April 15, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
April 15, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

During my recent trip to the Bergen County Zoo, I encountered an animal that, coincidentally, I also saw at the Turtle Back Zoo. Taking my second encounter as a potential sign from Hashem, I decided to dedicate this article to the Andean condor (vultur gryphus).

An Andean condor.

Truth be told, I had been meaning to write about scavengers, animals that feed on the dead, such as this one for a while now, but I decided that it would be better to push it off until after the first article or so to avoid any bad impressions. If this is your first time reading my work, however, I apologize and I will try to write about more pleasant animals going forward. Just please hear me out first.

Given its dark feathers, bald head and unusual crest, it is easy to mistake the Andean condor for a more familiar fowl. However, the Andean condor is far from your typical turkey. The white plumage around its neck gives the bird a somewhat sophisticated appearance, a bit like the collar of a white shirt beneath a black suit. Sporting a 10 foot wingspan that allows it to soar for up to an hour without flapping, the condor also has a curved beak designed for tearing through carrion, its preferred food.

The bird’s choice of cuisine might not exactly be one’s first choice on the menu, but it is exactly the disgust that we feel that makes scavengers such as condors all the more important. Without them, the world would be a significantly smellier and less clean place. It’s not as though we’re doing anything with the random dead things one might find on the side of the road anyway.

Of course, not everyone is able to see that. There will always be those who will look at the humble condor and only focus on how disturbing it might look, unable to realize its vital role in keeping the world healthy. Not all people can appreciate the fact that Hashem allowed us to share the same world as animals blessed with the ability to digest that which repulses us.

After some time spent considering the contribution of condors, a thought dawned upon me. There are those who are much like them, not necessarily those who eat corpses, but other unsung heroes who work to make life more tolerable for you and me. It is possible that Hashem created the condor to teach us to value those around us who do their part to make the world a better place and, perhaps, to try and do the same for others.

Noah Motechin is a summer intern at the Jewish Link and an English major at Rutgers University. He has an affinity for Torah, writing and the natural world.

By Noah Motechin

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles