Gifts to the Temple and their Redemption Values

May 10, 2015

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃

Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying:

Leviticus 27:1

וְכָל־עֶרְכְּךָ יִהְיֶה בְּשֶׁקֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ עֶשְׂרִים גֵּרָה יִהְיֶה הַשָּׁקֶל׃

All assessments shall be by the sanctuary weight, the shekel being twenty geira.

Leviticus 27:25

The Torah goes on to discuss different gifts a person might dedicate to the Tabernacle or Temple, and what it would cost to redeem them in the event that is necessary. It begins by discussing how much he must contribute if he vows to offer the value of a human life (his own or someone else’s). A man of military age in worth 50 silver shekels, a woman worth 30. A minor male over the age of five is worth 20 shekels, and under that he is worth five. A minor female is worth 10 over the age of five, and three if she is younger. A senior male is redeemed at 15 shekels, while a female is redeemed at 10. If the person making the vow cannot afford the set price, the priest may evaluate a price he can afford instead.


An animal which is promised to God may not be redeemed, and anyone who substitutes a different animal causes both animals to become holy for God. If the animal is not suitable for the Temple, the priest will set its redemption value, to which a fifth must be added. Likewise, if someone consecrates his house to God, the priest will determine its monetary value so the owner can redeem it, at the cost of an added fifth, for his own use.


If the donor consecrates his field, the redemption value should be set according to the number of years it can be worked before the Jubilee, along with an added fifth. If he does not redeem his field, it becomes the priest’s for all eternity and is not returned during Jubilee. If the field he consecrated was not his own heritage, but one he bought from someone else, he must pay its redemption fee, and the field reverts to its original owner in the Jubilee.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why might someone vow to donate their own worth or someone else’s to the Temple?

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