24 January 2016

The Dark Side of Snow

14 Shevat 5776

Since the US East Coast with its millions of Jewish residents is currently being inundated by a historic blizzard and Eretz Yisrael has been predicted a three-day snowfall starting today, I thought it might be a good time to review previous posts about the deeper meaning of snow.

...Snow is generally thought of as a positive force of nature. It covers over all the world's blemishes with a pure white coating and softens all the harsh sounds of modern life. But, does snow have a darker side? Here are some interesting insights on snow from an Aish.com article by Rabbi Borouch Leff. 

SNOW: THE DARK SIDE

...Rabbi Tzadok of Lublin explains that there is a mystical klipah (barrier to holiness) called snow which is associated with the nation of Amalek, the Jews' arch-enemy. Amalek attacked the beleaguered Jewish people as they left Egypt, and God instructed us to remember this evil deed of Amalek, as they will always seek to harm the Jewish nation.


In fact, the Hebrew word for snow -- sheleg -- has a numerical value (gematria) of 333 -- the same as the word shich'cha, which means forgetfulness. This seems to suggest that snow is not a vehicle for growth at all. And when we venture outside on a snowy day, we are surrounded by forgetfulness and Amalek. What could this possibly mean?


The Torah tells us to remember what Amalek did as we left Egypt because he "happened upon you (karcha) and attacked."


The simple reading, as Rashi explains, is that Amalek's attack was a surprising and unexpected one -- "he happened upon you." A key aspect of their hideous crime was the sheer brazenness and trickery involved. However, Rashi suggests that karcha can also mean "he cooled you off," coming from the Hebrew word kar -- cold.


As Rashi explains, the Jews were compared to a hot, scalding bath of water, symbolizing their great passion for spiritual achievements as they left Egypt. But Amalek was willing to burn themselves by attacking the Jewish people with the aim of showing that the heat of inspiration will not endure. By doing so, Amalek cooled off the tremendous fear that all of the other nations had for the Jews, giving them license to attack as well.


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THE SNOW ANGEL

...the four archangels correspond to the four elements of nature and it is Michael who is the snow angel and also the guardian and defending angel of Israel.


...Michael is made up entirely of snow and Gabriel of fire, and though they stand near one another they do not injure one another, thus indicating the power of God to "make peace in His high places." According to the Aggadah, both Michael and Gabriel will be among those who will accompany the Messiah, and they will then contend with the wicked.


Michael is considered superior to Gabriel in rank and wherever he appears, the glory of the Shekhinah, the Holy Spirit, is also bound to be found. Each nation has its guardian angel, Michael being the guardian angel of Israel. He acts as the counsel for Israel's defense when the wicked bring charges against them before God. According to the midrash, Michael is the angel who prevented Abraham from offering up Isaac at the Akeida; informs Sarah that she will give birth to a boy; rescues Abraham from the furnace; instructs Moses; smites the army of Sancheriv; endeavors to prevent the exile by pleading on Israel's behalf to God; and defends the Jews of Persia when Haman plotted to destroy them.


...Malach Michael...in our time is the...defense attorney of Klal Yisrael. Michael is the one who is going to defend Klal Yisrael in the last moments prior to the geula as it says in Daniel 12:1... There'll be a terrible situation like there never was since Klal Yisrael became a nation....at that time Michael will stand in defense of Klal Yisrael.

...Michael is the one who stands opposite the Sar Malchus Paras, who is today...Iran. Sar Malchus Paras is the gematria of haster astir - that's the hester panim of now, like there was a hester panim in the time of Purim.

...There's an interesting medrash in Esther Rabbah and there it says clearly that Michael was the malach at that time. The medrash says that Haman, while he was being mekatreg on Klal Yisrael, at the same time, ...Michael is defending us....So Michael was [our defender] at that time and Michael will be [our defender] prior to the geula, where Klal Yisrael will be plunged into a hester panim like they were then, where it was Paras and now it's also Paras.


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If I had to guess "why", I'd say this storm in the US is directly connected to the lifting of sanctions on Iran (Paras) one week ago to the day. And "why" snow in Israel? To remind us that Michael is standing up for us against the the malach of Paras.

~Shavua Tov~