Click Here to Sponsor Daily Halacha
"Delivered to Over 6000 Registered Recipients Each Day"

Download print

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.


Related Parasha
Parashat Ki-Teseh: Emuna and Honesty - 2022 Year
Parashat Ki Teseh: Strengthening Ourselves in Preparation for Redemption - 2021 Year
Parashat Ki Teseh: The Transformation of Bilam’s Curse - 2020 Year
Parashat Ki Teseh- The Message of Yibum - 2019 Year
Parashat Ki Teseh- The Yeser Hara Strikes When Man is Distracted: Eshet Yefat Toar - 2018 Year
Parashat Ki Teseh: The Pinhole of Repentance - 2017 Year
Elul- Reasons for Joy and Optimism as We Head to Court - 2016 Year
Parashat Ki Teseh: Teaching Children Right From Right - 2015 Year
Parashat Ki-Teseh: Eshet Yefat Toar – Reclaiming the Lost Sparks - 2013 Year
Parashat Ki-Teseh: Misvot and the Potato Chip Syndrome - 2012 Year
Parashat Ki-Teseh: Tough Love - 2011 Year
Parashat Ki-Teseh: Beyond the Letter of the Law - 2010 Year
Shabbat Morning Class - Parasha Ki-Teseh - 2010 Year
Parashat Ki Teseh- The Challenge of Gratitude - 2009 Year
Parashat Ki-Teseh: Waging the Battle - 2008 Year
Sefer/Parasha:
Parashat Korah: Tammuz and Jealousy
Parashat Shelah: Satan and the Summer Months
Parashat Behaalotecha: Never be Satisfied
Parashat Naso: When Sin is Glorified
Shavuot- Treating Our Friends as Kings
Parashat Behar-Behukotai: Freedom and Family
Parashat Emor: The Sanctity of Shabbat
Parashat Kedoshim: Giving Criticism
Parashat Tzaria: Sara’at and Confronting Hardship
Parashat Shemini: Shame
Pesah- The Love Affair Between G-d and His People
Parashat Sav: Double Gratitude
Parashat Vayikra: Remembering Adam’s Sin
Parashat Vayakhel: The Merit of the Righteous Women
Parashat Ki Tisa: Elevating Beneh Yisrael
976 Parashot found