Daily Israel Report

Rabbi: Pray that Locusts Do Not Plague Israel

Rabbi sends letter to farmers calling for prayer as locusts threaten crops.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 3/6/2013, 8:56 AM

Farmer holds locust in Gaza
Farmer holds locust in Gaza
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Rabbi Eliezer Simcha Weiss, rabbi of Emek Hefer, has sent a letter to farmers calling for prayer as locusts begin to plague the region. Israelis must pray that no more locusts reach the country, he said.

He quoted the Shulchan Aruch, a noted book of halacha (Jewish law), saying that if “even one wing” of a locust is seen in the land of Israel, residents should pray that the harvest not be harmed.

Rabbi Weiss recommended two forms of prayer in particular: the recitation of Psalms (Tehillim), and the prayer said by King Solomon (Shlomo Hamelekh) at the dedication of the Temple.

Life is not random, Rabbi Weiss added, and people must learn from whatever happens in their life. “From the swarm of locusts we can learn how small we humans are,” he said. “With all of our wisdom and the technology we have developed, we see that we still rely on our Creator’s kindness.”

A swarm of roughly 30 million locusts hit the Giza region of Egypt early this week, causing severe damage to agriculture in the area. A relatively small swarm broke off and arrived in the Ramat Hanegev region of Israel.