According to Leviticus 22:28:

Whether it is a cow or ewe, do not kill both her and her young on the same day.

Why couldn't animals be offered together with their parents on the same day?


Righteous Animal Treatment of [Leviticus 22:28] is explained by Moshe in Deuteronomy 22 regarding prohibition of exterminating a species.

[Devarim | Deuteronomy 22:6] : "If a bird's nest chances before you on the road, on any tree, or on the ground, and [it contains] fledglings or eggs, if the mother is sitting upon the fledglings or upon the eggs, you shall not take the mother upon the young." (כִּ֣י יִקָּרֵ֣א קַן־צִפּ֣וֹר | לְפָנֶ֡יךָ בַּדֶּ֜רֶךְ בְּכָל־עֵ֣ץ | א֣וֹ עַל־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֶפְרֹחִים֙ א֣וֹ בֵיצִ֔ים וְהָאֵ֤ם רֹבֶ֨צֶת֙ עַל־הָֽאֶפְרֹחִ֔ים א֖וֹ עַל־הַבֵּיצִ֑ים לֹֽא־תִקַּ֥ח הָאֵ֖ם עַל־הַבָּנִֽים)

[Devarim | Deuteronomy 22:7] : "You shall send away the mother, and [then] you may take the young for yourself, in order that it should be good for you, and you should lengthen your days." (שַׁלֵּ֤חַ תְּשַׁלַּח֙ אֶת־הָאֵ֔ם וְאֶת־הַבָּנִ֖ים תִּקַּח־לָ֑ךְ לְמַ֨עַן֙ יִ֣יטַב לָ֔ךְ וְהַֽאֲרַכְתָּ֖ יָמִֽים)

  • Ramban comments on [Devarim 22:6] stating : "we should not have a cruel heart and be discompassionate, or it may be that Scripture does not permit us to destroy a species altogether, although it permits slaughter [for food] within that group." [https://www.sefaria.org/Deuteronomy.22.6?with=Ramban&lang=bi&aliyot=0]

Why couldn't animals be offered together with their parents on the same day?

The action would be regarded as though you exterminated that entire species.

  • Link doesn't work, strangely. Please edit. Good explanation, though. How do I type out your name in English, btw?
    – Philip
    Oct 16 at 1:30

Ellicott encourages an act of mercy:

Not kill it and her young both in one day.—According to the ancient canons, this prohibition to slaughter the dam and its youngling the same day was not only designed to remind the Israelites of the sacred relations which exist between parent and offspring, but was especially intended to keep up feelings of humanity. Hence the ancient Chaldee version begins this injunction with the words, “My people the children of Israel, as our Father is merciful in heaven, so be ye merciful on earth.”

Similarly, Pulpit:

A lesson of charity is added. A young animal and its mother are not to be killed (though reference is specially made to sacrifice, the general word, not the sacrificial term, for slaying is used) on the same day, just as the kid is not to be seethed in its mother's milk (Exodus 23:19; Deuteronomy 14:21), nor the mother bird be taken from the nest with the young (Deuteronomy 22:6). Thus we see that the feelings of the human heart arc not to be rudely shocked by an act of apparent cruelty, even when no harm is thereby done to the object of that act. Mercy is to be taught by forbidding anything which may blunt the sentiment of mercy in the human heart. Leviticus 22:28

Likewise, Benson:

This Maimonides considers as a precaution of humanity, lest the dam should be brought to the altar while she is yet mourning the loss of her young, slain perhaps before her eyes. And, indeed, there is a degree of cruelty in the very idea of imbruing the hand in the blood of both parent and offspring at the same time. Therefore Jonathan, in his paraphrase, considers this as a symbolical precept, to teach the Israelites to be merciful, as their Father in heaven is merciful.

Why couldn't newborn animals be offered with their parents?

To do so would be cruel and against mercy and charity.

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