Rav Avigdor Miller on Appreciating the Roach in Your Kitchen (January 1987)

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Q:
If everything in this world was created for some beneficial purpose, could you explain the purpose of roaches?

A:
You have to appreciate roaches. Roaches are very important, because they destroy smaller creatures. You have to know that. They feed on smaller vermin and that’s a very important function.

I’ll give you an illustration of what I mean. Once, the fields of Pennsylvania were being overrun by black snakes. People didn’t even want to walk in the fields anymore; they were afraid of the black snakes. So the legislature of Pennsylvania passed a law – they said anybody who brings in a black snake, dead or alive, gets a bounty from the state. So people started killing black snakes and collecting bounties.

So what happened? Field mice began to increase and multiply. And they were ruining the crops. So the farmers came running back to the legislature, “Please save the black snakes! We need them!” The snakes were fulfilling a vital job in the plan of Hashem.

The truth is, anything that’s an upset in the balance of nature is a ruination. And roaches, of course, are part of the balance of nature. Only that we don’t need too much of a good thing. Therefore, if roaches would remain, let’s say, in ruined buildings, where there are a lot of bacteria and tiny vermin, then they’re doing a wonderful job. Only that when they start encroaching where they’re not supposed to, then it’s our job to exterminate them. But the fact that they still exist is a remarkable miracle. You have to know, we have been trying for six thousand years to get rid of roaches. And they’re still around, so you see how powerful that race is.

Hakodosh Boruch Hu said to mankind פרו ורבו, increase and multiply, ומלאו את הארץ, and fill the world, וכבשוה, and you should conquer the world. It’s very hard to conquer the world because the world doesn’t let itself be conquered. Roaches don’t let themselves be conquered. Weeds cannot be conquered. You constantly have to weed your lawn. Constantly, nature is reasserting itself, and it’s remarkable to see how this race has maintained its existence throughout all these years. And today with even the more sophisticated ways of destroying them, they’re still around. You have to give credit to Hashem.

Now, if you want another benefit, think of the miracle that you see in the roaches that are still around. How they are able to exist. How cunning they are. How fast they are. As soon as you turn on the light and you see one, he scurries to refuge. Before you can put your foot on him, he’s out of sight. Study that! If you’ll study that and see the נפלאות הבורא, that’s already a benefit. It’s a great benefit, and it’s worth having one around just for that purpose. Therefore, there is no question, that everything in the world is beneficial for us.

TAPE # 627 (January 1987)