Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Protectors of the Planet

Ahuva Sofer

Bugs?! Believe it or not, even humans can gain from the hair-raising six-legged creature that sometimes makes us shriek and run for cover

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

 Mishpacha image


Iadmit it; I used to wonder why creatures like the nasty cockroach and creepy spider exist. (Didn’t you ever?) But as Jews, we believe that nothing is an accident and there is a purpose to everything in Hashem’s world. Believe it or not, even humans can gain from the hair-raising six-legged creature that sometimes makes us shriek and run for cover.

A Giant Chain

When one link in your necklace breaks, the entire necklace is broken. The world is like that giant chain, where all the different parts are dependent on each other for survival. For example, even though animals eat plants, plants need the animals to help them grow. When animals exhale, they provide life-giving carbon dioxide for plants. When they collect food, and eat while on the go, they’re actually helping replant seeds in different parts of the earth.
These are just some of the ways animals contribute to a thriving planet.

The World’s Gardeners

Because soil is at the very bottom of the food chain, healthy soil is essential for all living things. Without healthy, fertile soil, we’d be in sorry shape. Here are some creatures we can thank for keeping the earth in shipshape:

Miniature Plows

Ever watched a farmer drive a giant plow through his field? Turning the ground is an important part of planting since it’s difficult for the top layer of the soil to absorb the nutrients and water important for seed growth.


Meet the ant and earthworm, the planet’s professional plows! Both the ant and earthworm spend much of their lives down-under, churning the ground like little miniature plows as they go about their daily lives. These creepy crawlers break the hard ground by digging tunnels, allowing air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the soil.

Walking Pollinators

Did you know that without animals, plants would probably become extinct? For new seeds to grow, the pistil, located at the bottom of the flower, and the stamen, the top part of the flower where the pollen is located, must join. Plants don’t have legs and can’t travel. Without the help of other living things to transport the pollen to the stamen, green life would not be able to reproduce. Creatures like bees, birds, and butterflies act as partners in the important process of pollination. As these creatures feed on nectar from flowers, pollen clings to their body and unwittingly comes in contact with to the stamen of other flowers. And voilà — flowers and plants can create new seeds.

Seed Dispersers

Plants and fruit trees also need our animal friends to disperse their seeds and fruit so that trees can take root in other parts of the world. Believe it or not, the strange food-hoarding habits of some animals help with seed and fruit dispersion. It may seem strange that ants tend to collect more food that they would eat in many lifetimes, but the leftover food is beneficial, since it can take root in the ground. The squirrel’s short-term memory loss also helps green life sprout. Squirrels hide mounds of nuts every year, but usually forget where they hid half of them. Thanks to these rodents’ poor memories, the nuts remain in the ground and sprout into full-fledged trees.

Related Stories

Set Me Free

Leah Brachfeld

I longed for a reprieve from my little siblings’ constant nagging. Most of all I dreamed of the day ...

Jr. Tales: The Cleanup Crew

Rachel Stein

Seriously, he wondered, what is the point of making your bed if you’re just going to mess it up agai...

Super Avi: Episode 8

Ruchama Schnaidman

“Kids who are sick are out of school for long periods of time and that equals immediate boredom,” Av...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Drink to Eternity
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Redemption doesn’t simply mean being let out of jail
Klal Yisrael Is Always Free
Yonoson Rosenblum "In that merit will Klal Yisrael continue to exist”
Home Free
Eytan Kobre My baseline for comparison is admittedly weak
Believe in Your Own Seder
Rabbi Judah Mischel Hashem is satisfied when we do our best
Picture Perfect
Yisroel Besser Take a picture — and this time, send it to yourself
Flying Solo
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman As Pesach loomed closer, his resentment was growing
Hanging on by a Hair
Jacob L. Freedman MD “Do you still think that I’m not completely crazy?”
A Song for Every Season
Riki Goldstein Influencers map out their personal musical soundtracks
Subliminal Speech
Faigy Peritzman The deeper the recognition, the deeper the effect
The Big Change
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Spelling things out clears clouds of resentment
The Count-Up
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz Tap the middos of Sefirah to recreate yourself
The Baker: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP with Zivia Reischer "She can't get married if she can't build a relationship...
Know This: Infertility
As Told to Bracha Stein There was no place for me. I didn’t belong
Dear Shadchan
The Girl Here's the thing: I need time