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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad


Ki Tetzeh 49-2

When you go out

Deuteronomy 21:22 22:7

If you come across a bird's nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young. 7 You may take the young, but be sure to let the mother go, so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life.

Deut. 22:6-7 NIV

 

Why is there such a great promise in such a small commandment?

The Eternal promises a prosperous and long life to all those who won't take the mother with the eggs or the young from a nest. It's a very big promise, similar to the promise that is connected to the commandment to honour one's father and mother (Deut. 5:16). In other words, the one who honours his parents will have a long life and it will go well with him; and the one who doesn't take the mother together with the eggs from a bird nest will have a long life and it will go well with him.

Isn't the commandment of honouring the parents much more important than to let a bird go away when taking the young or the eggs from its nest in case of need? Then, why does the Eternal give the same promise for the fulfillment of these two commandments?

This teaches us that it's not sure that a reward for keeping a commandment that we consider big is larger than the reward for keeping a commandment that we consider small. If they are commandments from the Eternal they are important, in spite of them being "significant" or "insignificant". That's why we shouldn't underestimate any of them.

Another thing that we learn from this is that cruelty against animals prevents the blessing from the Eternal and even shortens life. The animal creation is wonderful and the relationship of love between a couple of birds when they devote themselves to each other and they make a great effort together to prepare their nest for their young, and the devotion these creatures have for their offspring speaks about the love of the Eternal. Only the fact of seeing how a mother bird sacrifices herself for her offspring deserves our respect. The insensitive one who doesn't have limits when he needs to exploit the animal world has a cruel character. Even though the Eternal allows men to take advantage of the chicks or the eggs, He doesn't allow him to go further for respect to the mother. The mother has to be set free to be able to have more offspring.

This procedure is a display of respect to the birds, and to the Eternal, as well as to the natural ecosystem of creation. By finishing off the mother as well as her offspring an ecological imbalance is created which affects, not only the earth but also men's life in it.

So, on the one hand, the man who respects this commandment will have a sweeter and less cruel character which will bring him blessing and long life and on the other hand, he will learn to take care of nature in such a way that the ecosystem's balance is not affected, which would otherwise have a negative impact on men's life conditions. Men were created to interact with nature responsibly, not to exploit it irresponsibly. By setting a limit in the exploitation of animal and plant life so that they can continue to reproduce in a natural way, men will become more prosperous and will enjoy a longer life.

Even though this commandment seems insignificant, it has a very important principle; that men learn to be responsible and careful with all the creation; mainly live beings, but also with materials that are not alive.

Do not underestimate any of the commandments. They are all for men's benefit. Learn well and also teach your children to be responsible with nature even in little details and so we'll have a better world also from the broader point of view. Set yourself a limit when taking advantage of natural resources so that you won't harm the ecosystem created by the Eternal. Respect life and the animals' feelings and you'll be prosperous and enjoy a long life.

Blessings,

Ketriel


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