Wednesday, August 14, 2013


A Dove in My Window


A dove has taken up residence in my bedroom window.  It’s nested and is sitting on 2 eggs. 

Being quiet and by a window we normally keep closed, it’s not bothering us in any way.  And as it’s a window we’re not moving by, we don’t seem to be bothering it. 

My children are very excited and quickly reminded me of the mitzvah of shiluach ha’ken – sending away the mother bird before taking the eggs or young.  I’ve hesitated because:

1. The mitzvah is sending away the mother, not the father.  How do you tell the sex of the one sitting at the moment?

2. I have no interest in the eggs (what am I going to do with fertilized dove eggs?)  I’ve been concerned if I take them and return them, the parents will abandon them.  And it doesn’t seem appropriate to take the eggs and then discard them (a mitzvah in name but not in actual purpose).  Nor do I have an interest in a baby dove, either as a pet or for food.

However, a brief review of the mitzvah and background from people who have done it says:

- The mother normally sits at night.

- Most species will return to eggs that have been taken and returned – so there is no issue of waste on my part or of causing pain for no valid purpose.

I think I’m going to give it a try.  I’ll let you know how it goes.


  1. Rav Shternbuch, shlita told my wife that to do it, she had to get an ad-hoc beit din to visit the window and delare before them that the nest/eggs are hefker) before doing the mitzvah since the applies if it is on your property.

  2. If you are worried about imprinting something human with the eggs, perhaps you can try using gloves.

  3. Oh how exciting. I see this as a blessing for your family because they are involved with Klal Yisrael and wish to bring honesty and fairness to all the children of HKB"H.

    Waiting eagerly for the birthing.

  4. I don't know about the views of the various authorities on this issue, but logically, shouldn't this mitzvah only apply if you want the eggs?

    If you want the eggs, then it's less cruel if the mother doesn't see you taking them. But if you don't want the eggs, but you take them just to fulfill the mitzvah, isn't this cruel, because you're causing unnecessary suffering to an animal (the bird will be upset when she comes back and the eggs are not there)?

    The purpose of this mitzvah is to make us sensitive to the suffering of animals -- and it's defeated if you take the eggs even though you don't want them.

    And of course you don't want them, because buying chicken eggs from the store is what you're used to and you have no need for smaller eggs (it would be inconvenient to use them for cooking since you're not using them).


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