Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shabbos Shira and our Feathered Friends

This Shabbos is Shabbos Shira, and as I wrote last year, it is a custom for some to put out food for the birds on this Shabbos. To avoid any problems I put out the food before Shabbos. This time of year the birds are really having to scrounge to find food, so be generous if you can. I put out some tins containing a mix of bread crumbs, crushed cereal, seeds and bits of dried, chopped fruits. I also make some balls to hang on the trees, using peanut butter to hold the dry mixture together.

Why feeding the birds? Apparently somewhere it is written that our feathered friends joined in in singing the Shir Shel Yam. Regardless, this has been minhag in our families forever, and I love watching the birds as they find their winter treats. Amazing what little it takes to make them super happy. Hmmm, might be a lesson to learn in there.


Lion of Zion said...

" To avoid any problems I put out the food before Shabbos. "

what problems?

profK_offspring said...

I'm actually sort of flummoxed at how to do it now that I'm in Teaneck for Shabbos Shira. The squirrels seem to regard it as their Divine Right to take whatever food might be left out for the matter where you put it.

ProfK said...


Personally my biggest problem might be to forget to put out the food on Shabbos, especially if it's cold and I'm not outside for any other reason. Then there is is. Over the years I've heard lots of people who have said that you can't feed wild animals, birds included, on Shabbos. Some people say you can't walk on grass over Shabbos because of the tearing aspect. Some say you can't put the balls up on the trees because it might cause you to tear off needles from the tree. One person told me that if I have seeds in my mixture I have to be careful because if any of the seeds fall on the grass as I'm putting out the food then I'm guilty of sowing, not allowed on Shabbos. I take the cowards way out and I'm not asking any shailot--I just put out the food before Shabbos.

Daughter dear,
Try sprinkling just a touch of mint scented water over the bird food--you know the squirrels will avoid the mint whenever possible.

Lion of Zion said...

amazing that no one apparently had these problems when the minhag first started.
of course in brooklyn there is the carrying problem as well.
(i don't know anything about הלכות שבת, but i'm pretty sure there is no problem with walking on the grass. or with lying on the grass. however playing ball on grass, e.g., soccer, is a big no-no. at least that's what i remember from שמירת שבת כהלכתא. and what did people do before the advent of concrete and asphalt? and where did people in grassy areas walk before the advent of asphalt and concrete?

Leahle said...

We put out the food for the birds before Shabbos. Don't know about how or if the feathered friends got any but there were a lot of furry friends feeding themselves.