1

I'm interested in sources regarding spiders from any jewish source, preferably ones that portray them as 'good'.
For example, I remember seeing they are called 'Buchya' in aramit since they are found at desolate places, crying on the Churban. (בוכיא as in בכי)

  • 1
    I heard from a granddaughter of R' Chaim Shmulevitz that spiders are evil (and should therefore be killed) because they are cruel. I do not know the source for this assertion. – LN6595 Apr 13 '15 at 20:07
6

Mishlei 30:28:

שְׂמָמִית בְּיָדַיִם תְּתַפֵּשׂ וְהִיא בְּהֵיכְלֵי מֶלֶךְ

The spider grasps with [her] hands, and she is in a king's palaces.

This is one of the four animals that are called חֲכָמִים מְחֻכָּמִים - exceedingly wise.

Footnote: Spider is a common translation in a large number of traditional sources, and it is the one Rashi uses. There are, however, other opinions, either a small lizard (which is now the scholarly popular opinion, apparently) or a monkey (Ibn Ezra).

Targum to Tehilim 57:3 is quoted as the source for the famous Medrash that a spider saved Dovid HaMelech's life, which practically an industry at this point.

In Perek Shira, it is associated with Tehilim 150:5.

Here is a very long piece discussing that portion of Perek Shira with many different aspects of the symbolism of a spider.

3

See this

The Medrash ‘Alpha Beta Di’ Ben Sirah’ relates a story where King David asked Hashem why he created spiders for ‘they are such ugly and useless creatures’. Hashem responded ‘be patient, a day will come when you’ll want to kiss one’. Some time later David had to hide in a cave from King Saul who wanted to kill him. As Saul’s search party approached his cave, Hashem sent a spider which spun a big web across its entrance. When Saul saw the unbroken web he surmised that no one had entered there and continued his search elsewhere. When David realized what had transpired, he found the spider and gave it a grateful kiss! Hashem was teaching David that although it may not be obvious why each creature was created; they in fact all exist to serve a purpose.

Your reference to the term בוכיא is in

Sukkah 52a:24:

יצה"ר בתחילה דומה לחוט של בוכיא ולבסוף דומה כעבותות העגלה שנאמר (ישעיהו ה, יח) הוי מושכי העון בחבלי השוא וכעבות העגלה חטאה

The Evil Inclination is at first like the thread of a spider, but ultimately becomes like cart ropes, as it is said, “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart-rope” (Isaiah 8:18).

  • Also fun: the related midrash regarding David HaMelech and mosquitoes – Isaac Kotlicky Apr 2 '15 at 18:43
  • @IsaacKotlicky - U and I have been "busy" today ;-) I'm unfamiliar with this one. Same Midrash location? Otherwise, can you link the above? – DanF Apr 2 '15 at 18:45
  • Not sure, but predicated on the same concept re: David not understanding the purpose of creation. – Isaac Kotlicky Apr 2 '15 at 18:49
  • @IsaacKotlicky - Yes, there are a number of them like that. Another famous one that I recall, deals with his not understanding the purpose of craziness / madness, until David had to use it himself when he was hiding in Avimelech's territory. – DanF Apr 2 '15 at 18:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .