21 Av 5780 / Tuesday, August 11, 2020 | Torah Reading: Re'eh
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The Spider and the Ant    

The Spider and the Ant

After a few moments, the spider noticed that the ant had not run for its life and returned to where it came from. That is when the spider…


My son and I went for a nature walk outside our house. We saw snails, butterflies and gorgeous pomegranate trees. Then out of nowhere an ant was climbing up a wall alone. He was searching for new food or a new traveling path. Out of nowhere, a small spider about twice the size of the ant, came out of hiding and bit it. The ant was stunned and without a moment's break the spider began to weave a web around the ant. Clockwise he went as he spun a trap for the ant.


The ant broke free with great force and resisted the spider. The spider took a step back, realizing the ant had released himself and broken out. At that moment the ant was free. After a few moments the spider noticed that the ant had not run for its life and returned to where it came from. That is when he launched an all-out war from which the ant could not escape. The spider went in clockwise motion, then counter-clockwise and over and over, spinning a trap on the ant that quickly fell to its predator.


As this was happening, I knew that Hashem was trying to teach me something.  As it says in Psalm 105, “Search for G-d and His Power, Seek out His presence always.” In addition, there is a popular Rabbi Nachman teaching that all the stimuli that we perceive is nothing other than a message from G-d for us to take to heart.


Ants stay together and walk one after the other, but occasionally we see lone ants doing something different than the group, and this can be dangerous. The ant is like a Jew who simply left the fold of day-to-day Jewish observance to try something else. It seemed like he was getting along fine, similar to a yeshiva student who gets his hand on an iPhone. In the beginning he still manages and gets by, so he sees no immediate danger to his actions.


Normally these are traps of the Evil Inclination, which allow us to succeed temporarily, only to let us dig deeper into trouble. It wants us to lose our connection to G-d and fall into the abyss of spiritual, emotional and physical destruction. In this case the spider exemplified that bad force; it struck the ant when he was vulnerable. The ant, realizing she got bitten, came to her senses and began to fight for her life. This could be compared to a girl who had been modest but began shortening and tightening her clothes to appear more attractive. In the beginning everything was fine, but then she attracted the wrong guy into a whirlwind of destruction. At that moment she realized things were not supposed to be like this and resisted, momentarily.


Now both our yeshiva student and young girl have a big decision on their hands. When that Evil Inclination strikes them out of nowhere, how do they act? Do they play it off as if nothing happened and stay as they are? Such behavior is like that of the ant; it could have escaped but didn’t even try. In our case a yeshiva boy who can’t admit that the Evil Inclination is tying him up at night with lewd videos is allowing that spider to tie him up for death. A girl who foolishly chooses shorter and tighter clothes is only going to lose. She won’t get the attention she really wants; instead she’ll be wrapped up with a Spiderman kind of guy. We all know what that means; may G-d protect all our girls.


No one is perfect and the higher we go spiritually, the greater our challenges. With daily personal prayer we stop the rollercoaster of life and look at ourselves honestly. We analyze our thoughts, actions and speech and evaluate whether we are aligned with God’s Torah and commandments. By calming our lives for a few moments, we can easier pinpoint where that Evil Inclination may be trying to enter our lives.


How did the spider/Evil Inclination attack the ant? He used his web. Today as well in our beautiful world the Evil Inclination is also spinning a web and trapping many good-hearted people who don’t intentionally want to throw away their lives. Don’t let it happen to you.

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