By Larry Gordon –

When I landed in Tel Aviv two weeks ago the temperature on the thermometers was one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. At the time we thought it was not only a meteorological anomaly but some kind of crazy joke. We still had our sweaters and jackets that we boarded with at JFK the night before and stuffed them into wonderfully and miraculously cavernous carryon bags.

We were away for 13 days and most of the time had to run the air conditioning system in the apartment we were parked in. Oh that fantastically rich blue sky and cloudless skies right here in the middle of winter reminded me of those summers in Israel when clouds are considered unidentified flying objects.

Obviously we were traversing our way through some kind of environmental oddity as summer was making its last stand in what should have been the middle of winter. Okay, so we had one and a half rainy days when it was cool and I had to wear the hood of my jacket over my head.

But I missed the snow and in all these decades and all these years of experiencing Chanukah in Israel I have yet to have observed a snowflake. Perhaps that is why this week’s paralyzing snow in Israel and especially in Jerusalem seems so distant and even surreal.

It snowed last year too in Israel and at the time this is what and Israeli newspaper reported: “Even as Israel confronts its worst snowstorm in two decades, kabbalists have found a reason to rejoice amid the snow-induced frenzy.

According to a report in Yediot Ahronoth (, Rabbi David Batzri, a well-known kabbalist, said the snow falling on Israel is a Heavenly sign, “a good sign sent by God” to the Jewish nation that their sins have been forgiven. Rabbi Batzri’s message was conveyed through his son, Rabbi Yitzchak Batzri.

Quoting the Book of Isaiah, Rabbi Yitzchak Batzri explained that red is symbolic of sin, while white represents atonement. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

And that’s great news.


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