Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Chasidah

The Chasidah [white stork]

 וְאֵת הַחֲסִידָה  "The chasidah" [Shemini 11:19]

Why is its name chasidah (literally meaning "kind one") asks Rashi. "Because it does kindness with its companions with food."

According to the Ramban, said the Chiddushei HaRim (R' Yitzchak Meir Alter of Gur), the reason why the nonkosher birds are not kosher is because of their cruel nature.  If so, the chasidah should have been a kosher-type bird; after all, it bestows kindness upon its companions!

The chasidah acts kindly towards its companions, answered the rebbe, but it does not act kindly toward anyone else. This is why it is considered not kosher.

3 comments:

  1. Does this imply that one who is only kind to his or her own kind - background, upbringing, neighborhood, country but disregards or even denigrates someone different from them is considered cruel, in spite of the name Chassid/a?

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  2. The word for kindness is "chessed", whilst the term "chassid" refers to a follower of chassidic customs, which are steeped in kindness. "Chassid" and "Chassida" (feminine) both stem from the word "chessed".

    It is possible that someone who is a "chassid" can be unkind (even cruel), but if that person truly followed the teachings of chassidus, he would also know that this cruel trait that he possesses needs to fixed.

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  3. What a gracious and pure looking bird.

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