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What a Cold Week!

What a Cold Week!

Thursday, 25 November, 2010 - 6:42 pm

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Dear Friends,

What a cold week! As Victorians, we weren't prepared for it, and so we have felt it.  I believe there is another reason why it was very cold...  

Usually we have a very interesting way of warming ourselves up in Victoria. We say to each other: "This is cold?! You know how cold it is now in Toronto/Winnipeg/Montreal?! That's not cold!"

I recognized this mechanism when my brother was visiting last winter. We were walking to Shul, and he was complaining about the cold weather, so I responded with the classical, "This is cold?!  You know what's like in New York right now!?" To which he responded, "That doesn't warm me up! It's still cold, no matter what it’s like in New York!" I guess he is not a Victorian after all...

To our surprise, this week, we couldn't warm ourselves up with that claim. It was warmer in Toronto, Montreal and New York, so it felt extremely cold in Victoria.

Judaism teaches a wonderful outlook on life. In spiritual matters, a person should never be satisfied, and must look toward role models who have achieved greater heights, be inspired by their accomplishments and strive to do better. In the material world, one needs to look at people who are less fortunate and be happy with what we ourselves have. 

This was hinted in a verse that you may be familiar with, "Bashamaim mima'al veal haaretz mitachat." Some of our great teachers have interpreted it as "Basahamim - Mima'al," in heavenly things, look upward to be inspired by those who are doing better than you, and yet, "Ba'aretz – Mitachat," in earthly things, look downward and appreciate your blessings...

Thus, our winter is really not so bad – since we know somewhere else it is worse; but we should never feel good about spiritual disadvantage – even if it could be worse. 

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