I am struggling to understand VAYIKRA (Book of Leviticus) Chapter 17 (http://www.breslov.com/bible/Leviticus17.htm#3) verses 3 and 4. I have read Are there extraneous words in Torah? (Are there unnecessary words in torah?) and I think I understand the underlying principle that there are no extraneous words in the Torah, but not the specific application to this verse. An animal may be slaughtered (Gunther Plaut's and Richard Friedman's translation) either inside the camp or outside the camp. Why then, does the text say "Inside the camp or outside the camp". I assume that the width of the boundary of the camp is very narrow.

My understanding of the text would be "If anybody in the house of Israel that slaughters an Ox, lamb or goat and has not brought it to the door of the tent of meeting, to present it as an offering to HaShem before the tabernacle of HaShem, then blood shall be imputed unto that person because they have shed blood; and that person shall be cut off from the people." That is not a translation, that is my understanding of the text and you can tell in a moment that that is the understanding of a liberal Jew.


  • 1
    Always cite the original Psukim inside the question. Links fade so your question.
    – Al Berko
    Dec 15, 2018 at 19:28
  • Possible duplicate of Are there unnecessary words in torah?
    – Al Berko
    Dec 15, 2018 at 19:29
  • Please clarify why your question is not a duplicate?
    – Al Berko
    Dec 15, 2018 at 19:30
  • 1
    Your question is so good that the Talmud (זבחים קז ע״ב) asks it! Answers it, too, but I haven't the patience at the moment to figure out what it's saying. Hopefully someone else will post an answer.
    – msh210
    Dec 15, 2018 at 19:43
  • See Rashi and the answer already given. Dec 15, 2018 at 23:24

2 Answers 2


It seems that According to Rabeinu Bacheye quoting Rashi, that Initially Hashem forbade Adam to eat slaughtered animals. Hashem only later on allowed slaughtered animals for either the Temple service when slaughterred as commanded inside the Beth Hamikdash, or for regular consumption. So if someone would consecrate an animal for G-d and then "spill/waste its Blood" by not adhering to the sacrificial procedures intentionally, he was never permitted to By G-d to do such a thing and has killed G-ds creature and has transgressed the prohibition of Adam not Kill animals so measure for measure his blood gets spilled by the punishment of Kareis (which means he will die before the age of 60).

דם יחשב לאיש ההוא דם שפך. מפני שבזמנו של אדם הראשון היו כל הבעלי חיים אסורין למאכלו כי לא הותר לו אלא הפירות כענין שכתוב (בראשית א) הנה נתתי לכם את כל עשב זורע זרע ואת כל העץ אשר בו פרי עץ, עד שנתחייבו כליה בדור המבול ונצולו בזכותו של נח ואז הותרו למאכלו, ועל כן יאמר בכאן כי מי שישחט במחנה או חוץ למחנה ואל פתח אהל מועד לא הביאו תחלה, דם יחשב לאיש ההוא דם שפך, כאלו שפך דם האדם, כי יחזור לאיסורו הראשון שהיה בזמנו של אדם, שוחט השור כמכה איש, כן פירש רש"י

So regular slaughtering for regular consumption can be done anywhere as stated Zevachim 106b the parameters of not slaughtering "outside the camp" was intended for Hekdesh (consecrated animals for Temple service) which cannot be slaught outside the encampment of the Divine presence i.e the Mishkan or Beit HaMikdash.


There were basically three "zones" as far as sacrifices were concerned. In Moses' times, they were: the Tabernacle (1), the rest of the camp (2), and beyond the camp (3). In King Solomon's times, those translated to: the Temple, the rest of the city of Jerusalem, and outside of Jerusalem. Sacrifices must be slaughtered in Zone 1, but many (e.g. the Passover lamb) can then be eaten throughout Zone 2.

Thus the verse is saying that you are in very big trouble if you attempt to slaughter a sacrifice outside of Zone 1: whether you are in Zone 2 (close isn't good enough), or Zone 3 (even though it's sufficiently far to never be confused with a real Zone 1 offering.)

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