It is usually right around now, mid February, when I start to complain about winter. I complain about the lack of sunlight. I complain about the cold. I complain about the short days and the long nights. I actually enjoy snow, so that is one less thing to complain about. By February, I have forgotten what it feels like to wear shorts and a t-shirt. I have forgotten the sweetness of local peaches and spaciousness of long summer nights.
In The Jewish Book of Days, Rabbi Jill Hammer describes this time of year as the season of sap. She writes, “The sap in the trees begins to rise, and life runs through all the veins of the trees. The blood of the living creatures also begins to move faster as they awaken to seek food. Ice cracks and melts; water disperses over the land. Though there still may be a chill on the earth, it is an invigorating cold, one that inspires us to move.” Just when we hit our winter rut, nature propels us forward.
Tonight marks the first of 4 special Shabbatot preparing us for Passover (Wait, It's not even Purim yet!?). I will be offering a Dvar Torah on generosity as a tool of liberation and debt as a model for interconnectedness. We will be looking to the Torah and to nature for inspiration.
In the words of the Sufi mystic Hafiz:
All this time
The sun never says to the earth,
With a love like that,
It lights the
Rabbi Ari Lev