hands, and similarly, in the case of freewill offerings.342Ibid., Chapter 1, Verse 4; Chapter 3, Verses 2, 8 and 13. See also Note 11 above. But He did not explain [the duty of] confession above in the case of the other sin-offerings, [although it is required in those cases as well].
In line with the simple meaning of Scripture it would appear that here He said and he shall confess, because in the case of an “oath of testimony”332The section here discusses the offering of higher or lower value (see above, Note 15), the verse before us stating that this offering is required in the case of a false oath concerning testimony. Thus, if the person interested in the evidence called upon him by an oath, adjuring him that if he knows any evidence favorable to him he should testify before the court, and he swore that he knows of no testimony concerning him, when in fact he does know, in such a case, if he swore either unintentionally or wilfully, he must offer what is called an offering of higher or lower value. See “The Commandments,” Vol. I, pp. 82-83. In the following verse another transgression for which this offering is required is mentioned. — Ramban now proceeds to explain the sense of the triple expression, and he is a witness, or knows, or saw. the offering is to be brought even if the oath was taken wilfully. So also in the case of an “oath of deposit”343If Reuben says to Shimon, “Give me my deposit which you have,” and Shimon replies “I swear I have naught of yours,” or if Shimon said, “I have naught of yours,” and Reuben says, “I adjure thee” and he answers “Amen” — in this case too Shimon is liable to bring an offering [in addition to the restitution] even if he wilfully swore falsely. The offering, however, is not the one of higher or lower value mentioned in this section — but a guilt-offering, as explained further on (in Verses 23-26). Ramban mentions the “oath of deposit” here only to liken it to the “oath of testimony” in the sense that the offerings in each case are brought even if committed wilfully. This is a novel point in the law of offerings, for all other offerings brought for commission of a sin effect atonement only in case the transgression has been committed in error; otherwise, the offering of the wicked is an abomination (Proverbs 21:27). Ramban thus suggests [in line with the plain meaning of Scripture] that since the offerings in these two cases — that of the “oath of testimony” and the “oath of deposit” — are required to be brought even when committed wilfully, therefore the Torah mentions in their cases the subject of confession. But in the case of all other sin-offerings, since they are brought only when the transgression was committed in error, there is no need for confession of sin. However, Ramban will immediately refute this position, for the Rabbis have clearly interpreted that all sin-offerings require confession of sin. He mentioned, then they shall confess their sin which they have done.344Numbers 5:7. But in the case of the sin-offering brought for transgression in error, He did not mention confession.345“But [when bringing] the sin-offering for a sin committed in error he does not confess” (Tur in quoting the language of Ramban). But in the opinion of our Rabbis346Sifre Zuta 5:5. the expression, and he shall confess that wherein he hath sinned, refers to everything mentioned in this section, including the defiling of the Sanctuary and the holy food, and an “oath of utterance,”337This is the second type of case for which the offering of higher or lower value is required. It is known as “the defilement of the Sanctuary or its hallowed things.” Thus if a person who has been made unclean by any of the primary sources of uncleanness, unintentionally enters the Sanctuary, or unintentionally eats meat that is holy, he must bring the above-mentioned offering. A third — and final — case is if one swears an oath of utterance [“I shall eat” or “I shall not eat” and the like], and unintentionally fails to keep it. In this case too he is required to bring this offering. which offerings have to be brought [only] when [the sins are] committed in error, and [in the case of] all other sin-offerings [which are also brought only when the transgression was done in error, the need for confession when bringing them] is derived from here. He mentioned confession, however, [specifically] here because the “oath of testimony” and the “oath of utterance” do not make one liable to excision [if done wilfully, unlike the sin-offering which is brought only for those sins committed in error which, if committed wilfully, incur the punishment of excision], and yet He requires confession in these cases, and [thus it follows] all the more that in the case of the fixed347As distinct from the offering of higher or lower value, where the offering varies according to the means of the transgressor, a fixed sin-offering must be of an animal and is alike for poor and rich, so that if the poor cannot afford it he is not obligated to bring another offering in its stead, as is the case of the offering of higher or lower value. See “The Commandments,” Vol. I, pp. 78-79. sin-offerings mentioned above, he must confess [since his sin, were it to be committed wilfully, would incur] the penalty of excision. Our Rabbis have said348Sifre Naso 2. that the expression here, and he shall confess that wherein he hath sinned is a general principle in the case of all sin-offerings, that they require confession. The verses written in the section of Naso, stating, and that soul shall be guilty. Then they shall confess their sin which they have done,349Numbers 5:6-7. is to include all guilt-offerings [in the requirement of confession]. So it is explained in the Sifre.348Sifre Naso 2. There the Rabbis have interpreted: “And that soul shall be guilty. Then they shall confess.349Numbers 5:6-7. This establishes the general rule for all those executed [by the court] that they require confession” [to achieve full forgiveness of their sin].