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In the covenant between the pieces (ברית בין הבתרים) all the animals had to be cut into two parts, but the two birds (dove תר and pigeon גוזל) are referred to as literally one bird (ואת הצפר לא בתר) that shall not be cut.

Rashi comments its about the nations and Israel (http://www.sefaria.org/Rashi_on_Genesis.15.10.2?lang=en&layout=lines&sidebarLang=all).

But I wondered why all the ones had to be cut into two, but the 'two' seem to be kept whole (as one)?

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In the future, the nations will be destroyed which is symbolized by the big animals being cut, while the Jews live eternally, which is symbolized by the birds staying whole. This is written in the second Rashi in Genesis 15:10.

"but he did not divide the birds: Since the idol-worshipping nations are likened to bulls, rams, and goats, as it is said (Ps. 22:13): “Many bulls surrounded me, etc.,” and Scripture states (Dan. 8:20): “The ram that you saw, the one with horns, represents the kings of Media and Persia,” and Scripture states (ibid. verse 21): “And the he-goat is the king of Greece.” And the Israelites are likened to young doves, as it is said (Song of Songs 2:14): “My dove, in the clefts of the rock.” Therefore, he divided the animals, as an allusion that the nations will gradually perish. “But he did not divide the bird,” as an allusion that Israel will exist forever. [from Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer , ch. 28; Targum. Ps. 22: 13]"

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya! Perhaps you could cite a source to back up your claim, to help improve your answer? Hope to see you around. – DonielF Jun 6 '17 at 15:35
  • Yes my source is the second Rashi in Genesis 15:10. – Ness Vachnine Jun 6 '17 at 23:39
  • Would you mind editing that into your answer, and perhaps quoting or at least linking it? – DonielF Jun 6 '17 at 23:41
  • I quoted it as I am unsure of how to link it. Thank you. – Ness Vachnine Jun 7 '17 at 13:13
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The splitting of the animals representing the umos ha'olam represents the splitting of the way gevurah and chesed are joined by the umos ha'olam to form society.

The implication of the joining of the tur (chesed, u'teruas melech bo) and gozal (din) is the way Hashem unites gevurah and chesed to create the society of the benei yisrael.

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    Do you have a source? – mevaqesh Oct 9 '16 at 5:58
  • This is really interesting because chesed and gevurah (ahava and yireh) are described by Chasidus as the two wings of a bird. – SAH Aug 8 '18 at 15:37

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