Balance with Snow
[Editor’s note: As a memory of my beloved brother Shaya, I would like to continue sending out his pearls of wisdom that he has shared with all of you in the past. For some of you this may ring a bell and for others it may appear to be totally new. May the learning of Shaya’s Divrei Torah inspire us to change our ways and thereby give an Aliya to the neshama of our dear beloved Shaya whom we miss so much. A special thank you to Aaron Friedman for always looking over the divrei torah.]
Every physical item has a spiritual counterpart and every physical concept is a metaphor for a spiritual idea. What is the meaning and lesson of snow?
Snow is a mixture of ice and water. The ever-flowing cycle of water, and specifically, the rain that sustains the earth, is symbolic of the mida of Chesed. Ice represents Gevura, or firmness. Both Chesed and Gevurah are essential midos. The world cannot function without either of them, yet too much of either one is unhealthy.
Snow represents the balance of the Chesed and Gevurah “elements.” The number three is always indicative of balance and completeness; taking two opposing midos and synthesizing them. Hence, it should come as no surprise that the gematriya of sheleg [snow] is 333 and that each of the letters of sheleg has the root of three; shin-three hundred, lamid-thirty, and gimul-three!
In this week’s Parsha, Parshas Ki Sisah, the Jewish People sinned by creating the Golden Calf. When Moshe descended from Har Sinai, and saw the Jewish people dancing, he burned the calf, ground it up, added water to it, and gave it to the Jewish people to drink. Many commentators compare Moshe’s actions to that of the preparation of the mei sota-the special water with Hashem’s name in it that the kohein gives a women suspected of being unfaithful to her husband.
Why is water the ingredient in both the drink that Moshe prepared, as well as the mei sotah?
I suggest the following. Water symbolizes chesed, and immorality is using chesed inwardly, indulging oneself in pleasure instead of outwardly in its proper way. We are taught that in the future, the light and shine of Hashem’s glory will be a delight and pleasure for the righteous but will be extremely painful for the wicked who abused that light. I suggest that the very water that symbolizes life and energy causes death to the sota and the Jews who sinned with the Eigel; they abuse the mida of water/chesed, hence, they can not tolerate this special water and it kills them.
Let us all try to be cognizant of the beautiful balance of energy and life force that flows down from Heaven, and the reminder to always have a balance in our midos and personalities, as too much of one extreme isn’t healthy or proper.