Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Send the Mother Away

   by Reb Gutman Locks   


     Believe it or not, the guy in the picture is trying to fulfil a Biblical commandment. He came up to me very early in the morning and asked about the mitzvah of shiluach ha-ken[i] (sending the mother bird away). He said that he did not have any children and he heard that this mitzvah is a "remedy" for him to have children.

      I told him how to do the mitzvah and a few minutes later I saw him standing on top of the fence that separates the men's prayer area from the women. He was sending a mother bird away from its nest in the Kotel to take the egg.

     This is a very interesting mitzvah. It is one of only two mitzvahs in the entire Torah brings us long life.[ii] A huge reward for such a small deed.

     Another interesting thing about this mitzvah is that we do not say a blessing when we do it. Although there is no definite reason given, some say it is because we might be chasing the father bird away without knowing it.

     A better reason not to say a blessing on this mitzvah is that once the mitzvah has been done on a particular nest that nest is no longer fit to have the mitzvah done there again. When we chase the mother away we take the egg or tiny bird and then we can either keep it or put it back. When we preform the mitzvah on any particular nest we do not know its history, and it could very well be that someone had already made the blessing on it, and a blessing on it now would be a blessing said in vain

     It's not every day that you get to stand on top of a fence to do a mitzvah.

[i] Deuteronomy 22:6

[ii] Deuteronomy 22:7, The other mitzvah is honoring one's parents


  1. I do not understand..
    Please explain to me...
    Is not taking the egg away from a mother bird so sad... its like that its her soon to be born little chick.. why take that away from the poor mother bird. I can imagine when she returns to her nest how her heart would break, at finding her little baby to be.. gone..
    She would weep.. thinking of that makes me want to weep.

    Hashem bless you and all the birds and beasts in our world. Amen.

  2. She would weep more if we ate her instead of the egg....but man has permission to eat animals if he wishes.

  3. But if it is not a time of hunger, and he doesn't need the egg, and wouldn't eat it anyway, should this really be encouraged to send the mother away, and take the egg that he doesn't know what to do with after he has it, just because it might be a 'Segulah' for having children??

    I don't understand how such an act of causing pain to the mother bird can result in a 'benefit' for him.

    Does this Mitzvah apply for all situations, or only when there is a food problem and he really needs the egg to feed his own dependents?

  4. Rav Gutman Locks,

    I agree with annoymous at 6:10pm..

    And also you wrote the mother bird would weep more if you ate her.

    How?? she would be gone, becuase you killed her...
    And why not pray directly to Hashem Creator of all things.. all creatures.. why hurt and break a mother birds heart, by stealing her yet to be born little chick... in order for one to get a child..

    I think its wrong and cruel.. Hashem the giver of life and everything.. the only ONE... pray to H-m.. and do not steal... a mothers bird little yet to be born chick waiting in an egg shell to grow, and make the mother bird happy.

    stella croning

  5. Rav Gutman

    I agree with the others.
    If we were really hungry and needed to eat the egg, then I can understand the Mitzvah of sending the mother away before taking it.
    But to put the mother through pain by taking the egg when we are not hungry?
    That seems to be within the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law.
    There has to be a fairer way to change one's mazal to make having a child more likely. ...extra charitable donations, reading a particular Psalm, a sincere Cheshbon Ha Nefesh, a renewed commitment to Mussar and avoiding Loshon Horah, or some extra study etc.


  6. This still upsets me...

    One if hungry can go find food by other means. first of all Pray to Gd directly.

    Besides what is a small egg like the guy climbing the wall to steal the poor mommy birds egg, do for him?

    take a life to get a life..??

    This is not right... this is not the way of Hashem..

    I will not feel good stealing from anyone.. especially a small helpless bird.

    sad very sad...


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