In this week’s Torah reading, we read about the korban chatat, sin-offering, that one must bring to the altar if he/she commits a sin. The interesting thing about this offering is that it is brought when a transgression was committed by accident – unintentionally. Why should someone have to bring a sacrifice (and spend a lot of money too!) if it was “just by accident”? Why are we punished for a mistake?
How do you usually feel when you accidentally break a plate while washing dishes? Or when you bump into someone as you’re running through the mall? Or when you close a drawer on someone’s finger?
When we quickly shout out “sorry” – what are we exactly sorry for? Discuss…
The Torah is teaching us that we must take responsibility for the times we say “oops” – because the truth is we could have been more careful: Handle dishes gently and they don’t break, walk through a mall and you won’t hurt anyone and look before you close a drawer and make sure no one’s finger is there! What we think of as “mistakes” are usually “careless inattentive behavior”. Think about what you might have done this week by accident that you could have avoided. By bringing a sacrifice in the mishkan, we learn that we have more control and responsibility than we think.