The Book of Vayikra starts by detailing the olah (elevation) offering. One who brought an offering had to lay their hands upon it (semicha). The shechita (slaughter) of the animal could be done by a non-Kohen, but the processes thereafter were performed only by the Kohanim. The olah offering was cut up and all of the pieces were burned on the mizbeach (altar). The verses detail an olah offering brought from cattle, sheep or goats.
The Torah details the laws of an olah offering brought from fowl. It was also possible to bring an offering from fine flour (mincha), a handful of which was mixed with oil and thrown onto the altar’s fire. The rest was baked and eaten by the Kohanim.
Several voluntary meal offerings are listed, some baked, some fried. These offerings had to be unleavened. Every offering – whether animal, fowl or flour – had salt added to it. The laws of the Torah of the parched Omer offering are stated, which was brought on 16th Nisan.
A voluntary peace offering (shelamim) could be brought from cattle, sheep or goats. Only parts of it were burned on the mizbeach – other parts were eaten by the Kohanim and by the person who brought the offering.
People were commanded to bring sin offerings (chata’ot) for various inadvertent transgressions. A Kohen Gadol who accidentally contravened specific serious prohibitions had to bring a bull, parts of which were burned on the mizbeach; the rest were burned outside the camp. A similar process had to be done if the High Court’s (Sanhedrin) ruling caused an accidental transgression by the people. If a king accidentally transgressed certain mitzvot, he had to bring a male goat as an offering.
The variable offering (korban oleh ve’yored) was dependent on the financial means of the person who brought it – it could be an animal, birds or flour. This offering was brought by someone who intentionally refused to testify as a witness or who made a false oath. It was also brought by one who accidentally entered parts of the Temple (Beit Hamikdash) or touched sanctified objects when in a state of ritual impurity.
An individual who unintentionally derived benefit from sanctified objects had to bring a male ram as a guilt offering (asham), as well as paying for the ‘damage’ and adding an additional fifth to the cost. An asham was also brought by someone who was not sure whether they had inadvertently committed the type of sin for which one would normally bring a chatat.