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The God Squad: Finding God behind the weather

February 15, 2013|By Rabbi Marc Gellman

First, let me thank my friends who now live in Florida and called me after the recent snowpocalypse in the Northeast to ask about my welfare — and to tell me that, by the way, it was 80 and sunny there.

Probably because I did not lose power during the storm, I'm in a more generous and reflective mood than I was when I wrote to you, dear readers, after Hurricane Sandy. Nonetheless, I think of winter snow as a spiritual invitation.

Snow reminds us to look deeper into the truth of things. The trees that look barren and dead are not dead at all, but rather are preparing their buds to open in a few weeks with the first breath of spring. Similarly, in the green lushness of summer, the trees are really storing their sap and strength for the fall and winter to come. The truth of trees is always the opposite of what we see.

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God called Moses by presenting him with the miracle of a bush that was burning but was not consumed. Think about that sign. It took Moses time to see that the burning bush was not being burned up. The truth was not the fire but the overcoming of the fire, and it took patience to see the truth.

All that the doubters could see at Jesus' crucifixion was his painful death, but the truth for real Christians was the opposite of death. So it is with life. What we see in life is often the opposite of the truth of life.

Finally, I think of snow and winter as a metaphor for the seasons of our own lives. I think of lines from a poem by Barbara Crooker: "For we are here not merely to bloom in the light, but rather, like trees, to be weathered: burned by heat, frozen by snow, and though our hearts have been broken, still, we put out new leaves in spring, begin again."

My wife Betty's wedding ring is inscribed inside with the Hebrew phrase "yafot itoteha," from a poem by the Hebrew poet Leah Goldberg. The words mean, "Beautiful are all of her seasons." So my snowy prayer is, "May all your seasons be beautiful, even if they're sometimes very cold."

From a reader responding to my request for popular songs that seemed like modern Psalms came this heartfelt reply:

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