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Parashat Ki Teseh: The Mother Bird & Amalek

The Torah in Parashat Ki-Teseh presents the Misva of Shilu’ah Ha’kan, which requires sending a mother bird away from the nest rather than taking it together with the eggs. One of the unique features of this Misva is that it applies only when one chances upon a bird’s nest. The Torah writes, "Ki Yikareh Kan Sipor Lefanecha Ba’derech" – "If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the road" (22:6), clearly indicating that the Misva applies only if one happens to chance upon a nest.

Interestingly, we find the concept of "Yikareh" – something happening "by chance" – at the very end of this Parasha, as well. There the Torah commands us to remember Amalek’s attack against Beneh Yisrael, and it describes how "Asher Karecha Ba’derech" (25:18) – Amalek "chanced upon you along the way." The Rabbis explained this to mean that Amalek attacked Beneh Yisrael not only militarily, but also ideologically. Amalek championed the belief in happenstance, that the world runs randomly without any rhyme or reason. According to this belief, there is no cause or explanation for anything, as all events on earth occur randomly and are not controlled by any overarching force.

Our response to Amalek is the Misva of Shilu’ah Ha’kan. The Torah commands sending away the mother bird so it does not experience the pain of seeing its young being taken away. It is an act of sensitivity of compassion. But the Torah emphasizes that this is purely "by chance." We are to show this sensitivity only to a bird, and only in the specific instance when we happen to pass by a nest and want to take eggs. It seems entirely arbitrary that this particular bird is given compassion and spared the pain of watching its eggs being taken. When we comply with the Misva, we show that we trust that Hashem has a plan and everything is calculated. We trust that there is good reason why specifically this creature at this particular time is to be shown compassion, and so we send away the mother bird. Whereas Amalek believed that everything happens by chance, we believe that everything is orchestrated by G-d. And thus even "Ki Yikareh," when things seem to happen arbitrarily, we are not deterred, and remain faithfully devoted to fulfilling Hashem’s commands.


Sefer/Parasha:
Parashat Hukat- Seeing the Inner Goodness
Parashat Korah: The Origins of Korah’s Revolt
Parashat Shelah: Fulfilling Our Mission
Parashat Beha’alotecha- Teaching and Growing
Parashat Naso- Rectifying the Sin of Adam and Hava
Shabuot- Sara Imenu and the Roots of the Jewish Monarchy
Shavuot- Yes, the Torah is For Us
Parashat Behar: The Way to Look at a Fellow Jew
Lag Baomer- Reinforcing Our Bitahon
Parashat Kedoshim: Complementing One Another
Parashat Tazria-Mesora: Revealing Our Hidden Treasures
Parashat Shemini in Year of Pandemic 5780|2020- Inaugurating the Heavenly Altar
The Exodus and the Process of Spiritual Healing
Pesah: Earning Redemption, Then and Now
Parashat VaYikra- Hard Work is Good
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851 Parashot found