ובארצכם לא תעשו. לפי שהזכיר למעלה ומעוך והוא המסורס, לכך סמך ובארצכם לא תעשו כן לסרס שום בעל חי ואפילו טמא. וכשאמר בארצכם לא נאמר שלא נצטוינו אלא בארץ, שהרי הסרוס חובת הגוף הוא בכל מקום, ולא בא אלא לרבות כל שבארצכם ואפילו דברים טמאים שלא תסרסום. או יהיה מלת תעשו הפך העשיה והוא בטול התולדה, וכמוהו (קהלת ט׳:ה׳) כי אינם יודעים לעשות רע, כלומר לבטל הרע ולהסירו, וכן (בראשית ט׳:כ״ד) אשר עשה לו בנו הקטן, שדרשו בו רז"ל סרסו. ומזה לפי דעתי (משלי ו׳:ל״ב) משחית נפשו הוא יעשנה, כי החוטא בנאוף הוא משחית נפשו, ומי שמשחית נפשו בודאי יבטל אותה ויסירנה ממעלתה הראויה לה, כי אין ביד האדם לעשות הנפש ויש בידו להשחיתה ולבטלה.
ובארצכם לא תעשו, “and in your land you shall not do so.” Seeing the Torah had mentioned such defects as damage to the reproductive organs earlier in our verse, the Torah adds that it is forbidden to castrate animals in the land of Israel even if such animals were not intended as offerings. Even animals which are not fit for consumption by Jews must not be castrated. Contrary to the first impression that the word בארצכם, “in your land,” suggests that only in the land of Israel is it forbidden to castrate animals, this is misleading, and castrating G’d’s creatures is forbidden everywhere. The only reason the Torah wrote that word was to emphasize that even in our land where many of these animals cannot serve the general population as food seeing the animals in question are ritually impure, we must still not castrate such animals as a means of keeping down their numbers.
It is also possible that the use by the Torah of the word תעשו here points out that castrating an animal is equivalent to “undoing it;” G’d made it, we undo it but allow it to live at the same time preventing it from procreating. We find a similar use of the word לעשות in Kohelet 4,17 where Solomon speaks about כי אינם יודעים לעשות רע, “for they do not know that they are to destroy the evil and remove it.” At first glance we would have translated the verse as “they do not know how to do evil,” something that clearly does not fit the context of the verse.“ [Rashi does not have trouble with the ordinary meaning of the word לעשות in that verse. Ed.] Another verse in which the word עשה does not have the meaning which it usually has is Genesis 9,24 where the Torah speaks about אשר עשה לו בנו הקטן, normally translated as “which his younger son had done to him,” (Noach who had been naked in his tent). On the face of it, the son (Cham) had done nothing except tell his brothers that their father had uncovered himself while drunk. Nonetheless, our sages in Sanhedrin 70 use the word to mean that he had castrated his father. So we see that the word עשה, though normally meaning “did” in a constructive sense such as when G’d created the universe, may appear in exactly the opposite sense such as when depriving the animal of its regenerative potential by castrating it. This may also be the meaning of the word יעשנה in Proverbs 6,32, where Solomon writes משחית נפשו יעשנה, which at first glance looks as if he says that “he who destroys his life is really creating it.” Instead, the meaning is “if he wants to destroy himself let him do such a thing (commit adultery).” When someone destroys his soul, his life, he most certainly deprives (יעשנה) it of the opportunity to achieve its lofty aims..”