May 28, 2019

shiluach hakan becomes a case of animal abuse in Lakewood

The mitzva of "shiluach hakan", sending away a mother bird and taking the chick or eggs, is an unusual one, not frequently performed. It is also not well understood as it instructs what seems to be a certain amount of cruelty yet brings with it a promise of longevity. It is also almost always done with a level of uncertainty - nowadays, as most of us in the Jewish community are not farmers or ranchers, we rarely know definitely if the bird we are looking at in a nest is the right bird for the mitzva - the female rather than the male, a kosher bird, if the nest is high in a tree we might not even be sure there are eggs in the nest... yet when the occasion befalls us, we rush to perform this "rare" mitzva to the best of our ability.

A shiluach hakan situation in Lakewood was pretty funny and weird when it became a public spectacle.

According to NJ 101.5, a report was filed with the Division of Fish and Wildlife about a family that came daily, over a period of a number of days, to beat and harass a goose in her nest near a pond - "perhaps to steal the eggs".

The article knows nothing about shiluach hakan and thus makes no mention of it. It is thought by the authorities and the witnesses that this family and the relevant children simply like to abuse geese, and maybe like goose eggs and need to steal them from a live nest.

The witness, a woman who wants to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution form the community, sits in an office overlooking the pond with the nesting geese. She witnessed a bunch of kids screaming at the geese and clapping and advancing towards the geese. Thinking nothing of it at the time, she later saw more kids coming, this time swinging sticks around the geese. She witnessed similar scenes on several consecutive days. She even witnessed them actually hit the goose with sticks and knocking it off its nest and into the water. Thankfully when authorities came the goose was examined and found to not be hurt.

Shiluach Hakan can look really strange to the public that knows nothing about it!







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11 comments:

  1. I suppose it's too much to ask of kids to think that if you have to hit the bird with a stick, you're not doing the מצוה correctly, if at all.

    And there's no מצוה to take the eggs in the first place. The מצוה is to send the mother away if one wants to take the eggs (such as to eat).

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    Replies
    1. as far as I recall there is a machlokes and the main accepted opinion is that even if you dont want the egg there is still a mitzva to do it

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    2. The Chasam Sofer says there is no mitzva. Only people corrupted by kabbala think otherwise.

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    3. it is right there in the chumash. why is this a kabbala issue?

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    4. Because the פסוק states: שַׁלֵּ֤חַ תְּשַׁלַּח֙ אֶת־הָאֵ֔ם וְאֶת־הַבָּנִ֖ים תִּֽקַּֽח־לָ֑ךְ לְמַ֙עַן֙ יִ֣יטַב לָ֔ךְ וְהַאֲרַכְתָּ֖ יָמִֽים׃

      The implication is that you want the eggs or the fledglings. Otherwise, you are causing needless pain to the mother, and that's a לא תעשה.

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    5. Because kabbalists introduced the idea that causing the crying of the mother bird is somehow beneficial in that it awakens God's mercy. The passuk is discussing a situation where the person wants the eggs or fledglings.

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  2. How do you know this was for Shiluach Hakan, instead of just rotten kids being rotten?

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    Replies
    1. it seems obvious to me. but maybe not. especially because the witness says they were going for the eggs

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  3. Someone has to be the pedantic one so I guess it has to be me. It's Shiluach HaKen, not HaKan. The Torah uses the words Kan Tsipor which is the possessive form. But the noun itself is Ken.

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    Replies
    1. haha! just the other day someone corrected me the other way saying it is shiluach hakan!

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  4. Thomas LowingerMay 29, 2019 12:08 AM

    I think the Torah says that if you want the little birds you should send the mother 3 times. If you do not desire the birds there is no mitzva.

    ReplyDelete

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