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Aaron sinned accidentally. He wasn't expecting Israel to actually worship the calf any more than they worshipped Moses, (see Nahmanides on Exodus 32:1). He also didn't abide the worship, making sure to inform sinners of their transgression, (Leviticus Rabah Tzav). He brought a sin offering for his error. Israel on the other hand abided their countrymen's ...


With very few exceptions, sacrifices are for inadvertent violations which can include violations which would have had a death penalty had it been on purpose and with witnesses and warning - for example a Shabbos violation. If the person forgot what day it was, or forgot that the specific activity was forbidden, they would have to bring a sacrifice. (Rambam ...

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