1

It is a positive commandment1 to cover the blood of a kosher wild beast or fowl2 that was slaughtered, as [Leviticus 17:13] states: "If you will snare a wild beast or a fowl that may be eaten, you shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth." Therefore, before covering it, he is obligated to recite the blessing: Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the earth who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to cover the blood.

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לְכַסּוֹת דּם שִׁחִיטַת חַיָּה טְהוֹרָה אוֹ עוֹף טָהוֹר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יז יג) "אֲשֶׁר יָצוּד צֵיד חַיָּה אוֹ עוֹף אֲשֶׁר יֵאָכֵל וְשָׁפַךְ אֶת דָּמוֹ וְכִסָּהוּ בֶּעָפָר". לְפִיכָךְ חַיָּב לְבָרֵךְ קֹדֶם שֶׁיְּכַסֶּה בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל כִּסּוּי הַדָּם:

2

[The mitzvah] to cover the blood applies to animals that are at hand and those that are not at hand. [The verse mentions:] "If you will snare" only because it speaks about the commonplace situation. It applies with regard to ordinary animals, but not to those consecrated: whether they were consecrated [to be offered on] the altar or consecrated to the Temple treasury. If a person transgresses3 and slaughters [such an animal], he is not obligated to cover its blood.

ב

כִּסּוּי הַדָּם נוֹהֵג בִּמְזֻמָּן וּבְשֶׁאֵינוֹ מְזֻמָּן. לֹא נֶאֱמַר (ויקרא יז יג) "אֲשֶׁר יָצוּד" אֶלָּא בַּהוֹוֶה. וְנוֹהֵג בְּחֻלִּין וְלֹא בְּמֻקְדָּשִׁין. בֵּין קָדְשֵׁי הַמִּזְבֵּחַ בֵּין קָדְשֵׁי בֶּדֶק הַבַּיִת. וְאִם עָבַר וּשְׁחָטָן אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְכַסּוֹת אֶת דָּמָן:

3

If a person slaughters a wild beast or a fowl and afterwards, consecrates them - or consecrates the blood - he is obligated to cover the blood.4

ג

שָׁחַט חַיָּה וְעוֹף וְאַחַר כָּךְ הִקְדִּישָׁן אוֹ הִקְדִּישׁ אֶת הַדָּם חַיָּב לְכַסּוֹת:

4

It is necessary to cover the blood of a hybrid that comes from the mating of an animal and a wild beast or an animal that we do not know whether to classify as a domesticated animal or a wild beast,5 but one does not recite the blessing.6 When a person slaughters for the sake of a sick person on the Sabbath, he is obligated to cover the blood after the Sabbath.7 Similarly, when a person slaughters an animal whose status is doubtful or is a hybrid on a festival, he should cover its blood after the festival.8

ד

כִּלְאַיִם הַבָּא מִבְּהֵמָה וְחַיָּה וְכֵן בְּרִיָּה שֶׁהִיא סְפֵק בְּהֵמָה אוֹ חַיָּה צָרִיךְ לְכַסּוֹת וְאֵינוֹ מְבָרֵךְ. הַשּׁוֹחֵט לְחוֹלֶה בְּשַׁבָּת חַיָּב לְכַסּוֹת לְאַחַר שַׁבָּת. וְכֵן הַשּׁוֹחֵט סָפֵק אוֹ כִּלְאַיִם בְּיוֹם טוֹב מְכַסֶּה דָּמוֹ לְאַחַר יוֹם טוֹב:

5

When a person slaughters many fowl and several types of wild beasts in one place, he should recite one blessing and cover the blood of all of them together at one time.9

ה

הַשּׁוֹחֵט עוֹפוֹת וּמִינֵי חַיָּה בְּמָקוֹם אֶחָד מְבָרֵךְ בְּרָכָה אַחַת לְכֻלָּן וְכִסּוּי אֶחָד לְכֻלָּן:

6

When blood becomes mixed with water, one is obligated to cover it if it has the appearance of blood. If not, one is not liable. If it became mixed with wine or the blood of a domesticated animal, one considers it as if they were water. If were [the wine or blood] to have been water, [the mixture] would have appeared to be blood, he is obligated to cover the entire mixture. If not, he is not obligated.

ו

דָּם שֶׁנִּתְעָרֵב בַּמַּיִם אִם יֵשׁ בּוֹ מַרְאֵה דָּם חַיָּב לְכַסּוֹת וְאִם לָאו פָּטוּר. נִתְעָרֵב בְּיַיִן אוֹ בְּדַם בְּהֵמָה רוֹאִין אוֹתָן כְּאִלּוּ הֵם מַיִם. אִם אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיִּרְאֶה מַרְאֵה הַדָּם שֶׁחַיָּב לְכַסּוֹתוֹ כְּשִׁעוּר זֶה אִלּוּ הָיָה מַיִם חַיָּב לְכַסּוֹת הַכּל וְאִם לָאו פָּטוּר:

7

If a person covered blood and then it became revealed, he is not obligated to cover it a second time.10 If blood was covered by [dust blown] by the wind, one is not obligated to cover it.11 If it became revealed again after the wind covered it, he is obligated to cover it.12

ז

כִּסָּהוּ וְנִתְגַּלָּה אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְכַסּוֹתוֹ פַּעַם אַחֶרֶת. כִּסַּתְהוּ הָרוּחַ אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְכַסּוֹת. חָזַר וְנִתְגַּלָּה אַחַר שֶׁכִּסַּתְהוּ הָרוּחַ חַיָּב לְכַסּוֹת:

8

If there is no other blood [from the slaughter] except the blood which spurted out [while the animal was being slaughtered] and the blood on the knife,13 one is obligated to cover it.14

ח

דָּם הַנִּתָּז וְשֶׁעַל הַסַּכִּין אִם אֵין שָׁם דָּם אֶלָּא הוּא חַיָּב לְכַסּוֹת:

9

[The following rules apply if] one slaughters and the blood is absorbed in the ground. If a mark remains, he is obligated to cover it. If not, it is as if it was covered by the wind15 and he is not obligated to cover it.

ט

שָׁחַט וְנִבְלַע הַדָּם בַּקַּרְקַע אִם רִשּׁוּמוֹ נִכָּר חַיָּב לְכַסּוֹת. וְאִם לָאו הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁכִּסַּתְהוּ הָרוּחַ וּפָטוּר מִלְּכַסּוֹת:

10

The only blood that must be covered is the blood of slaughter [that produces meat] that is fit to be eaten, as [the prooftext cited] states: "that may be eaten."16 Therefore, if a person slaughters and the animal is discovered to be trefe, one slaughters ordinary [fowl or beasts] in the Temple Courtyard,17 one slaughters fowl or beasts that were condemned to be stoned to death,18 one slaughters an animal and causes it to become a nevelah, one is not obligated to cover the blood. Similarly when a deaf-mute, a mentally or emotional incompetent person or a minor slaughters in private, there is no obligation19 to cover the blood [of the animal] they slaughtered.20

י

אֵין חַיָּב בְּכִסּוּי אֶלָּא דָּם שְׁחִיטָה הָרְאוּיָה לַאֲכִילָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יז יג) "אֲשֶׁר יֵאָכֵל". לְפִיכָךְ הַשּׁוֹחֵט וְנִמְצֵאת טְרֵפָה. אוֹ הַשּׁוֹחֵט חֻלִּין בַּעֲזָרָה. אוֹ הַשּׁוֹחֵט חַיָּה וְעוֹף שֶׁנִּגְמַר דִּינָן לִסְקִילָה וְהַשּׁוֹחֵט וְנִתְנַבְּלָה בְּיָדוֹ פָּטוּר מִלְּכַסּוֹת. וְכֵן חֵרֵשׁ שׁוֹטֶה וְקָטָן שֶׁשָּׁחֲטוּ בֵּינָן לְבֵין עַצְמָן פְּטוּרִין מִלְּכַסּוֹת דַּם שְׁחִיטָתָן:

11

With what should [the blood] be covered? With earth,21 lime, gypsum, fine fertilizer, fine sand that need not be crushed by a potter, crushed rocks and earthen-ware, fine flax chips, fine saw dust, bricks, burnt mud,22 and sealing clay that are crushed, for all of these are types of "earth." If, however, one covered it with a utensil or with stones, it is not considered as "covered," for the verse states "with earth."

יא

בַּמֶּה מְכַסִּין בְּסִיד וּבְגַפְסִית בְּזֶבֶל דַּק וּבְחוֹל דַּק שֶׁאֵין הַיּוֹצֵר צָרִיךְ לְכָתְשׁוֹ וּבִשְׁחִיקַת אֲבָנִים וַחֲרָשִׁים וּבִנְעֹרֶת שֶׁל פִּשְׁתָּן דַּקָּה וּבִנְסֹרֶת חָרָשִׁים דַּקָּה וּבִלְבֵנָה וְחַרְסִית וּמְגוּפָה שֶׁכְּתָשָׁהּ שֶׁכָּל אֵלּוּ מִין עָפָר הֵן. אֲבָל אִם כָּפָה עָלָיו כְּלִי אוֹ כִּסָּהוּ בַּאֲבָנִים אֵין זֶה כִּסּוּי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יז יג) "בֶּעָפָר":

12

For this reason, we do not cover [blood] with coarse fertilizer, coarse sand, flour, bran, grain fiber, or filings from metal utensils, for these are not types of "earth." There is one exception: filings of gold alone may be used to cover [blood], for they are called "dust,"23 as [Job 28:6] states: "And it possesses the dust of gold" and [Deuteronomy 9:21] speaks [of grinding the Gold Calf] "until it was thin, into dust."

יב

לְפִיכָךְ אֵין מְכַסִּים בְּזֶבֶל גַּס וְחוֹל גַּס וְקֶמַח וְסֻבִּין וּמוֹרְסָן וּשְׁחִיקַת כְּלֵי מַתָּכוֹת לְפִי שֶׁאֵין אֵלּוּ מִין עָפָר. חוּץ מִשְּׁחִיקַת הַזָּהָב בִּלְבַד שֶׁמְּכַסִּין בָּהֶם מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּקְרָא עָפָר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (איוב כח ו) "וְעַפְרֹת זָהָב לוֹ" וְאוֹמֵר (דברים ט כא) "עַד אֲשֶׁר דַּק לְעָפָר":

13

We may cover [blood] with oven soot, stibium,24 powder from mills, and ashes. [This includes] ashes from trees and ashes from clothes, even ashes from meat that was burnt, for [Numbers 19:17] speaks of "the ashes of the burnt sin-offering."25 It is permitted to cover [blood] with the ashes of a city that went astray [and was therefore destroyed].26

יג

מְכַסִּין בְּשִׁחוֹר וְהוּא פִּיחַ הַכִּבְשָׁן וּבְכוֹחַל וּבְנִקְרַת פְּסִילִים וּבְאֵפֶר בֵּין אֵפֶר עֵצִים בֵּין אֵפֶר בְּגָדִים אֲפִלּוּ אֵפֶר בָּשָׂר שֶׁנִּשְׂרַף שֶׁהֲרֵי כָּתוּב (במדבר יט יז) "מֵעֲפַר שְׂרֵפַת הַחַטָּאת". וּמֻתָּר לְכַסּוֹת בְּעָפָר עִיר הַנִּדַּחַת:

14

One who slaughters must place earth below27 and then slaughter, [pouring the blood] into [the earth]. Afterwards, he covers it with earth. He should not slaughter [and pour the blood] into a container28 and then cover it with earth.

יד

הַשּׁוֹחֵט צָרִיךְ לִתֵּן עָפָר לְמַטָּה וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִשְׁחֹט בּוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ יְכַסֶּה בְּעָפָר אֲבָל לֹא יִשְׁחֹט בִּכְלִי וִיכַסֶּה בְּעָפָר:

15

The person who slaughters [the animal] should cover its blood,29 as [the above prooftext ] states: "[You shall pour out its blood and] cover it with earth."30 If he did not cover the blood and another person sees it, he is obligated to cover it, for this is an independent mitzvah and is not dependent on the slaughterer alone.31

טו

וּמִי שֶׁשָּׁחַט הוּא יְכַסֶּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יז יג) "וְכִסָּהוּ בֶּעָפָר". וְאִם לֹא כִּסָּהוּ וְרָאָהוּ אַחֵר חַיָּב לְכַסּוֹת שֶׁזּוֹ מִצְוָה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָהּ וְאֵינָהּ תְּלוּיָה בַּשּׁוֹחֵט לְבַד:

16

When a person covers the blood, he should not cover it with his feet,32 but instead with his hands, a knife, or a utensil, so that he will not treat it with disdain and regard the mitzvoth with scorn. For the mitzvot in and of themselves are not worthy of honor. Instead, [the honor is] due He, blessed be He, who commanded us to observe them and [thus] saved us from groping in darkness and thus granted us a lamp to straighten crooked paths and a light to illumine the upright ways.33 And so [Psalms 119:105] states: "Your words are a lamp to my feet and a light for my ways."

Blessed be G‑d who grants assistance.

טז

וּכְשֶׁמְּכַסֶּה לֹא יְכַסֶּה בְּרַגְלוֹ אֶלָּא בְּיָדוֹ אוֹ בְּסַכִּין אוֹ בִּכְלִי כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִנְהֹג בּוֹ מִנְהַג בִּזָּיוֹן וְיִהְיוּ מִצְוֹת בְּזוּיוֹת עָלָיו. שֶׁאֵין הַכָּבוֹד לְעַצְמָן שֶׁל מִצְוֹת אֶלָּא לְמִי שֶׁצִּוָּה בָּהֶן בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְהִצִּילָנוּ מִלְּמַשֵּׁשׁ בַּחשֶׁךְ וְעָרַךְ אוֹתָנוּ נֵר לְיַשֵּׁר הַמַּעֲקַשִּׁים וְאוֹר לְהוֹרוֹת נְתִיבוֹת הַיּשֶׁר. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (תהילים קיט קה) "נֵר לְרַגְלִי דְבָרֶךָ וְאוֹר לִנְתִיבָתִי":