|Positive Mitzvah Seventy-Two
The Offering of Higher or Lower Value
Requires Beit HaMikdash
We are commanded to offer a sacrifice of Higher or Lower value for certain definite transgressions.
The transgressions for which this sacrifice is requires are: the defilement of the Sanctuary or its Hallowed Things, an Oath of Utterance ( i.e., an oath binding one to perform or to refrain from an action which the Torah does not forbid, e.g. 'I swear that I will eat this loaf', etc.) and a [false] Oath concerning Testimony. If one who has been made unclean by any of the primary sources of uncleanness (Literally, 'fathers of uncleanness'; that is, factors which in conveying uncleanness to other things cause them in turn to become 'offspring of uncleanness'. 'Fathers of uncleanness' may transmit uncleanness to men and to vessels; whereas 'offspring of uncleanness'' can transmit uncleanness only to food and drink) unintentionally enters the Sanctuary, which would involve defilement of the Sanctuary; if one unintentionally eats meat that is holy, which would involve defilement of its Hallowed Things; if one swears an Oath of Utterance and unintentionally fails to keep it; if one swears a false oath concerning testimony, either unintentionally or willfully - in each of these cases he must offer what is called a Sacrifice of Higher or Lower Value.
This sacrifice is called a Sacrifice of Higher or Lower Value because it does not have to be one specified kind, but may vary in accordance with the means of the transgressor who has to offer it.
The Sacrifice of Higher or Lower Value varied in accordance with the threefold division of wrong - doers into the affluent, the poor, and the destitute. If one incurred this obligation while in state of affluence, and, after setting apart the prescribed amount of money for the sacrifice, subsequently became impoverished, the valuation of the sacrifice was reduced in accordance with his impoverished status, so that he might retain the difference for his own use. The same principle applied if one was reduced from poverty to utter destitution. On the other hand, if one was of moderate means, and, after setting apart the prescribed amount of money for the sacrifice, became affluent, the valuation of the sacrifice was raised accordingly.