Torah Thoughts on Parshas Ki Seitzei by Jay Meystel
"כִּי יִקָרֵא קַן צִפּוֹר לְפָנֶיךָ בַּדֶּרֶךְ בְּכָל עֵץ אוֹ עַל הָאָרֶץ אֶפְרֹחִים אוֹ בֵיצִים וְהָאֵם רֹבֶצֶת עַל הָאֶפְרֹחִים אוֹ עַל הַבֵּיצִים לֹא תִקַח הָאֵם עַל הַבָּנִים" דְבָרִים כ''ב:ו'
“If a bird’s nest happens to be before you on the road, on any tree or on the ground – young birds or eggs – and the mother is roosting on the young birds or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother on the young.” Devarim 22:6
You can feel it in the air. As we approach the final days before the Yamim Nora’im – with only two weeks until Selichos, and three weeks until Rosh Hashanah, we know that it is time for us to get our act together. As daunting as that is, we should know that the Ribbono Shel Olam wants to help us get over the finish line. He who wants to purify himself is assisted מִן הַשָׁמַיִם. We know from Pirkei Avos (4:2) that מִצְוָה גוֹרֶרֶת מִצְוָה וְעֲבֵרָה גוֹרֶרֶת עֲבֵרָה – one mitzvah causes us to do another mitzvah and doing a transgression causes us to do another one. In this week’s parashah we find examples of both sides of this rule.
The Da’as Zekeinim MiBa’alei Tosfos points out the reason for the sequence of that mitzvos that follow each other. The mitzvah of שִׁלוּחַ הַקֵן, sending away the mother bird before taking the chicks or the eggs, is an easy mitzvah, yet the Torah tells us that one’s days will be extended for doing this mitzvah. The next section speaks about the mitzvah of מַעֲקֶה, building a guarding structure to insure that no one will fall off an unprotected roof. The third topic speaks about not mixing seed planting together or plowing with two different types of animals, and then the prohibition of שַׁעַטְנֵז, followed by the mitzvah of tzitzis. Thus we have the following scenario. If one does שִׁלוּחַ הַקֵן he will merit long days and will build a house that will need a guarding fence. He will then have fields that need to be planted and he will have the animals necessary to do their associated labors. Then he will have nice garments and will be able to perform the mitzvah of tzitzis. So we see how the Ribbono Shel Olam tries to help us go in the right direction.
On the other side, with an עֲבֵרָה, it doesn’t work the same way. Hashem does not help us do a second עֲבֵרָה, but lets us follow our evil inclination. We see that in the beginning of the parashah, if a soldier is enticed to bring a יְפַת תֹּאַר into his house and, despite her not being allowed to beautify herself, he marries her, it will lead to an unstable household, where one wife is loved and one is hated, which will lead to having a בֵּן סוֹרֵר וּמוֹרֶה. Hashem did not push this outcome, but it comes from natural behavior.
Let us hope that we all make the effort to do teshuvah, so that we will be inscribed for a שָׁנָה טוֹבָה וּמְתוּקָה.
Jay Meystel graduated from Yeshiva High School of HTC in 1966. He has served in a leadership role for many community organizations in Chicago and beyond for many years. He has worked closely together with Rabbi Yehoshua Eichenstein, the Zidichover Rebbe, in building and growing Cong. Chessed L’Avrohom, which developed into The Chicago Center and its role as a model institution which serves its community & the entire city.