Although I am currently on an exotic island that I have never visited before, and nor have most of you, I saw a place yesterday that will be familiar to many of you. It's a smaller, very steep, island, just off the coast:
You don't recognize it? Perhaps that's because when you last saw it, you were looking at it from the other side:
(Those reading this via email will have to go to www.rationalistjudaism.com to see the video above.)
Unfortunately, there are no actual dinosaurs on this island. However, I did see something else that was almost as primeval and horrifying. It was just a few yards away from where I took the above picture. Here it is:
It's a pitcher plant. That odd-looking leaf is about ten inches tall and forms a cup that has a few inches of liquid at the bottom. The inner surface is extremely slippery, and any creature that ventures inside falls into the liquid - which is not water. Instead, it is a digestive juice!
The normal prey of pitcher plants is insects. But this one had caught something quite a bit bigger:
It's a lizard, now in the process of being eaten by the plant. Even more surprisingly, it is a gecko, which (as noted in Sefer Mishlei) has an amazing ability to stick to walls, yet could not maintain a grip on the inner wall of the pitcher plant.
So there are no man-eating reptiles on this island, but there are reptile-eating plants! Amazing. I would wonder why Hashem made such a thing, but according to the rationalist perspective, there is really no such question. The horrifying pitcher plant is simply a byproduct of the evolutionary process.
In the next post, I will discuss a theological lesson to be learned from the animals on this island.