Return to the Nest by Avi Wollman


When describing Shiluach HaKan, the Mitzvah to send away the mother bird before taking away her eggs, the Torah begins by saying, “Ki Yikarei Kan Tzipor,” “When you happen upon a bird’s nest” (Devarim 22:6).  Interestingly, the Torah spells the word Yikarei with an Aleph at the end instead of the Hei one would expect to be there.  While the Torah clearly meant to say, “When one happens upon a bird’s nest,” the Pasuk ends up literally translating, due to our grammatical “error,” into, “If a bird’s nest is called out to you.”

According to Ramban, the purpose of Shiluach HaKan is to teach compassion; just as one must be compassionate to the mother bird, one must also show the same compassion to human beings.  (Ramban is careful to note that this Mitzvah is about compassion to people, not to animals.)  Keeping that in mind, Sefer Kol Dodi notes that despite the simplicity of the Mitzvah of Shiluach HaKan, it is very rare that one actually comes across an opportunity to perform it.  Therefore, when one does come across this Mitzvah, it simply cannot be plain coincidence.  It is in fact as the Pasuk says, that “the nest is calling out to him;” it is there to send a message to that person.  It may even be that the person needs to be more compassionate. 

Often in the course of a regular day we also pass by our own “birds’ nests” – events that happen to us that should send us a message about our behavior or Torah observance.  More often than not, however, we miss these messages.  We have recently entered the month of Elul, and Rosh Hashana is fast approaching.  In these last precious few weeks to do Teshuvah, it is important that we make an extra effort to notice these messages that are sent to us and reflect on those that we may have missed.  Hopefully, if we work on our flaws and pay attention to the messages that are sent to us, we will find ourselves closer to Hashem, His Torah, and of course, out true nest in Yerushalayim.


Positively Mistaken by Joseph Jarashow

Not by Words Alone by Rabbi Ezra Weiner