The passuk states “ושור או שה אותו ואת בנו לא תשחטו ביום אחד, and an ox or sheep do not slaughter on the same
day, it and its offspring.” Rashi explains this applies to a female and her offspring; it does not apply to a male and its
offspring. It is permissible to slaughter the father and its offspring on the same day. Onkelos translates שור או שה as
“and a female ox or female sheep, she and her offspring do not slaughter on the same day.” The Nesina LaGer
explains that Onkelos translates the “ox and sheep,” are female, since he follows the opinion that this issur only
applies to females and their offspring, not males and their offspring. The Ramban says that both Rashi and Onkelos
are of the opinion that we do not care about the seed of the father animal, only the mother. The H’ksav V’ha’kabalah
brings according most poskim, that although there are no lashes when one slaughters a father and its offspring, there
is still an issur.
The Ramban is bothered, it is common throughout the Torah to mention the female animal explicitly. If so, why does
it not mention the cow here as well and state, “ופרה או כשבה אותה ואת בנה לא תשחטו ביום אחד, and the cow or the
female sheep, she and her offspring do not slaughter on the same day?” The Ramban answers, at the beginning of
this parsha, it states “שור או כשב או עז כי יולד, an ox or sheep or goat when it will give birth.” There, it also mentions
the mother and her son, as the following words state, “והיה שבעת ימים תחת אמו, and it shall be for 7 days by its
mother.” The following passuk states, with the species of שור (oxen) and שה (sheep) mentioned above there is
another mitzvah which applies with them, “that animal and its offspring, do not slaughter on the same day.”
The Netziv says that on the Yomim Tovim, we lein Parshas Ha’moadim, which speaks about all of the Yomim Tovim;
and we start from שור או כשב which speaks about laws of slaughtering animals and bringing them as korbanos. The
reason is because it is a time when many people bring obligatory and optional korbanos. Therefore, one has to be
more careful with these laws as they are more applicable than the rest of the year. For example, the Mishnah
teaches 4 times a year a seller has to mention: “I sold the mother animal to slaughter,” or “I sold the offspring to
slaughter” in order to make sure not to slaughter the mother and its offspring on the same day.
The Sefer HaChinuch explains, the reason for this mitzva is because Hashem wants a person to pay attention and
be concerned with each and every type of species that it should not become extinct – it should remain forever. When
a person slaughters a mother and offspring on the same day it is like ruining the tree and its branches together.
Therefore, Hashem said, do not slaughter a mother and her offspring on the same day, keep the species existence.
The Sefer HaChinuch brings another reason. This mitzva hints to instill in our hearts the middah of mercy and to
distance ourselves from cruelness which is a bad middah. Therefore, although Hashem permits us to slaughter
different types of animals, He forbid us to slaughter a mother and its offspring on the same day. Tosfos brings b’shem
the Kalir who composed the piyut to say on the 2 nd day of Pesach, “His righteousness, is not to slaughter it and its
offspring on the same day.” It seems that Hashem had mercy on it and its mother, therefore one shouldn’t slaughter
them together. The Maharsha brings b’shem the Tosfos Yeshanim, “See that your Father has mercy in the heaven, so
too you too should have mercy on the earth.” We see how sensitive and careful Hashem is with the feelings of
animals. Certainly, we should take this lesson to be sensitive and feel towards another person. (The Yerushalmi disagrees, they would quiet a person who would translate this way because they are making the
decrees of Hashem as merciful. Also see Tosfos Megillah 25)
May we follow Hashem’s ways and be sensitive and careful with another person’s feelings.