As we read through the plagues, we find species that occasionally affect our lives including frogs, lice and locusts. We often encounter these and other “pests” when we are stuck in a bad situation such as when lice are found in a child’s hair, when locusts are caught destroying our plants and when a frog is found in a fresh bag of salad.
According to Shmot Rabba 10:7, Even things that you think are superfluous in this world like flies, fleas and mosquitoes are part of the greater scheme of the creation as it says in Breisheet 1:31, “And God saw all that God had created and behold it was very good.” Even though we may think that these species are superfluous, good may come from them. Rabbi Acha bar Rabbi Chanina said, even snakes and scorpions are part of the greater scheme of the creation of the world.
Every Friday night, when we recite Kiddush we say “Vayechulu hashamayim va’aretz v’chol tzvaam”, “The heavens and earth were finished and all of their army.”
Which army did God create? He created all types of species who would carry out His missions.
The midrash continues, When God wanted to send the prophets (Moshe, Yirmiyahu and Yonah) on their missions, they were hesitant to go. God said to them, I carry out missions through all types of creations including the snake, the scorpion and even the frog.
The hornet (a creature that would otherwise seem superfluous as it does not produce honey) was sent to drive out the Chivi, Cnaani and Chiti. (Shmot 23:28).
Frogs, one of the weaker species that may seem superfluous as they are not scary like a poisonous snake, were used to punish the Egyptians, prove Pharaoh’s weakness and show God’s strength. If the frogs were able to cause such havoc, imagine what was yet to come in the plague of the wild beasts!
As we begin the month of Shvat, the time of year when we focus on appreciating nature, we are reminded of the fact that every creature has a purpose and we must do our best to respect all of God’s creations. However, I don’t think that anyone would mind if these creations would stay out of our hair and food.