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Performing Shilu’ach Haken

Can you explain the dinim of shiluach hakan? I found a nest with four birds on my porch-the mother bird was going back and forth feeding her chicks all day, how is the mitzvah done?

Answer:

The mitzvah it performed by sending away the mother bird (with a stick) while she is nesting on eggs or chicks, and then taking the chicks for oneself. Note, however, the following points:

1. According to many authorties, the mitzvah applies only when a person wants to take the eggs or the chicks for his personal use. If a person has no use for the eggs or the chicks, the authorities write that one should not cause the mother-bird undue agony. However, other poskim write that there is always a mitzvah of sending away the mother bird and taking the eggs/chicks for oneself, even when one has no real desire for them (see Tosafos, Kiddushin 34a; Chavas Ya’ir 67; Pischei Teshuvah, YD 292:1; Asuch Hashulchan 292:5; Chasam Sofer, Orach Chaim 100; Chazon Ish, Yoreh De’ah 175).

2. If the chicks/eggs are found on a private porch, many authorities agree that the mitzvah does not apply, because one “acquires” the eggs/chicks for oneself by means of one’s private domain. The mitzvah only applies to eggs/chicks that don’t belong to you. Therefore, in order to fulfill the mitzvah, one should stipulate when one sees the beginning of a nest that one does not wish to “acquire” the nest and its contents by means of the domain.

3. The mitzvah only applies to kosher birds, and not to non-kosher fowl.

4. The mitzvah applies only to sending away the mother bird, and not to the father bird, who is often the one that looks after the nest during the day.

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2 Comments

  1. if you stand next to a person fulfilling the mitzva of shiluach haken, is it considered as if you also did it or what extent does this mitzva have an influence on the buystanders?

    1. The people that are stading next to the person doing the mitzcva are not the ones doing the mitzva, (unless they are encouraging him to do it then they get reward for the encouragement.) Nevertheless the is an idea that if someone can’t actually do the mitzva that he should try to be associated with it, as a show of attachment to what is being done. Showing that you want to do a mitzva also has an influence on us, and H-shem sees our desires, even if we can’t actually do the mitzva.

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