On vayikra pasuk 1:2 rashi quotes vayikra rabba 2:7 saying that the Torah's choice of the word אדם teaches that just as Adam harishon didn't offer stolen sacrifices since everything belonged to him we should likewise not do so.

How does that seem like a reasonable comparison? Of course Adam didn't steal from anyone because for a certain period he was the only person who existed so who would he have stolen from? Even if he "stole" from Chava and his children the stolen items would still exist in his family and be part of the family property. Since all of mankind came from Adam, no one was a "stranger" to him but family.

Therefore, the source for the Torah's lesson about not offering stolen animals doesn't seem to work. Why would rashi have chosen it?

  • "How does that seem like a reasonable comparison" This isnt a binyan av, on which you would ask אין דנין אפשר משאי אפשר, rather it seems to be a derasha based on the less commonly used term 'adam'. We arent learning from Adam, but from an extra word.
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 5, 2017 at 18:28
  • Adam HaRishon's children, Kayin an Hevel, were adults. They had property. They brought their own offerings. See the commentary Yafeh Toar to Vayikra Rabba 2:7. Apr 7, 2017 at 1:07
  • @YaacovDeane They weren't adults nor is there any reason to assume they had property at the age of one day old.
    – Double AA
    Apr 7, 2017 at 13:30

4 Answers 4


Beautiful question! In fact, Rav Schwab asks it in his sefer in Chumash! As Yisroel Reisman writes, "Rav Schwab (in Mayan Beis Hashoeva page # 242) explains, when we say not to bring a Korban that is stolen, the point is not the negative that something that is stolen is not appropriate for a Korban. That you indeed cannot learn from Adam. The point is that a person who brings a Korban gives up something that he owns. He takes something and he gives it away. (אָדָם כִּי-יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם). Adam brought something that was his. It is true that it was his. There can be no thought that it could be stolen as there was nobody else. That is not the point. The point is (אָדָם כִּי-יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם). A person who brings a Korban gives from that which is his, from that which he owns.

This thought that the Chashivus, the importance of a Korban is that you are giving up something that is yours. Your sacrificing, a Korban is called a sacrifice. Kavayochel as if a person gives back to G-d. This idea that a Korban is giving up your own thing, fits well with what Poskim say in the B'air Heitev in Hilchos Arba Minim, that a person who can get a Cheftzah Shel Mitzvah for free, someone who offers him a free Lulav, someone who offers him free Matzah, someone who offers him any Mitzvah for free, should make some type of payment for it. (אָדָם כִּי-יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם) A person in doing a Mitzvah should entail some type of sacrifice, some type of giving something up in order to do the Mitzvah. That is not to say that you are not allowed to take something for free. But it is to say that in the Hashkafa of the Mitzvah a person should give up in something he has and that is the Drasha of (אָדָם כִּי-יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם). Give from something that is yours. "


As you say, there was no possibility of Adam having stolen from another person, and that is the point. The connection made by the words of the Torah between sacrifices and Adam is meant to generate a requirement incumbent on people who exist in a world that does include the possibility of stealing, to carefully preserve, in their conduct pertaining to sacrifices, the pristine innocence from theft that was intrinsically part of Adam's world.


אדם is a loshon of greatness, in its context, either humanity as a whole, or אדם הראשון as he is humanity in its source, or מלאכים as greatness . איש means a male human. See malbim here on Safro. Therfore since it is written אדם and not איש, we are taught a derasha, that we must emulate אדם הראשון and only bring a korban that is identical to Adams, not different, but a korban from גזל is different!

  • "אדם is a loshon of greatness, " Source?
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 5, 2017 at 18:26
  • כבר אמרנו כי שם "אדם" נבדל מן שם "איש" במה שמורה על גדרו המיוחד מצד שהוא אדם, לא מצד שהוא יש ונמצא כיתר בעלי חיים שעל זה מורה שם "איש". והנה המציאות הזה שבעבורו יקרא בשם "אדם" יהיה לפעמים
    – Stam
    Apr 6, 2017 at 13:31
  • Mlbim he.m.wikisource.org/wiki/…
    – Stam
    Apr 6, 2017 at 13:32
  • In general, sources are best referenced in posts themselves.
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 6, 2017 at 15:03

On the simplest level, the idea of stealing is taking or using something which belongs to another without their permission.

In this specific case, Rashi says that "Adam HaRishon didn't bring offerings from stolen property; that everything belonged to Him."

This is brought out from Rashi's comment that this posuk is speaking exclusively about a korban Nadavah, meaning a free-will offering.

אדם כי יקריב מכם: כשיקריב, בקרבנות נדבה דיבר הענין

The idea of a Free-will offering is that one has no personal benefit in bringing it, like is emphasized in Sifra, parshat Tzav 15 starting with the words וישחט ויקח משה and also in Yalkut Shimoni, parshat Tzav 515 beginning with the words וישחט ויקח סשה את הדם ויתן על קרנות המזבח. There is no sin and no obligation in this type offering. So the Kaparah described is not the common usage of the word, meaning as an atonement or reparation for a debt. Rather, it is Kaparah in the sense of self-effacement or Bittul. The nullification of the sense of self to G-d's true unity and oneness. This is a continuation of the same theme that is mentioned by the Tur to VaYikra 1:1 in regard to the use of the small letter Alef in the opening word to the parsha.

The emphasis is not that everything belonged to Adam HaRishon, which would be false. Rather it was emphasizing that everything belonged to G-d like is understood from Rashi's own words to Divrei HaYomim-1 29:10-16.

וכי מי אני ומי עמי כי נעצר כח להתנדב . שדחקנו עצמנו להתנדב כל כך בזאת הנדבה ולא משלנו אלא ממך הכל וחלקת לנו מעט :

כי גרים אנחנו לפניך . ואין לנו חלק ונחלה בארץ ולא אחוזה אלא לגור בה דוגמא כי גרים ותושבים אתם עמדי ( ויקרא כה ) :

ככל אבותינו . אדם שיש לו בנים ונחלות ומכר כל הנחלות ואם באים בניו לגור באותה נחלה לימים ושנים הם נקראים גרים ותושבים אבל אבותינו היו אורחים וכן אמר דוד אין אנו כן אלא גם אנו וגם אבותינו כולנו גרים ותושבים בעולם דכתיב לך שמים אף לך ארץ תבל ומלואה אתה יסדתם ( תהלים פט ) :

This is also the meaning in the opening blessing of the Amidah prayer: קונה הכל (translated in the Metsudah Siddur as "Who possesses everything") and like is found in the Hebrew/English Shimshon Rafael Hirsch Siddur for nusach Ashkenaz. This also follows the definition of Koneh when used as a noun in Jastrow's Dictionary of Targumim, Talmud and Midrashic Literature, volume 2, page 1334.

What Rashi means is that Adam HaRishon would make a blessing before and after the korban which is the manner that G-d makes its use permissible. And this follows the same procedure that we follow in regard to eating a meal. The dining table at which we eat is compared to the altar in Chagiga 27a which says:

פתח במזבח וסיים בשלחן רבי יוחנן וריש לקיש דאמרי תרוייהו בזמן שבית המקדש קיים מזבח מכפר על אדם עכשיו שלחנו של אדם מכפר עליו:

The meals that we eat are compared to the korbanot that we offered in the Temple. This concept as it pertains to food and drink is explained in Sha'ar HaMitzvot of Rabbi Chaim Vital, page 41a starting with the words, ואמנם כשתאכל.

A much longer and detailed explanation is found there beginning on page 41b beginning with the words כוונת האכילה which repeats this idea at the bottom of page 42b and concludes on page 46b at the top of the page. If we eat without making the blessings, it is considered like stealing from the One who owns it.

  • 2
    "What Rashi means is that Adam HaRishon would make a blessing before and after the korban" Source?
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 5, 2017 at 18:24
  • 2
    "The emphasis is not that everything belonged to Adam HaRishon, which would be false" מה אדם הראשון לא הקריב מן הגזל, שהכל היה שלו
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 5, 2017 at 18:26
  • 2
    "...that everything belonged to Him." What is your source for translating "him" with a capital H (referring to HKB"H) rather than "him" referring to Adam? I have seen some rashi translations that don't use "Him". Take www.chabad.org which uses Judaica Press for starters which translates rashi's שלו as "his" and not "His.
    – הבלשן
    Apr 5, 2017 at 20:29
  • 3
    A quick check of Rashi's source (Vayikra Rabba 2:7), cited in the question, reveals this answer to be completely false. -1 and please delete.
    – Double AA
    Apr 5, 2017 at 23:56
  • 2
    @YaacovDeane It is clear that you consider your reading of this Rashi and antecedent Midrash to be convincing. To me and others here, it seems to be a misinterpretation of the words of Rashi and the Midrash. The commentary on the Midrash that you cited to support your interpretation clearly interprets the Midrash the other way, consistent with its plain meaning. In particular, it does not say anything about re-interpreting the subject of birshuto. You're entitled to present your own reasoning, but please don't ascribe it to those who haven't stated it.
    – Isaac Moses
    Apr 7, 2017 at 17:19

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