Torah Portion: Vayikra
“נפש כי תמעול… והביא את אשמו… ואת חמישתו יוסף עליו” (ויקרא ה טו-טז)
It is a positive commandment that a person who misused that which is holy, whether it was items consecrated for the Altar or consecrated for the upkeep of the Beis HaMikdash, or even segregated property of the Kohanim, or lesser-level consecrated objects, or one who inadvertently ate Terumah — in all these situations the person adds a fifth to the principal that he is returning and he brings a ram worth at least two selas as an offering for his omission. This offering is known as Asham Me’ilos, “the Guilt-offering for misuses.” Scripture thus writes: If a person commits treachery and sins unintentionally… he shall bring his guilt-offering to Hashem…. For what he has deprived the Sanctuary he shall make restitution, and add a fifth to it (Vayikra 5:15-16).
Among the roots of the mitzvah is the aim of instilling fear and trepidation in all people when they approach anything pertaining to the sanctified items. The benefit for people of having fear and grandeur in relation to the holies has already been elaborated.
This mitzvah applies when the Holy Temple stands, to both men and women.