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If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young. (Deuteronomy 22:6)

In the grand scheme of things, why did Moses find it necessary to raise an issue such as this, seeing that many would consider it to be rather trivial? Seriously, when compared to murder, adultery and theft, why address this type of situation with God’s people? Judaism teaches that it is cruel to take the mother and her young – the implication being, to be killed together — because birds and animals instinctively care about their young just as we do. Therefore, it would inflict undue suffering upon the mother if they were to see their young slaughtered. Therefore, the Torah teaches that such grief should not be inflicted on birds or cattle, etc.

But there is something more to consider: if a person is willing to be cruel to birds and animals, it is likely — at least possible — that such a person will be inclined to treat their fellow man with cruelty. It is a matter of fact that, early in their life, mass murderers mistreated animals before graduating to human beings. The point then is, Moses reminds God’s people that we are to be considerate and compassionate to all of God’s Creation, even the smallest of creatures. And if we are to be so careful where animals are concerned, how much more so with people?

If He considers even the tiniest sparrow, how much more does He consider us seeing that we, “are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31). In turn, we are to be considerate of our fellow man because they, too, are of more value than many sparrows. Thus, in the end, what we are to glean from this instruction is a simple but fundamental truth: as His people, we are to be merciful even as He is merciful so that our days may be prolonged. Because He cares for us, we should care for others — the young, the old and the defenseless.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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