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    Universal love & compassion – Sh’mini

    In the section of this week’s reading dealing with the food laws we find a reference (Lev. 11:19) to the stork, called in Hebrew chassidah.

    Rashi says, “Why was it called a chassidah? Because it was kind and affectionate towards other birds.” (Chassidah is from the word chessed, lovingkindess.)

    If then the chassidah was so highly regarded, why was it not a kosher bird, especially since Nachmanides says that the non-kosher birds are cruel?

    One answer is that though the chassidah was loving, it was only to its own kind and not to outsiders.

    Love and compassion should be bestowed universally.

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