May 23, 2024
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May 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

In today’s world, there is a consistent preoccupation and obsession with the weather. All over the planet, humans are keenly interested in the forecast, particularly when inclement weather is threatening. People like to be prepared for the weather especially if umbrellas, galoshes or canoes are required.

The Talmud actually has something to say about the weather. There is a discussion as to whether rainfall is praiseworthy (Taanit 7a) and a separate discussion as to the appropriate blessing to recite in the event of rain (Berakhot 54a) There also is a discussion regarding the appropriate response to witnessing thunder, gale force winds or lightning. (Berachkot 54a) In addition, the Talmud discusses the cause of thunder:

“What causes thunder?…When the clouds located in the curvature of the firmament collide with the firmament itself, they produce this sound… Thunder is the sound of clouds pouring water into one another… Thunder is caused by a powerful lightning bolt that flashes in the cloud and shatters the hailstones… Because the clouds are hollow, and when the wind comes and blows across their mouths, it sounds like wind blowing in the mouth of a jug.” (Berachkot 59a)

There also is a related discussion regarding lighting: “What is this lightning?… A single bolt of lightning, white lightning, green lightning, clouds that rise in the western corner and come from the southern corner, and two clouds that rise with one facing the other are all signs of trouble.” (Berakhot 59a) The same tractate also discusses wind, clouds and rainbows.

In today’s world, weather forecasts could be given a more Jewish spin. For example, let’s imagine a weather forecast given by a stereotypically over-protective Jewish parent:

Today’s high will be only 45 degrees but with the wind chill it will feel more like 35, so if you’re going outside please make sure to button up including a hat, glove and scarf. But, then again, why must you go outside in these conditions? What is so important that you have to risk your health and well-being and worry your loved ones? Can’t you just stay inside and help prepare for Shabbos, which, by the way, will bring a high of 50. The rest of the week looks pretty good, with highs in the mid- to upper 60’s but you’re going to miss it all if you go outside today and get sick.

Let’s further imagine a weather forecast specifically regarding Shabbos:

Tomorrow will be a wet one, with the chance of showers at 90% and with the heaviest rainfall expected between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. So, get to shul extra early and daven in the Hashkama minyan so you can be home before the heaviest downpour. If you have invited Shabbos company and you just had new and expensive carpet installed in your home, either politely cancel and give your guests a raincheck or make believe it’s Sukkot and eat outside.

Now imagine a weather forecast that equates everything to food:

Today is going to be hot and dry, drier than an incredibly overcooked brisket. Tomorrow, however, the soggy weather moves in and all day it will be raining kugels and kneidelach. There will be more downpouring than when the four cups of wine are filled up during a Passover Seder. The wet weather will continue until the end of the week, leaving the ground damper than a super spongy piece of gefilte fish. By Shabbos, the soaking will have subsided but the temperature will be relatively chilly or at least as cold as a bowl of borscht.

In addition, imagine a weather forecast for the eternal pessimist:

Tomorrow’s forecast currently shows clear skies and plenty of sunshine, but if you’re planning a barbecue or parade, you probably should cancel it because the forecast just seems too good to be true, right? That said, Murphy’s Law dictates that if you cancel the event, the weather actually will turn out to be stellar and if you later change your mind and reschedule the event, a hurricane will happen. So, you really can’t win.

Final thought: If a meteorologist reports on the weather, then who reports on meteors? In that connection, let’s imagine the following forecast: “Today it will be mostly sunny and warm with a high of 82 degrees and a 30% chance of a meteor shower in the morning, followed by an asteroid shower in the late afternoon and a comet storm in the evening. But here’s the good news: Assuming the planet is still in one piece, tomorrow should be rather lovely.”

By Jon Kranz

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