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In Deuteronomy 22:6, we read the following command:
“If you chance upon a bird’s nest along the road, in any tree or on the ground, with fledglings or eggs, and the mother is sitting over the fledglings or the eggs, do not take the mother together with her young.”
Leviticus 22:28 commands us not to slaughter the mother bird w/ it’s chicks on the same day. The Rambam in his Guide to the Perplexed explains that animals also have feelings, too. He writes,
“[Regarding the slaughtering of animals,] the Law enjoins that the death of the animal should be the easiest. It is not allowed to torment the animal by cutting the throat in a clumsy manner, by poleaxing, or by cutting off a limb whilst the animal is alive.”
The same love that illuminates from a mother is duplicated in the love of a mother bird. People and birds share the same faculty for love and tenderness. The Rambam goes on to say that we should avoid hurting animals. The Rambam shows compassion for humans, too, writing that we should not eat the eggs of the bird because the food may not be healthy (or kosher) and it teaches consideration for other people. The same applies to the mother bird who sits nestled on her nest. We should shoo her away to prevent her from seeing the deaths of her young, for it pains her to see her young taken, boiled, and eaten. It may even prompt us to leave the nest untouched and the chicks alive if the eggs are unfit for consumption. But Nachmanides disagrees. He contends:
“…that it was not a matter of G-d’s mercy extending to the bird’s nest or the dam and its young, since His mercies did not extend so far with them, for, if so, He would have forbidden slaughter altogether. But the reason for the prohibition [against taking the dam with its nest, or against killing the dam with its young in one day] is [only] to teach us the trait of compassion and that we should not be cruel, for cruelty proliferates in man’s soul.”
Nachmanides adds a mystical reason to the mitzvah but does not elaborate.
My question: If G-d created birds, why should He command we eat them? Why didn’t He make us all vegetarian so the birds could live? I am interested in the birds' specificity. What is the logic behind this mitzvah?