YOMA 36 - Dedicated in memory of Max (Meir Menachem ben Shlomo ha'Levi) Turkel, by his children Eddie and Lawrence and his wife Jean Turkel/Rafalowicz. Max was a warm and loving husband and father and is missed dearly by his family and friends. His Yahrzeit is 5 Teves.

QUESTION: Rebbi Akiva says that the Korban Olah atones for the failure to observe Mitzvos Aseh, and for transgressions of Mitzvos Lo Ta'aseh which are Nitak l'Aseh (transgressions which are correctable by performing an Aseh). RASHI says that the source for this is a Tosefta which states that in lieu of any explicit mention in the Torah of what the Olah atones for, it must be that it atones for Mitzvos Aseh and Mitzvos Lo Ta'aseh she'Nitak l'Aseh. The Olah cannot atone for transgressions which are Chayav Kares, Misah bi'Yedei Shamayim, or Misas Beis Din, because the punishments (i.e. atonement) for those are already known. Likewise, it cannot atone for an ordinary Lo Ta'aseh, because the atonement for that is Malkus. It must be, therefore, that the Olah atones for transgressions which have none of those punishments: Mitzvos Aseh and Mitzvos La Ta'aseh she'Nitak l'Aseh. Rashi on the Chumash (Vayikra 1:4) also cites this Midrash (from Toras Kohanim, Dibura d'Nedavah, Perek 4:8).
The RASHASH questions this statement. The Tosefta's process of elimination seems flawed; there seems to be another type of transgression for which the Olah could atone, besides Mitzvos Aseh and Mitzvos La Ta'aseh she'Nitak l'Aseh. We know that punishments such as Misas Beis Din and Malkus are administered only when the transgressor was given Hasra'ah (he was forewarned by witnesses). If there was no Hasra'ah, these punishments are not administered. Perhaps the Korban Olah atones for transgressions for which a person is Chayav Misas Beis Din or Malkus (when done intentionally), when he commits them without Hasra'ah. Why does the Tosefta not suggest that the Olah atones for such transgressions?
Moreover, perhaps the Korban Olah atones for any type of transgression which was done b'Shogeg (inadvertently), for which a person is not liable to punishment. Accordingly, it could atone for transgressions of Misas Beis Din or Malkus when those transgressions were committed b'Shogeg, for there is no punishment or atonement written with regard to such sins done b'Shogeg (except for a sin punishable with Kares when committed intentionally, in which case a Chatas must be brought when it is committed b'Shogeg).
ANSWERS: The questions of the Rashash are raised by the Rishonim. The RASH MI'SHANTZ on the Toras Kohanim writes that it is not logical that the Torah would require that a Korban be brought as atonement for a transgression committed b'Mezid without Hasra'ah, while such a Korban does not atone for the same transgression committed with Hasra'ah. There is no precedent for this distinction among all of the other Korbanos, and thus it is unlikely that the Korban Olah atones for such a transgression.
Why, though, does the Toras Kohanim not consider the possibility that the Olah atones for transgressions committed b'Shogeg? There is a precedent for Korbanos atoning for Shogeg transgressions.
(a) The RASH answers that "it is not logical that the Olah is brought for a Lo Ta'aseh committed b'Shogeg."
The Rash's intention is not clear. Perhaps he means to say the same thing as the RAMBAN (in Vayikra 1:4). The Ramban writes that the Chachamim understood from the fact that the Torah lists the punishment for a Chiyuv Kares, whether the act is done b'Mezid (in which case one is Chayav Kares) or b'Shogeg (in which case one is Chayav to bring a Korban Chatas), yet it does not list any punishment for a Shogeg violation of a Chiyuv Misas Beis Din or of an ordinary Lo Ta'aseh, that an inadvertent transgression of a Lo Ta'aseh does not need "Ritzuy" (appeasement). That is, more severe transgressions distance a person from Hash-m even when he transgresses b'Shogeg, and thus he needs an act of Ritzuy, besides the normal requirement of repentance, to attain atonement. A Lo Ta'aseh, though, is not considered so severe as to require Ritzuy when one transgresses it b'Shogeg, and thus it does not need the Olah to atone for it. For what, then, does the Olah atone? It must be that the Olah atones for a Mitzvas Aseh that one transgressed b'Mezid, in which case he certainly needs Ritzuy (because he sinned intentionally) even though the Torah does not mention any specific punishment in such a case.
(b) The RAMBAN suggests further that the Torah's usage of the words "v'Nirtzah Lo l'Chaper Alav" with regard to the Korban Olah implies that the sinner is one who transgressed b'Mezid and consequently is "Eino Merutzah" to Hash-m, he is presently not in Hash-m's favor (and thus he needs a Korban in order to be "Nirtzah Lo"). In contrast, a transgression committed b'Shogeg does not cause a person to be in disfavor in Hash-m's eyes such that he would be called "Eino Merutzah."
(c) The MAHARAL (in GUR ARYEH) suggests that the Olah cannot atone for a Lav committed b'Shogeg, because a Shogeg-violation of a Chiyuv Kares requires only a Korban Chatas. A Chatas is partially eaten by the Kohanim and is thus a less severe form of atonement than an Olah, which is completely burned. An Olah, therefore, provides a greater degree of atonement, and thus it is not logical to assume that it provides atonement for a lesser transgression. It must be that it atones for an intentional violation of a Mitzvas Aseh.
(d) The MAHARAL answers further that the Midrash (Vayikra Rabah 7:3) teaches that the Olah atones for sinful thoughts ("Hirhurei ha'Lev"), as the verse alludes to when it says, "ha'Olah Al Ruchachem" (Yechezkel 20:32), which refers to one's thoughts. Accordingly, it must atone only for a sin committed with intent (thought), and not for a sin committed b'Shogeg.