Relationship Between Vayikra 1-5 and 6-7



Why Two Parshiyot?

Parashat Vayikra (Vayikra 1-5) introduces the sacrificial service, discussing each of the five types of offerings, the Olah (burnt offering), Minchah (flour offering), Shelamim (peace offering), Chattat (sin offering), and Asham (guilt offering), at length.  As such, it is somewhat surprising to find that Parashat Tzav (Vayikra 6-7) discusses these same exact sacrifices yet again.  What is the relationship between these two sets of chapters?  Why are some laws found in one unit, others in the second, and yet others in both? Moreover, why is there a need for two distinct units at all; could not the Torah have simply combined all the laws into a single integrated discussion?

Unique Aspects of Each

Each of the two units focuses on several aspects of the sacrificial service that the other does not include:

  • Parashat Vayikra discusses the choice of object to be offered, listing both the animals which might be brought for each animal offering and the various ways in which the Minchah can be prepared.1  It further enumerates the circumstances (the various sins) which obligate one to bring a Chattat or Asham. These are all omitted in Parashat Tzav.
  • Parashat Tzav, in contrast, discusses both the consumption of the offerings, detailing how they are apportioned between Hashem, priest, and man,2 and conversely, the prohibition of eating blood and fat.3  It also mentions two sacrifices that are absent in Parashat Vayikra, namely, the Minchah of the newly anointed priest (מנחת כהן משיח) in Vayikra 6:12-16 and the Thanksgiving Offering (קרבן תודה)4 in Vayikra 7:11-15.

What is the common denominator between all the various details which are unique to each list?  How might it account for the division of the laws into two units?

Overlap in Sacrificial Procedures

In general, the details of the sacrificial procedures (including laying of hands, slaughtering, sprinkling of blood, and burning) are mentioned in Parashat Vayikra rather than in Parashat Tzav.  However, there are certain exceptions to this rule:

  • Asham – The procedure for this offering is not discussed at all in Vayikra, but is mentioned in full in Tzav (omitting only the placing of hands on the offering).  How is this reversal of the general pattern to be understood?
  • Minchah – Both Parashat Vayikra and Parashat Tzav mention the procedure for the Minchah offering, though Parashat Tzav omits mention of the placing of oil and frankincense upon it.  Why is it necessary for this procedure to be detailed in both units?
  • Details of Shelamim and Chattat – Though on the whole, the sacrificial process of the Shelamim and Chattat are not repeated in Tzav, certain details are nonetheless found in both Parashot.  Thus, both units mention the burning of the fat of the Shelamim and both mention the location of the slaughtering of the Chattat.  Why are specifically these details repeated?
  • Terumat haDeshen – Only Parashat Tzav discusses the clearing away of the ashes of the burnt Olah.  Why is this more relevant to the directives of Tzav than Vayikra?

Other Questions

Several other differences between the units are worthy of note:

  • Order of the sacrifices – Though both units mention the same five categories of sacrifices, they differ in the order in which they present them.  While Vayikra discusses the Olah, Minchah, Shelamim, Chattat, and Asham in that order, Parashat Tzav instead places the Shelamim at the end of its list.5  What is the significance of this divergence?
  • Target audience – The laws of Vayikra 1-5 open with the directive: "דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל", targeting the nation as a whole.  In contrast, Vayikra 6-7 opens with the statement, "צַו אֶת אַהֲרֹן וְאֶת בָּנָיו", addressing specifically the priests.  Why is each unit directed at a different audience?
  • Location – Vayikra 1:1 shares that its laws were commanded from Ohel Moed, while Vayikra 7:38, in contrast, states: "זֹאת הַתּוֹרָה... אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה י״י אֶת מֹשֶׁה בְּהַר סִינָי", suggesting that the laws were commanded on Mt. Sinai, perhaps before the Tabernacle was built.  How is this apparent contradiction to be understood?  Were the two units said at different times?  If so, when and why? To confuse matters more, Vayikra 7:38 continues: "בְּיוֹם צַוֺּתוֹ אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְהַקְרִיב אֶת קׇרְבְּנֵיהֶם לַי״י בְּמִדְבַּר סִינָי".  How does "Midbar Sinai" relate to "Har Sinai" mentioned in the first half of the verse?  Do they refer to the same or different locations?
  • Milluim – In the summary statement at the end of Vayikra 7, the verses lists not only the five types of sacrifices discussed in the previous chapters, but also the Milluim offering.6  Why is this Consecration Offering mentioned here if it has not been discussed previously?  Is there significance to its placement right before the Shelamim?
  • Summation – Do 7:35-38 serve as a summation for both sets of chapters, or only for Chapters 6-7?  When listing the sacrifices, this peroration follows the order of Parashat Tzav, suggesting that it might refer to it specifically.  Yet there is no separate conclusion at the end of Parashat Vayikra, thereby raising the possibility that 7:35-38 is really a joint conclusion for all seven of the preceding chapters.

Earlier Mention of Sacrifices in Shemot 29

Our chapters are not the first time that the various sacrifices or their procedures are mentioned. Already in Shemot 29, when discussing the Consecration Ceremony (the Milluim), Moshe is commanded to sacrifice a Chattat, Olah, and Milluim (a type of Shelamim)7 accompanied by several loaves of unleavened bread. The end of the chapter further speaks of the daily Tamid offering. On the whole, the sacrificial processes discussed in Sefer Shemot are fairly similar to those mentioned in Sefer Vayikra, though the details of the allocation of the sacrifices differ from those commanded in Vayikra 6-7.8  What is the relationship between the Shemot 29 sacrifices and those mentioned in Sefer Vayikra?  To what extent do the one time instructions of Shemot 29 serve as a model for all subsequent generations?

Comparison Table

The following table shows the major points of contact and contrast between the three discussions of the various sacrifices:


ויקרא א-ה ויקרא ו-ז שמות כ"ט
נמען בני ישראל ("דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל") כהנים ("צַו אֶת אַהֲרֹן וְאֶת בָּנָיו") משה / כהנים ("וְזֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה" )
מיקום וזמן אהל מועד הר סיני הר סיני
סדר עולה, מנחה, שלמים, חטאת, אשם עולה, מנחה, חטאת, אשם, שלמים [חטאת, עולה, מילואים, לחמים]
תוכן ייחודי
מבחר בהמות, סוגי מנחות, סיבות להבאת הקרבן חילוק הקרבן, איסור דם וחלב, קרבנות מיוחדות: מנחת כהן משיח, קרבן תודה ---


סמיכה, שחיטה, זריקת הדם, הפשטה, ניתוח, הקטרה


תרומת הדשן

סמיכה, שחיטה, זריקת הדם, ניתוח, הקטרה


שמן ולבונה, קמיצה, הקטרה

--- קמיצה, הקטרה


סמיכה, שחיטה, זריקת הדם, הקטרת החלב


הקטרת החלב

סמיכה, שחיטה, זריקת הדם, הקטרת החלב
חטאת סמיכה, שחיטה, זריקת הדם, הקטרת החלב, שריפת בשר חטאות פנים



סמיכה, שחיטה, זריקת הדם, הקטרת החלב, שריפת בשר
אשם --- שחיטה במקום העולה, זריקה, הקטרת החלב ---

Vayikra 1-5 Vayikra 6-7 Shemot 29
Audience Lay Israelite


Moshe / Priests
Location & Time
Tent of Meeting Mt. Sinai Mt. Sinai
Order of Sacrifices Olah, Minchah, Shelamim, Chatat, Asham Olah , Minchah, Chatat, Asham, Shelamim [Chatat, Olah, Miluim, loaves of bread]
Unique Discussion Points Choice of animals to be brought. Types of Minchah offerings. Sins which obligate a Chatat / Asham Apportioning of offering. Prohibition of blood and fat. Unique offerings: מנחת כהן משיח, קרבן תודה ---
Sacrificial procedure: Olah Laying of hands (סמיכה), slaughter, sprinkling of blood, removal of skin, cutting, burning


Removal of ashes

Laying of hands (סמיכה), slaughter, sprinkling of blood, cutting, burning

Sacrificial procedure: Minchah

Oil and frankincense, taking a handful (קמיצה), burning, 

taking a handful (קמיצה), burning,


Sacrificial procedure: Shelamim

Laying of hands (סמיכה), slaughter, sprinkling of blood,  burning of fat


burning of fat

Laying of hands (סמיכה), slaughter, sprinkling of blood, burning of fat
Sacrificial procedure: Chatat Laying of hands (סמיכה), slaughter, sprinkling of blood, burning of fat, burning of meat of internal chatat



Laying of hands (סמיכה), slaughter, sprinkling of blood, burning of fat, burning of meat
Sacrificial procedure: Asham ---- Slaughter, sprinkling of blood, burning of fat -----