Parshat Ki Teitzei 5777–Shabbat Torah Study–The Value of Every Mitzvah

Parshat Ki Teitzei contains more mitzvoth than any other Parasha in the Torah. It is also home to one of the most beloved mitzvoth in the Torah that speaks to a core value of Judaism. Devarim 22:6-7. We do not take the mother bird with her young. Rather, we send the mother away. This mitzvah is called Shiluach haken. The common thought is that this is an example of mercy, much like the prohibition against boiling a baby goat in its mothers’ milk. No doubt we recoil from the thought of having a mother of any kind see its children suffer or die. Rabbi Elimelech Silberberg of Bais Chabad of West Bloomfield shared a midrash with me that, in addition to mercy, the core value of sending the mother away was actually Tikkun Olam. There is a midrash that explains that we do not take the mother with the young to save her to keep the species alive and to reproduce in the future, that taking the mother with the young can lead to extinction of a species. A midrash written down more than 2000 years ago speaks of environmental sustainability!
No doubt we are, as they say, Rachmanim b’nai Rachmanim—Merciful people who come from merciful people AND as merciful people we have an obligation to care for our planet and all of God’s creations.

Tomorrow we learn with D. Melissa Ser. 9:45 a.m. in the Shiffman Chapel. Come as you are. Stay as long as you like. We finish in time for the Rabbi’s sharing of Shabbat wisdom.

Shabbat shalom,

Paul

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