Ask the Rabbi

  • Halacha
  • Sending of the Bird

Shiluach Hakan


Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Iyyar 28, 5782
I live in an apartment building. There’s a nest on my window sill under an air conditioner. Can I do the mitZva? Is it private property? If yes, do I need to take the entire nest or just one egg/bird? Also, May I put the nest or egg back? If yes when? Honestly, I don’t want to hear the mother crying on my window. I am a very sensitive person.
ב"ה Shalom The torah says "When you come across a bird's nest…" (Devarim 22:6) from which the Talmud (Chullin 139a) infers that this excludes a nest which is one's private domain. Therefore, the very fact that the nest is on window sill already exempts you from the Mitzva. In addition, the fact that you don't really want the eggs is another factor, which according to many Halachic authorities exempts you from the Mitzva. However, there are other Halachic authorities who are of the opinion that since you never had intention to acquire the eggs, your private domain doesn't automatically make the nest to be part of your property and therefore, you may still fulfill the Mitzva. (שו"ת דבר חברון יורה דעה חלק ב סי' תו מביא מספר שילוח הקן להרב דוד בן זיקרי סי' פט סעיף יח,) In addition, according to Kabbalistic sources there is great importance to fulfilling this mitzva at least once in your life. Therefore, it has been suggested that in order to reconcile the conflicting sources and the fact that you are not interested in taking the eggs, it is enough that you just shoo away the bird by shouting or in some other manner and that will be sufficient without the need to actually take the nest with eggs. A Bracha should NOT be said. (Pinenei Halacha) Assuming that if the said bird is a pigeon, it should be noted that the male and female exchange shifts sitting on the eggs. The female sits on the eggs from late afternoon until the next morning. So, if you want to fulfil the Mitzva, which is meant to be done to the female, you should do so sometime late in the afternoon until early morning. All the best
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