What do you say about what’s brought down in some of the old seforim about rolling yourself in the cold snow as a form of teshuva, of penance?
Some people roll themselves in snow in order order to afflict themselves. Now, I don’t want to belittle anyone who does that – it could be that there’s a certain benefit there but if that’s all you’re going do, then no. It’s better to roll your mind in the truth of the Torah; to roll your mind in the snow. That’s better than rolling your body in the snow. You walk in the snow and you think, “הנותן שלג כצמר – Hashem give a snow like wool.” How is snow like wool? It’s white like wool. Why is snow white? Because white repels the sun rays so it shouldn’t melt so quickly. Everybody knows that white color makes it be able to last longer. The snow lasts longer because it’s white. You never thought about that? Why is snow white? So that it should better repel the sun rays. Why is snow fluffy? Snow is like wool; it’s fluffy. Wool is fluffy because it imprisons the air. It imprisons the warm heat of your body and it keeps the body heat in. Whereas cotton is not fluffy; cotton lets the body heat out.
So Hashem gives snow like wool in order that it should be a covering for the earth so the earth shouldn’t freeze from the frost. In the earth there are many precious materials; there are bacteria and fungi and ants and earthworms. Without earthworms we wouldn’t be able to live by the way. Without earthworms the world couldn’t exist. And they would all die from the frost. So Hashem puts the snow on the fields, as a blanket, and the snow imprisons the air.
Think about that while you’re walking in the snow. That’s better than rolling in the snow; roll your mind, your brain, in the snow! While you’re walking think about the wonders of snow. Snow is wonderful. The Gemara says that “one snow is better than five rains.” Why is one snow better than five rains? Because rain runs down quickly but snow melts slowly and all of it goes into the earth. Snow goes into the earth; it melts slowly while rain runs down and most of it goes away. So one snow is better than five rains for the farmers. The farmers know that when it snows well, then next year crops will be good.
The snow is very important! Think those thoughts while you’re walking in the snow. That’s called rolling in the snow! Now, I don’t want to belittle those who do roll in the snow – they can roll in the snow if they want; maybe there’s a benefit in that too. They want to punish themselves for their sins. But the perfection of the mind is the most important perfection we have to seek in our lives. The mind is the most important!
TAPE # E-262