Parshas Ki Seitzei introduces us to the heartwarming but puzzling mitzvah of שילוח הקן, sending away the mother bird. “כִּי יִקָּרֵא קַן צִפּוֹר לְפָנֶיךָ בַּדֶּרֶךְ…שַׁלֵּחַ תְּשַׁלַּח אֶת הָאֵם וְאֶת הַבָּנִים תִּקַּח לָךְ לְמַעַן יִיטַב לָךְ וְהַאֲרַכְתָּ יָמִים” “When a bird’s nest happens to be before you on the road…You shall surely send away the mother and take the young for yourself, so that it will be good for you and will prolong your days.” (22:6-7). By sending away the mother bird before removing the baby birds, the Torah is teaching us to be compassionate. The reward for this, the pasuk tells us, is long life. Interestingly, the Torah tells us that this is also the reward for honoring your parents. What is the connection between these two mitzvos that the pasuk specifically mentions that a person receives the same reward for each of them?
Rashi here gives an answer, “אם מצוה קלה שאין בה חסרון כיס, אמרה תורה למען ייטב לך והארכת ימים, קל וחומר למתן שכרן של מצות חמורות” “If for an easy mitzvah which is not expensive, the Torah said ‘It will be good for you and will prolong your days’, all the more so is the reward for a hard mitzvah”. The Musaf Rashi expounds on this idea that the pasuk is teaching you to treat easy mitzvos exactly the same as the hard ones, after all, we have no idea what the importance of each mitzvah is. That’s the lesson of this pasuk, that the easy mitzvah of שילוח הקן has the exact same reward as the difficult mitzvah of Honoring Your Parents.
The Kli Yakar wants to connect the two mitzvos intrinsically. The pasuk says that doing the mitzvah of כיבוד אב ואם (Honoring Your Parents) will be good for you (“לְמַעַן יִיטַב לָךְ”). What exactly is the good that you get besides for the reward of long life? He explains, how do children learn to respect their parents? From seeing their parents respecting their own parents. So we see that the good that will come from you honoring your parents is that in turn your kids will honor you. The pasuk here by שילוח הקן gives parents another opportunity to teach their kids to respect them. When the kids see how their parents respect and are sensitive to the needs of animal parents, they will learn to be respectful of their own parents, causing good to come to you as a result of this mitzvah!
He also explains the reason why you receive long life for these mitzvos as well. By honoring your parents, you show that they came before you, and they honor their parents because they came before them, and so on and so forth till the beginning of time when Hashem was alone in this universe. So by honoring our parents we are showing our belief that the whole world started from Hashem. The same is true by honoring animal parents. Therefore, I believe the reward is long life so you can continue to spread this message to future generations.
See the brilliance of Hashem’s Torah! So many important lessons and principles learned out from a simple mitzvah which doesn’t even make sense practically! This should only make us want to dig deeper to try and uncover more secrets of the Torah. Through uncovering these secrets, we will learn more about how to live and enjoy our lives. For doing mitzvos is truly, “לְמַעַן יִיטַב לָךְ”, so that it will be good for you.