For the week ending 3 December 2022 / 9 Kislev 5783

Perek Shira: The Song of the Starling

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by Rabbi Shmuel Kraines

The Starling says, “Their progeny became known amongst the nations and their descendants within the peoples. All those that see them recognize that they are the progeny blessed by Hashem.” (Yeshayahu 61:9)

Starlings are very common worldwide and individual flocks can number over one million. The flapping of their wings can be heard hundreds of meters away.

Starlings are known to mingle with the non-Kosher raven. Halachically, mingling of species is an indication of their relationship, but only if they are alike. That is, if two alike species mingle, and one is known to be non-Kosher, we classify the other is non-Kosher as well. Starlings, however, have distinguishable appearances and behaviors, and are therefore

Thus, the starling sings of the Jewish people, who have been forced to mingle amongst the nation throughout their exile but who have remained distinct — and therefore pure. With sideburns, circumcision, tzitzit, tefillin, mezuzahs and a code of conduct that refuses to bend to immoral winds of the secular society, we stand proudly as a nation within nations. The starling’s verse describes us being “known,” that is, distinct, despite our being “amongst the nations.” It is due to our clinging to our traditions that we remain “a progeny blessed by Hashem.”

That which we have stated that the starling is Kosher is in accordance with one opinion in the Gemara, which does not necessarily reflect the Halachah.Kosher.*

  • Sources: Bereishis Rabbah 65:3; Chullin 65a; Kenaf Renanim; Beis Elokim; see also Yaavetz and Kol Rinah. Wikipedia.

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