Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Jewish Guide to Shoveling Snow (Koach)

A Jewish Guide to Shoveling Snow

Ehud Barak - "You must shovel most of the driveway, but the exact dimensions of shoveling will be determined in discussions with our neighbors. No, wait, you can shovel only in places where snow had previously fallen, but you cannot shovel in places where no snow had fallen - wait, don't do any shoveling until you hear from me!"

Yossi Sarid - "You should not shovel any part of the driveway, since you really do not have any valid historical or legal claim to the driveway, and it will soon be given back to its rightful owners.

Artscroll Hilchos Sheleg ("Laws Regarding Snow; Ashkenaz version, chapter 5) - "First approach the snow with the proper kavanah, meditating on the concept of snow removal. Recite the "...Who commanded us concerning the shoveling of snow" benediction," then take three steps back, bend the knees slightly with feet together, then look at the snow, lift shovel and dig, turning right and then left, bend knees fully, take three steps forward and deposit snow deliberately. Repeat until done, then recite the Sheheheyanu benediction, go indoors and have a hot drink, remembering to say the Shehakol brocha (see Artscroll Hilchos on Drinking Hot Liquids)..."

Tikkun Magazine - "What right do we have to violently take snow from its rightful resting place? Snow has rights: each snowflake is a unique individual, and we have absolutely no right to do anything with it. Let the snow decide for itself what it wishes to do, and then if it wishes to be shoveled, do so humanely.

Rashi - "Snow, this is a form of solid precipitation that clings to one's beard if you remain outside too long in the winter season. (Old French: neige). Shoveling is a Rabbinic precept, based on the verse in Isaiah 1:18-"If your sins be like scarlet, they will turn as white as snows"

Birthright israel - "It does not matter how the shoveling is done, but the very act of a young Jew shoveling snow for ten consecutive days, under proper supervision will have a lifelong impact on Jewish identity."

Meir Ben-Meir (Israeli Water Commissioner) - "Just shovel the snow as fast as you can, and ship it here. We are running out of water fast! Is anyone listening to me?"

Rabbi David Hartman - "Snow is a potent force in the world which unites all Jews. It falls on us all, regardless of religious denomination and belief, and is therefore instrumental in our understanding of Jewish unity and diversity. In fact, just this week, I was explaining the significance of snow to the Prime Minister, President Weizman, President Clinton, and His Holiness the Pope, who had asked my opinion."

The Late Lubavitcher Rebbe (from an epistle to a disciple) - "Shoveling snow is a distraction from our efforts to bring Moshiach, may He come soon, when in any case there will be no snow to shovel. So leave it and let it melt. If the Messiah does not come by Shavuos, the snow will have miraculously disappeared anyway."

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