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Friday, July 19, 2024 - 13 Tammuz 5784
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Need for Pests

The cabbage moth caterpillar is the bane of farmers because of its destructive eating habits. In the Jewish home, produce must be inspected meticulously for these pests, as consumption of insects is forbidden by kosher laws. Perhaps it seems that the world would be better off without them.

Recently, scientists in the Weizmann Institute in Israel have discovered that cabbage moth larvae can be used in an inexpensive method of culturing human proteins. Researchers in life science rely on the production of large quantities of specific human proteins, to study their structure and manipulate them in various ways for therapeutic purposes. Until now, the traditional way to produce these proteins was to introduce human DNA into bacteria, yeast or animal cell lines, where it takes over the cell’s protein making machinery. This method is expensive and inefficient. 

The Weizmann Institute tested the use of insect larvae to produce a specific protein, carboxylesterase 1, normally produced in the human liver, which plays an important role in breaking down toxins. It is hoped that widescale production of this enzyme will lead to an effective antidote for exposure to poisons and nerve gas.

In ancient times, King David wondered about the creation of various creatures. He was able to justify the existence of almost all of them, but there were two that eluded him: the wasp and spider. The wasp stings but produces no honey. He posed his question to the Creator Himself, and merited an answer. Once, while running for his life from King Saul, David hid in a cave, and G-d sent a spider to spin a web over the opening of the cave. When King Saul’s soldiers came to the cave, they saw the spider’s web and assumed that if it was undisturbed, nobody could be hiding inside.

 On another occasion, David entered secretly into King Saul's military camp at night. King Saul's general, Avner, turned over in his sleep and unknowingly trapped David with his legs. A wasp came and stung Avner, causing him to move his legs, allowing David to escape.

This world is filled with many mysteries: creatures that inflict pain and damage, good people who suffer from random disasters and “acts of G-d.” We may ponder the meaning of a universe that is seemingly unjust, that does not seem to reward the good and punish the wicked. Yet there will come a time when G-d will remove His concealment and allow these secrets to become known to us. Then, as the verse in Isaiah states, “On that day we will say, ‘I thank you, G-d, for you have been angry with me.” We will realize that the seemingly harmful events all occurred for a positive purpose.

With the coming of Moshiach, all negative experiences will be instantly transformed, as we will see the G-dly love that motivated each one of them. The faith in this ultimate revelation is what enables us to remain strong in the final moments of exile as we anxiously await the Redemption.



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