A few offerings are waved (moved upward, downward, back, and forth) as a part of the process of offering them. If I'm not mistaken, the following is a complete list:

  • The asham of the m'tzora, while it's still alive, along with the oil he brings.
  • The fats destined for the mizbeach, and the chaze v'shok (breast and leg), of an individual's sh'lamim.
  • The kivse Atzeres (sheep brought specially on Shavuos), while alive, along with the bread brought with them.
  • The kivse Atzeres's fats destined for the mizbeach.
  • The omer.
  • The mincha of a sota.
  • Bikurim.

Why these specifically? What's special about these korbanos (and bikurim) that has to do with waving?

Note that I'm not asking how we know these are waved: in each case, there's a pasuk from which we derive the halacha. Rather, I'm asking why God commanded that these be waved.

  • See Shemot 38:24, 29.
    – Double AA
    Mar 18, 2012 at 6:09
  • 1
    You forgot to include the lulav on your list.
    – Double AA
    Mar 18, 2012 at 6:10
  • @DoubleAA, also the l'viyim. And hosha'nos. But I meant to include only korbanos (and, well, bikurim are like korbanos).
    – msh210
    Mar 18, 2012 at 6:12
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    I know the lulav is not a korban. But I don't think it is coincidental that it is the only thing waved aside from these korbanot especially in light of lulav bamikdash kol shivah, mitzva habaah ba'aveira which many rishonim limit to kodshim (see the pasuk that the gemara sukka30a brings as a proof), the meimra of r abahu on sukkah 45a going on b, and other evidence.
    – Double AA
    Mar 18, 2012 at 6:15
  • @DoubleAA, lulav is (a) not "the only thing waved" (I gave examples of the l'viyim and hosha'nos) and (b) waved in a process called nianua, not t'nufa like the korbanos, which makes it sound (to me) like its waving's in a different class than korbanos'. That said, if someone can offer a reason that applies to the things I asked about and lulav, too, that'll be great!
    – msh210
    Mar 18, 2012 at 17:06

2 Answers 2


I found something that might be helpful in your search. The Meam Loez discusses why the chazeh v'shok are waved (Vayikra 7:30):

The Hebrew word for chest is chazeh, which also has the connotation of seeing. We thus find, "His eyes shall see (ye-chezu), his eyelids shall discern the children of man" (Psalms 11:4). This teaches that God's eyes and eyelids know people's deeds and nothing is hidden from them. That is why the chest (chazeh) is waved in all four directions: east, west, north, and south. The fat, inner organs, and the kidneys also teach that God looks into the innermost recesses and hearts of all people. The leg is waved up and down. This teaches that God has the power to raise and to lower.

There most be more explanations on the other offerings, but perhaps this can contribute to your answer.

  • Can you post a link to this on Hebrew Books?
    – Yehoshua
    Oct 28, 2012 at 20:15
  • Hebrew Books doesn't have Meam Loez for Vayikra. The English version is found in the Torah Anthology, Vol. 11, Parashat Tzav Ch. 7, pg. 176 translated from the Ladino by R. Aryeh Kaplan.
    – Aryeh
    Oct 28, 2012 at 20:28

The Gemorah in Menachos 62a says the reason is to stop "bad winds":

אמר רב חמא בר עוקבא אמר רבי יוסי בר רבי חנינא מוליך ומביא כדי לעצור רוחות רעות מעלה ומוריד כדי לעצור טללים רעים

Although I realize this is not an answer as to why "davka" (specifically) the ones that are waved.

  • Note that that passage is referring only to the kivse Atzeres and the bread brought with them, not to the other things. (Cf. Tosafos.)
    – msh210
    Oct 24, 2012 at 22:50
  • @msh210 Thanks for pointing that out. I discussed this with a few Talmidei Chachamim and no one pointed out the Tosfos...
    – Yehoshua
    Oct 25, 2012 at 6:40

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