(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis

Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 21:28:02 -0400 (EDT)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Deuteronomy 25:10 - 25:19

QUESTION: Can you explain the law that
says that if we take the young birds in a nest we should let the mother go
(and by so doing we will get "long days").What does "long days" means.

This was answered about 3 years ago in the email group, Bais
Medrash.  Briefly I show that "long days" is identical to what in Talmudic
Hebrew is known as the "next world". Here is a brief summary of my comments.

(a) Based on a Radack I point out that the Hebrew word "long" can refer not
only to QUANTITY but QUALITY. So eg getting better from an illness is
called "obtaining longevity". Similarly obtaining a higher quality life is
called "LONG DAYS". (When, by contrast, one wishes to refer to quantitative
length then one should use the phrase "long for him" (Cf Gen 26:8))

(b)If one gathers all times that the Bible promises "reward" or "long days"
then one sees about a dozen such occurrences. Upon examining these
occurrences we find that the reward for doing the commandments is to live
in a world where people talk about Gods greatness and his miracles, where
people study, where people live with their colleagues in skills, where
there is no anxiety because of cheating etc. In fact, the list just cited
coincides closely with the list of items that happens in the so called
next world when discussed in the Talmud.

So to make a long story short, Dt 25:10 is promising the "next world" to
those who "let the mother go" when taking the young. Finally to conclude,
(the original question) is referring to a talmudic story that
Elishah ben Avuyah actually saw a person climb a ladder, take the young and
let the mother go. But then the ladder collapsed and the child died.
Because Elishah did not know the interpretation of this phrase he became an

Russell Jay Hendel