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Taming the Snake
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

The U.S. Geological Survey in 2009 reported some bad news regarding large snakes that are quickly overtaking the Florida Everglades. The most surprising part is that these snakes were unknown in the United States until a few decades ago. These pests are mainly African and Burmese pythons, boa constrictors and anacondas which were brought to the United States as pets and either escaped or were released.

They have proliferated in the United States at an astounding rate: 100 are hatched in one nest per season. And they grow fast. A newly hatched snake, 20 inches long, can grow to a giant eight feet long within a year. They are elusive and difficult to capture. Wildlife experts argue that these invaders endanger the entire ecology of the region, preying on alligators, small mammals and water fowl.

Biologist Kristen Hart bemoans the fact that the government did not step in earlier and more aggressively against the interlopers, when they first started to spread. In her words, "We've gone beyond the point that they are easily controllable."

Speaking of destructive snakes, the biggest fall in the history of mankind came about because of a snake. With craftiness, subterfuge and ruthlessness, the snake destroyed the delicate oasis, the Garden of Eden, the original seat of mankind.

The snake introduced death into nature, where it had previously been unknown, all because Eve had the temerity to befriend the snake, to make it into a pet. Her casual conversation with the snake led, within a short time, to her being totally controlled by the snake. The snake's evil crept into her and left its mark, on Eve, Adam and all their descendants.

In spiritual terms, the evil introduced by the snake is the yetzer hara--a hostile, destructive force that seeks to influence us and drag us into activities that oppose the will of G-d.

Ever since then, we have been fighting a spiritual battle for our souls, our image, which was created in the image of G-d. Success in this battle demands every bit of strength and fortitude that we possess.

However, the final victory over the serpent, the source of primordial evil, will not be complete until the coming of Moshiach. He will win that decisive battle, and bring about the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah (11:8): "And an infant shall play over the hole of an old snake and over the eyeball of an adder."

Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover is chairman of the Center of Magnetohydrodynamic Studies and Training at Ben-Gurion University.



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