Snow Storms as a Metaphor for Life
Some Purim! As I begin writing this post, the OJC building is empty. It was supposed to be filled just about now with hundreds of happy kids in costume. The teens who planned the carnival are at home, disappointed… and yet…
This morning’s Purim minyan was cancelled. Rabbi Scheff, Hersh and I davened
with two other people and chanted from the megillah, our half-hearted “Boos” not doing much to blot out Haman’s name…and yet…
Tuesday’s Catch a Rising Star celebration in Religious School had to be postponed, and I know that I won’t have the chance to stand on my head for them until next year… and yet…
I’m looking out of my office window as more snow piles up on my car. I wonder if I’ll get home tonight. (I did!) Driving in the snow is never pleasant… and yet…
It has been a hard winter, true. It is easy to feel our energy depleted by dire forecasts of ice and snow and States of Emergency over the past six weeks and our optimism buried under inches of snow…and yet…
Snow reminds us that we are not in control of everything. A power greater than us is in charge. We humans tend to forget about God as we dash about in our lives, planning, controlling, building, accomplishing. I am not saying that I know what God is; rather, I am saying that I am not God. Snow reminds me.
Snow happens every winter and yet we bemoan its arrival. Illness, brokenness, loss and sorrow happen in every life and yet we cry out, “Why me?” Turbulence happens because we are not ultimately in control. So when difficult things happen, we can choose to see them either as a blessing or a curse. Or we can practice saying “and yet” and see everything as both – blessing and curse.
Rabbi Rami Shapiro teaches on the verse “See, this day I set before you blessing and curse…” [Devarim 11:26]:
If we truly see this day as it is, then we will see that it contains both blessing and curse, light and shadow, good and bad, suffering and joy. Most of us are conditioned to hope for the former and anticipate the latter. We call this being realistic. It isn’t. It is conditioned thinking that has nothing to do with reality. Reality is both blessing and curse. You cannot have one without the other.
So what are the “and yets” of the snowiest Purim in the history of the OJC?
Our teens were disappointed when safety dictated that the carnival would be cancelled for today, and yet they immediately started planning with Youth Director Sharon Rappaport to come up with Plan B. They learned an invaluable lesson about resiliency when dealing with the unexpected.
We had no minyan this morning, and yet dozens of congregants tuned into the live feed of the megillah reading provided by our Men’s Club. We received emails from congregants in New York who were snowbound and in Florida who are snowbirds, all rejoicing in being able to “join us!”
Religious School kids were disappointed by the delay in their annual talent show, and yet they’ll be celebrating this coming Tuesday instead.
Driving in the snow is never fun, and yet I arrived home safely. Lucky for me, I learned to drive in Maine by a father who made sure I knew how to turn into a skid and how to rock out of a snowbank!
How blessed we are to turn to a tradition that teaches us to see both blessing and curse, but to choose blessing!
With blessings to all, Rabbi Paula Mack Drill