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Study and Theory/

Eliezer Shmueli

Purim from a Bird’s-Eye View 

On the birds’ journey (from: Birds of Israel, Masada Press 1957)

The journey of birds to the Land of Israel, and across it to Africa, begins when the summer is at its peak, gradually increases until the chilly days that come at around mid-November. At this time, migration southward stops, and new faces cease to appear in the country. The species for which the Land of Israel serves as a passageway, have passed and moved southward. And most of those who find themselves winter lodgings in our borders, have come and settled in. This standstill lasts about two months; already in February, the equilibrium is upset and the flow starts to tip in the opposite direction, from south to north. With regard to the wintering birds, some awaken and begin to leave the country en route to their areas of incubation. The migrating birds, after spending the rainy season in Africa, gradually begin to move northward; just as the journey to Africa takes several months, so the return from hibernation takes until late spring. If we note July as the month in which southward migration begins and the first guests appear in Israel, then May is the last month of the respite from the journey north.


Even the stork in the heaven knows her appointed seasons; and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration; but my people do not know the judgment of the Lord.

(Jeremiah 8:7)

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