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Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the website.  We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given.  For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website.  If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the website.

Creating Bridges

Mediation, bridges and connections are an important part of life. When we do not have them, we often find oppression, aggression, or simply loneliness. Human beings are created to relate to each other and to relate to G‑d, but very often the links are hidden, concealed under blankets of ego, self-interest and materialism.

The double Torah reading this week expresses the theme of “bridges” on several levels.

Read more: Creating Bridges

Is It Dangerous To Go To Israel

“It will bem when you come the land which I have given to you ... a land flowing with milk and honey” (Deuteronomy 27:3)

Is it dangerous to go to Israel? Perhaps not as dangerous as not going.

What is the danger of going? Something may happen. Likely? No. Possible? Like anything else in life.

What is the danger of not going? Well, nothing. Nothing will happen. Nothing noticeable, nothing remarkable, nothing tangible. Only a subtle, nearly imperceptible shift will happen. Subtle can be profound.

Read more: Is It Dangerous To Go To Israel

Mother and Nest

If you chance upon a bird's nest, in any tree or on the ground, with fledglings or eggs, and the mother is sitting over the fledglings or on the eggs, do not take the mother together with her young. Let the mother go and take only the young... (Deuteronomy 22:6)

Nachmanides writes that, on the most basic level, the reason for this mitzvah is to teach us compassion.

Taking the child within the sight of the mother would cause the mother acute pain. A mother's love and compassion for her offspring is, in Maimonides' words, "not a function of the intellect or speech, but a function of the thought process that exists in animals as well as in people."

By performing this mitzvah, we are training ourselves to feel empathy for all G-d's creations.

According to the Zohar, this commandment also has a profound cosmic impact by arousing heavenly mercy for the Jewish people.

When the mother bird is driven from her nest, she cries bitterly and despairingly over her separation from her young.

Read more: Mother and Nest

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