May 28, 2024
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May 28, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

No, I am not speaking of eating squash. Nor am I a fan of squash, the sport. Actually, perhaps a better word to use to describe what I recently observed and then read much about is to squish the mean, destructive “spotted lanternfly” as soon as you see it! I am not sure how many of my beloved readers have a clue what I am referring to. Lately there has been much attention given to what is considered an “invasive pest.” Everywhere, the word is out —“Kill it as soon as you see it.”

I was taking a leisurely walk with Akiva and Leslie last week in Central Park when all of a sudden a commotion began. Omg there it was; that mean, horrible, little creature was walking on the path directly in front of us. “Kill it, squish it, get it!” As my son and his partner tried to eradicate this poor innocent bug from its walk, an entire crowd gathered., everyone screeching “get it,” “kill it.” Every New Yorker walking in the park close to where we were knew everything about this horrible insect and was intent on “getting it.” The problem was that the little thing was smarter than all of them. As they tried to step on him, he moved faster than their feet could move. It was truly comical; then, lo and behold, a small park van drove up and the park employee stopped and had to get in on the action. People were exclaiming, “It’s a spotted lanternfly,” and something needed to be done immediately to kill this one measly insect.

The man looked at the gathering group and had what I thought was the funniest retort. “Guys, I think it is too late for us to do anything about it in this park. They are all over; in other words just leave the poor guy alone.” By the way, for anyone who is interested in further information on the spotted lanternfly, just Google it. They are actually quite beautiful, look something like a larger lady bug and happen to be big news these days.

True, in this case I doubt that there is much that we can do to eradicate this problem as individuals. Yet it doesn’t mean that we should let these pests hang around if we see them.

This led me to think about how many instances in our lives see us faced with situations that we should get involved in that we may choose not to because they are slightly uncomfortable. How many of us have been in situations where we felt that a friend’s marriage was having serious problems and we might have been able to intervene by suggesting alternatives to deal with their problems, but instead we kept our mouths closed? Or where we had been with couples where one member of the couple publicly treated his or her spouse with total disrespect and we said nothing? I remember that we were in a situation where the husband of a couple that we were extremely close to, inevitably each time we were together, mocked and criticized his wife. Yes, we did say something and it was not easy to do and we did it privately, not with both present.

How many of us have seen friends or acquaintances who drink too much at a simcha or even a Shabbat table and we smirk or laugh, never considering the pain that the person’s partner is experiencing and the danger that such person might cause if he were to drive home from an event? How many of us are aware of illegal or other activities our acquaintances are involved in on a daily basis and never say a word? Cheating on income tax lying at the border, lying on forms for scholarship applications, returning garments that had been worn for a simcha or special occasion on the pretense that they were new … Yes, all of these things happen and should not be “squashed!” We need to eradicate the problems in perhaps a far more serious way than squishing the spotted lanternfly. These are not easy issues to get involved with, especially when one is observing behaviors among those we love or know well, yet it needs to be done and it is imperative that we learn how to do so.

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