“Do not take the mother together with her young” (Deuteronomy 22:6) Parashat Ki Tetzeh contains what some might view as an odd commandment, namely, “Shiluach HaKen,” the mitzvah for us to remove the mother bird from the nest before taking her young. This mitzvah is meant to inspire us to become more compassionate through sensitivity toward the mother bird. The Midrash in Devarim Rabbah 6:3 teaches us that even if we are not engaged in any particular work but are traveling along a road, the mitzvah of Shiluach HaKen, will always be with us.
Our opportunities to express compassion, help others, and grow as individuals, are endless and often come at unexpected times. While chances are not high that we will encounter bird’s nests on a daily basis, the mitzvah of Shiluach HaKen teaches us that even when we are busy with our daily routines, we sometimes find ourselves in a position to grow through being sensitive to the needs of others.