After their recent Egyptian tour, Israel is now getting a visit from one of the ten plagues that God punished the ancient Egyptians with: locusts- arbeh-אַרְבֶּה !
In Hebrew, when we have a lot of something we say “harbeh”-הַרְבֵּה. Right now, in the southern area of Israel there are a lot of locusts- הַרְבֵּה אַרְבֶּה. Locusts appear in the Bible in Exodus 10:14-15:
“The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled in all the territory of Egypt; they were very numerous. There had never been so many locusts, nor would there be so many again. For they covered the surface of the whole land, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every plant of the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Thus nothing green was left on tree or plant of the field through all the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 10:14-15)
וַיַּעַל הָאַרְבֶּה עַל כָּל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם וַיָּנַח בְּכֹל גְּבוּל מִצְרָיִם: כָּבֵד מְאֹד לְפָנָיו לֹא-הָיָה כֵן אַרְבֶּה כָּמֹהוּ וְאַחֲרָיו לֹא יִהְיֶה-כֵּן. וַיְכַס אֶת-עֵין כָּל-הָאָרֶץ וַתֶּחְשַׁךְ הָאָרֶץ וַיֹּאכַל אֶת-כָּל-עֵשֶׂב הָאָרֶץ וְאֵת כָּל-פְּרִי הָעֵץ, אֲשֶׁר הוֹתִיר הַבָּרָד; וְלֹא-נוֹתַר כָּל-יֶרֶק בָּעֵץ וּבְעֵשֶׂב הַשָּׂדֶה, בְּכָל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם
The damage the locusts caused in the old ages, especially with the help of eastern winds, was severe, sometimes even fatal. Back then however, unlike today, there wasn’t a way to deal with these creatures. Nowadays we have pesticide – הַדְבָּרָה- which help us rid our crops of these pests. However, if you were in Tel Aviv or Holon this past weekend, you might have seen some of these guys over your morning coffee. It wasn’t a swarm – נְחִיל- but on Facebook and in the news lots of people posted locust photos!
Interestingly, this insect is Kosher, as written in Leviticus 11:22. The advice offered back then for getting rid of these pests, if you weren’t prepared to snack on them, was to make loud noises to scare them away by hitting a can. It’s rather amazing; a locust on his own is just five centimeters of a bug, but when he comes to visit you with his friends, the results can be highly damaging. The larval stage alone has three different names: yelek- יֶלֶק,chasil-חסיל,gezel-גזל.
On average, every twelve years we have a swarm come our way in early spring, a plague which reminds us what we are about to read at the end of this month- the story of the Exodus from Egypt- יְצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם .
Good timing, hey?
Have a blessed week from Israel,
English- Transliteration- Hebrew