These divrei Torah were adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: Tape # 471, Autopsies on Non-Jews Good Shabbos!
Doing A Mitzvah Is No Excuse For Disregarding Another’s Feelings
In the laws regarding the sending away of the mother bird (Shiluach haKen), the verse states “You shall surely send away the mother and the children you shall take for yourselves”. Our Sages explain that it would be very painful for the mother bird to see her young chicks being taken away. To avoid causing this mental anguish, we are commanded to first send away the mother bird before taking her chicks. The Talmud [Chulin 141] infers from the tautology (shaleach teshalach) that the law applies even if the birds are needed for a matter involving a mitzvah.
Rav Mordechai Katz observes that there is a tendency sometimes to trample on peoples’ feelings when we are on the way to do a mitzvah. We may tend to feel that “the performance of the mitzvah takes priority over people’s feelings”. We take the approach that the doing of the mitzvah gives us carte blanche to disregard people’s feelings. “After all, I’m doing a mitzvah!”
The pasuk therefore emphasizes, “No. You must first send away the mother — even if your purpose is to do a mitzvah.” The fact that you are performing a mitzvah is no license to disregard the pain that you will be inflicting on the mother.
The Chazon Ish always used to recite the afternoon prayers in the early afternoon (“Mincha Gedolah”). One day he could not gather the requisite prayer quorum together. Fifteen minutes passed; twenty minutes passed; they still did not have a minyan. Finally a tenth person arrived. At that point the Chazon Ish’s brother-in-law, Rav Shmuel Granerman told the Chazon Ish, “It is now ten to one. I have an appointment at one o’clock. I told someone that I would meet him in a certain location.”
The Chazon Ish immediately told him, if you set up an appointment for one o’clock, then you need to be there for the appointment. Just because I need a minyan or these other people need a minyan, does not give you the right to disregard your word and keep somebody else waiting. “Certainly you must leave now. We either will have a minyan without you or we will not have a minyan without you; but your concern is to keep your word and not make the other fellow wait for you.”
“You shall surely send away the mother bird” — even if a matter of a mitzvah is involved.
Technical Assistance by Dovid Hoffman; Yerushalayim.
This week’s write-up is adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Torah Tapes on the weekly Torah portion (#471). The halachic topics dealt with in the portion of Ki Seitzei in the Commuter Chavrusah Series are the following:
- Tape # 020 – Non-Halachic Marriage Ceremonies
- Tape # 065 – Polygamy and the Cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom
- Tape # 110 – Mamzeirus: Possible Solutions?
- Tape # 156 – Reconciling Divergent Customs Between Husband and Wife
- Tape # 203 – The Pre-War “Get”
- Tape # 250 – The Mitzvah of Ma’akeh
- Tape # 293 – “Get Me’useh”: The Prohibition of the “Forced Get”
- Tape # 339 – Shana Reshona: The First Year of Marriage
- Tape # 383 – The Mitzvah of Burial
- Tape # 427 – Trying on Suits that May Have Shatnes
- Tape # 471 – Autopsies on Non-Jews
- Tape # 515 – Women Wearing Men’s Clothing
- Tape # 559 – The Double Portion of the Be’chor
Tapes or a complete catalogue can be ordered from:
Yad Yechiel Institute
PO Box 511
Owings Mills, MD 21117-0511
Call (410) 358-0416 for further information.
Also Available: Mesorah / Artscroll has published a collection of Rabbi Frand’s essays. The book is entitled:
and is available through your local Hebrew book store or from Project Genesis, 1-410-654-1799.