What is the benefit of snow, ice and sleet?
Ice, snow, sleet. משליח קרחו כפיתים – “Hashem casts His ice on the world like pieces of bread” (Tehillim 147:17). Ice is bread. Snow is bread. How so? Snow lasts a long time. It melts slowly. It soaks into the earth. Not like the rain which runs down into the rivers and oceans. No, no. It melts slowly and it soaks into the earth. And it becomes bread. The melting water of the ice and snow is absorbed gradually into the earth instead of running off and that’s what the earth needs in order to produce. That’s why the Gemara says that one snow is as valuable as five rains (Ta’anis 3b).Of course, on the city streets it may seem like a nuisance. But it’s there for a very important reason. On the city streets the snow is there to remind you of the miracle of ice and snow. It’s beautiful and it can be a nuisance as well. And in either case, it’s meant to remind you of the miracle of bread. When you eat bread and delicious fruit in the Spring, you’ll be doing so because of the snow that falls in the winter.
If you were a farmer on the field, you’d love the ice. It melts very gradually and gives the field a good drink of water. And in the Spring you’ll have a good crop as a result. So, משליח קרחו – “He throws down His ice,” כפיתים – “like pieces of bread.” And don’t forget that. Ice is bread. No question about that.
And in the city streets the snow is da’as Hashem. It’s there to remind you of the chesed Hashem of snow and bread and food. It’s beautiful and it can be a nuisance. And that’s to remind you of the snow in the fields and mountains. When you see the snow, you are seeing the chesed Hashem of food. Yes, that’s a very important purpose of the snow in the city. So when you’re shoveling the snow or walking on the curb, don’t waste that opportunity. Look at the snow and remind yourself that Hashem is preparing the earth for the Spring and Summer. That’s what it’s there for. That’s what the snow in the city is for.
TAPE # E-174 (February 1999)