Why are we commanded to cover the blood of slaughtered animals and fowl? I know that G‑d has a reason for everything, and I just would like to understand this more.


Although the Torah does not explicitly state any reason for this mitzvah (as is the case with so many mitzvot), the following are a few of the explanations brought in Judaic literature.

  1. Several verses before the commandment to cover the blood, the Torah tells us,1 “The soul of the flesh is in the blood.” It is through the blood that the soul, which is based in the heart, reaches every part of the body and gives life. From that perspective, it would be quite cruel to consume a creature while its soul and lifeblood are lying before you. Some explain this to be the reason for the Torah’s commandment to cover the blood soon after the slaughtering.
  2. The mitzvah to cover the blood applies only to fowl and non-domesticated animals (such as deer), and not to domestic animals. All types of domestic kosher animals were brought as sacrifices in the Holy Temple, as opposed to fowl, from which only two species (doves and turtledoves) were offered on the altar, and non-domesticated animals, which were not acceptable as sacrifices at all. Hence, the mitzvah to cover the blood derives from respect for blood, which as mentioned above is the lifeblood of the creature. This lifeblood was endowed by its Creator with the ability to bring atonement when sprinkled on the altar. Those bloods which are never used for this purpose are therefore covered out of respect.
  3. Blood represents life, warmth and enthusiasm. These attributes are intended to be sanctified—sprinkled on the altar in the Holy Temple. Our excitement should be open and unrestrained with regards to serving G‑d, doing a favor for another, fulfilling mitzvot or studying Torah. The mitzvah to cover the blood teaches that during those parts of our lives that are not “sacrifice material,” meaning the mundane and “secular” moments, we should “cover the blood” and restrain our excitement.

Best wishes,
Rabbi Baruch S. Davidson