Jewish Journal

Wild Lessons

by Abby Gilad

March 27, 2003 | 7:00 pm

In Parshat Shemini, we learn which animals are kosher. Why did God create both kosher and non-kosher animals? The Talmud sages say that there is something we can learn from every animal.

We can learn to be industrious and honest from an ant. Ants are hardworking and they don't steal from each other. King David tried to fathom the meaning behind each animal, but he couldn't figure out the spider. So, God showed King David how the spider could save a life.

When running for his life from King Saul, David hid in a cave. King Saul and his soldiers were searching everywhere. God sent a spider to spin a web over the opening of the cave in which David was hiding. When the soldiers came to his cave and saw it was covered with a spider's web, they moved straight past, not imagining that the web was freshly made.

Did You Know?

The word for lovingkindness in Hebrew is chesed. The Hebrew word for stork that we find in the Bible is chasida. The rabbis say that the stork was given this name because this bird is very kind and generous with its food and shares with other birds.

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