If a bird's nest chances before you on the road, on any tree, or on the ground, and [it contains] fledglings or eggs, if the mother is sitting upon the fledglings or upon the eggs, you shall not take the mother upon the young. You shall send away the mother, and [then] you may take the young for yourself, in order that it should be good for you, and you should lengthen your days. (Deuteronomy 22:6-7)

This enigmatic commandment of sending away the mother bird before taking her young (known asshiluach haken) is rewarded with the blessing of a long life (similar to the commandment of honoring one's parents). Rashi notes that if the reward for this easy-to-fulfill commandment (for which there is no monetary expense) is so great, then how much greater is the reward for the fulfillment of commandments that are more difficult to observe (or for which there is a monetary expense).

The mystical reason given by the Zohar is that the mother bird’s distress elicits Divine compassion upon the People of Israel:

There is an angel appointed over the birds… and when Israel performs this commandment, and the mother departs weeping, and her children crying, he agonizes for his birds, and asks G‑d: “Does it not say that ‘His compassion is on all of His works (Psalms 145:9)’? Why did You decree on that bird to be exiled from her nest?” And what does the Holy One do? He gathers all of His other angels and says to them, “This angel is concerned for the welfare of a bird and is complaining of its suffering; is there none amongst you who will seek merit on My children Israel, and for the Shechinah which is in exile, and whose nest in Jerusalem has been destroyed, and whose children are in exile under the hand of harsh masters? Is there noone who seeks compassion for them, and will attribute merit to them?” Then the Holy One issues a command and says, “For My sake I shall act, and I shall act for My sake,” and compassion is thereby aroused upon the Shechinah and the children in exile. (Tikkunei Zohar 23a)

In this expressionist rendition, the mother bird is set free, flying up into the wine colored sky, greeted by many birds. On the bottom of the painting is a large nest in the shape of a bird, filled with golden eggs. The many birds in the sky, who hover above an abstract nest over a doorway, suggest the fledglings that escaped to their freedom flying up to into the surrealistic moonlit sky.