I fell in love with crickets when I heard one sing, “When you wish upon a star…” That was before I met many of Jiminy’s relatives, who one day moved en masse into our back yard.
They were noisy. They were constantly underfoot. Some even entered the sanctity of our home through unseen portals. It was then that I realized that cute little insects can also be a curse, such as that described in this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tavo:
The cricket shall take over all the trees and produce of your land (Deut 28:42)
This is one of many curses mentioned in the Parashah that would be the consequences of not obeying God’s commandments. What sometimes seems to be small and harmless may be as destructive as an army or any other invasive force.
And in considering the devastation that can be caused by crickets, we can learn an important lesson as we approach the High Holy Days.
What are the small and harmless habits that, in numbers, can plague and darken our lives? That may seem inconsequential to us (crickets) but may not be so to others who may have been deeply hurt (as with a “clashing army”).
We can all be like Jiminy Cricket, coming across as cute. But we need to know when we have become intolerable. For some people, that wish upon a star could be that family and friends gain enough introspection to put an end to the swarm of slights and little harms that come their way.
Dreams can come true. But sometimes it requires a change in behavior by those we love the most.
-Rabbi David Vorspan, Rabbin in Residence