From Mini Monster
Imagine an insect that looks so shocking- even though it's only the size of your fingernail- that Hollywood used it as a model for an extraterrestrial monster in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Imagine an insect that hunts food so efficiently that it simply waits patiently at the bottom of a pit that it digs, and when its helpless victims fall unexpectedly into the trap, it pounces upon them with tiny, razor-sharp jaws.
Imagine an insect that devours its prey (usually ants and small spiders) so thoroughly that it liquefies its quarry's inner organs, sucks out the nourishment, and leaves behind an empty skeleton.
To Winged Beauty
If you can imagine this frightening creature, you have an accurate picture of an ant lion during the earliest stage of its life cycle. But the fierce-looking ant lion spends the last days of its life as a harmless four-winged creature, flitting around campfires and porch lights on late summer evenings. Like butterflies, ant lions change form as they develop from an egg to an adult. Scientists call this complete physical transformation a metamorphosis.
There are four stages in a complete metamorphosis: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. In reality, the mini-monster that inspired an imaginary beast in a science-fiction film is the larval stage of the immature ant lion. Immediately after it hatches from its egg, the ant lion larva digs a pit in soft sand, trapping and consuming increasingly larger insects. When the ant lion larva is fully grown (often two or three years after hatching), it secretes a silky substance and spins a cocoon. Inside the remarkable shelter, the pupa develops, and after several weeks, a winged adult crawls out and flies away, seeking a mate.
The Human Cocoon
Although humans don’t experience a complete physical metamorphosis, we have the ability to change our behavior once we recognize we have fallen short of our highest potential. Judaism calls this transformation teshuvah, returning. Although it’s possible to start teshuvah at anytime, the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur resemble a special spiritual cocoon, when our tradition states that God is near, giving us the strength to improve ourselves.