Thursday, March 23, 2006

Chassidus Saved the Spider

He was chillin' in Chapter 37.

He looked like a "yud", the smallest letter, moving on the page.

But no - he was just a spider that wanted to learn some Tanya.

Okay, so he's a holy spider. But he still freaked me out.

I faced my Tanya towards the window, ready to blow the tiny creature into nowhere.

But then I froze. I couldn't do it.

And it's not because there was an 'animal rights advocate' in the room
that spoke up.

Once again, it's Chassidus I have to blame.

I know that my study of Chassidus is meant to open me up to worlds of divinity, of purpose, of light. I know the result is a smaller ME. I just didn't know that I could possibly feel smaller than a spider. I wasn't prepared to experience a moment like this.

The thoughts were intense and flooding:

G-d enlivens everything. Nothing lacks a purpose. I only appear to be
bigger and more significant. First in thought, last in creation. Raise
it up. Transcend the way you think - rise above. Break down the
concealment. Don't be casual with life, with G-d's creations.

Above all, though, it was a sense of the small spider's importance,
it's power, it's mission.

Chassidus is unlike any other type of learning. It's an experience of
lessons that have implications that you can't foresee. Its impact is far
reaching. Even times when you want to avoid it - when most of you is yelling, "get rid of the spider!" - you can't. Chassidus just has to pipe up. It's in your blood. There's no avoiding it.

Chassidus changes the lives of many. But it also saves the lives of spiders. I slowly brought my Tanya down to a leaf outside and watched the spider return to it's natural habitat. I finished saying my Tanya, and life continued as normal.

What's big is big and small and very small. What's big is misleading
and small, kind of big, but truly small. But mostly everything is huge
and relevant and vital and holds the whole world on it's shoulders -
especially that which is small.

I wonder how the tiny crawler has changed the course of history since it's rescue.

I hope he comes back to thank Chassidus for saving its life.

Chapter 38 is even better.

"Chassidus is Divine intelligence, an understanding which shows man how small he is, and how great he can become." [ Hayom Yom 19th of Iyar ]


Dov said...

Hehe. Nice toughts woven in with a good story. Enjoyable.

Nemo said...

Um, in chassidic terms, spiders are Klippah. I forgot the terminology, but there is a famous Moshul "K____ B'cheder Hamelech"- like a spider in the kings chamber.

Although the spider has no right to be there- other's needed certain status to get in- he is nonetheless chillin there making his web and benefitting from being in the throne-room of the king.

Klippah isn't of any dignity and yet it manages to get in on G-ds life-giving flow of light. It's only minute, but it basks itself in the light of the king, thereby getting Chayus for itself.

Anonymous said...

what exactly is a spider's "power, its mission"

Ilana said...

Nice! I have a similar situation with pigeons. Apparently they are some sort of gilgul and always hop into the window in the room where I learn, and only when I'm learning.

Dov said...

Your blog entry saved the fly.

So I'm sitting here at my computer, and this fly I had noticed yesterday is still in my office, on the wall. I reflexively flick it, it catapults upwards, and its lifeless body falls right by my keyboard.

I immediately felt a bit of remorse, and thought of your blog entry. I peered closely at the fly, wondering what had compeled me to flick it when it had really done me no harm.

T'chiyas Hamasim, I tell you. As I peered with my nose practically touching the mangled fly, I saw a miniscule movement. A leg twitched, then another. The head tilted ever so slightly. A wing came back into place. It stood up. It looked around. It rubbed its back legs together, then it's pulvilli. It rubbed its wings, and its face.

I then fed it some soda. I poured some Diet Pepsi I was ready to toss into a tiny lake on my desk, a few inches away from the fly. Slowly, it edged it's way over, nimbly poking a floating claw into the lake. It extended its labellum and appeard to be sipping.


He's still here on my desk, chilling, seemingly unconcerned with me.

I kid you not.

I just had to tell you.



Dov said...

Oops, working link:

the sabra said...

walla, yaffe!

mimi, this is one of my favorite 'observation' posts. seems like tis even more important to be an 'observant' chossid, then it is to be an 'observant' jew.

venus fly trap said...

i think mimi's been bribed by the International Coalition of Hapless Annoying Insects to lay the seeds for an international takeover by Spiders Inc.


marc. postvil said...

just to add a little to 'nemo's comment,
(btw its called a kvish) its brought in asefer called 'darkei chayim v'shalom'
that the munkatcher rebbe said that spiders are the klippa of edom, and he was very makpid to kill spiders saying that 'there is 1 aveirah and 7 mitzvos involved in killing a spider' (or something to that gist) and it continues to tell that he once jumped up on a chair and took of his shoe to kill spider.
h. r.

The real me said...

Kill spiders.

Al pi kabala they deserve to die because their webs helped spread the flames in the BH.

Nemo said...

Can I be Yotzei by killing all the cockaroaches in my room?

Anonymous said...


Always nice to see the religious and their holy Jihads.

Not from a position of knowledge this time, but back off, people!

Sheesh! The War on Spiders...

The real me said...

They will just keep on coming back, you might however want to try and keep ur room clean, and food free... It might help

Nemo said...

Yeh, well, if you knew where I live you'd know that the building ought to be razed and rebuilt to have any hope of cleaning up.

Dov said...

Anyone who truly believes that it's their religious duty to kill spiders is laughable. Unless you can clearly inform the uninformed?

To totally blow it out of proportion, what if some Rabbi started advocating killing a certain sect of people? Wait, they did -- we're supposed to kill those from Amalek, right? Heed that advice and you'll end up in jail for life.

Much murder and suicide in the Muslim world is due to dogmatic, religious edicts. Don't use your rationale et. al., rather cover it up with what the religion says? That's not how the Judaism I know works.

Amazing the things we can learn from a little spider, eh?


Nemo said...

Not wanting to touch on the religious issues here, but just to attempt to make peace, I just want to say that it was one individual who used to kill spiders for whatever reason. It is not dogmatic to the faith, it was something that he understood to be correct. It is not ours to belittle that.

On a different note- I can't stand all these PETA or other animal rights activists that constantly critisize Kosher meat production. How many of them do you think would hesitate before calling an exterminator to clear rodents and insects from their house? Also, how many wouldn't kill a small ant or spider crawling around?

Saad said...

Some people have the custom not to kill spiders (unless they pose a danger) to reward them, so to speak, for saving King David's life.

He was being hunted by his enemies and hid in a cave. A spider wove a web over the entrance and the soldiers searching for him skipped that cave, reasoning that no one could have entered without breaking the spider's web.

My favorite part of all this is how a spider in picturesque Tzfas saved a fly in hardcore Manhattan. But it wasn't the spider itself that spiraled these chain events, drawing numerous souls en-route into a discussion on life, evil, destruction, morality, and G-d, but rather one woman's conscious decision vis-a-vis a distracting spider. Elevating the spider from a distracting spider to one that brought focus and connectedness the world over.

This has been just another glimpse into the intricate and delicate interconnectedness of our world. Brought to you by Modern Technology.

Mimi said...

I'm gonna have to side with G's analysis. Instead of commenting on what I actually wrote, this turned into an overly-religious-kill-the spiders ranting...

But hey - kinda cool to spark such a conversation nontheless.

The real awesomeness of it all was that this gave a fly in Manhattan a longer life. That was pretty trippy to me.

Thanks to all.

Mimi said...

From another blog:

"Here I am sitting on my bed typing, and a mouse is chilling right here with me beneath my bed. Because of a pest awareness post that I read on another blog, I'm having second thoughts about throwing a shoe at it."

Although my post was NOT about pest-awareness, I love it.

Total Nachas :)

Anonymous said...

hey reb mendel futerfas said the following about a spider (he actually made up this parable while in jail obsereving a spider) when a spider is hungry he creates a web... eventually a smaller insect gets caught in the web. Then the spider starts by sucking out the brain of the insect and slowly slowly consumes the whole body. This is the Yetzer Hara: First it creates a web, then it traps you in it... then it puts bad ideas in your mind which begin to consume you and eventually take over your whole body... according to this i take we must destroy the spider so as not to let it take over or..... elvate it!