Parshat Haazinu likens G-d to an eagle “who awakens its nest, hovering over its eaglets…”

Question folks! Why an eagle? What’s the comparison here, what are lessons learned, why the eagle metaphor? We ended Minyan early and had some time before Kiddush so we asked students around the Shabbos lunch table to share their thoughts and insights. Here’s a sampling of what was said, based on what we remember after Shabbos:

Eagles are very powerful birds, the alpha predator of the skies. Yet when they come down on their own young, they hover, gently awakening the nest, they don’t swoop down hard and aggressive as they do when they hunt. (Rabbi Israel Rubin uses this very same explanation to interpret “light as an eagle” in Pirkei Avot). – Yonatan A. 

This isn’t the first time eagles are mentioned in the Torah. Back up a few books to the time just before Sinai, G-d told the Jewish people that he’d carry them “on the wings of eagles” so maybe this verse in Haazinu is referencing back to that earlier verse in Yitro. – Grant H. 

Eagles are both the symbol of the USA, and were a symbol for Nazi Germany as well. The strength of an eagle can go both ways. It can be the best thing or the worst.

Eagles were almost extinct in the greater Northeast until a massive conservation effort helped bring them back from the brink. Today they are flourishing in many parts of this region. Think of the Jewish struggle to survive and thrive.

The highest rank in scouting is an eagle scout, and you earn that only after completing an extensive project that makes a positive impact on a community. The noblest virtues among Jews are not what you can do for yourself but what you do for others.