Dear friends, we are in the middle of the season known as the "dead of winter”. It's the season when the streets are full of ice, the temperature is at some kind of a scary low when you get up in the morning and it seems that half of the congregation has, for good reason, migrated to Florida. People purchasing their morning coffee and newspaper at the corner store talk about winter as if it will never end. When I get involved in these conversations I try to be cheery assuring my neighbors that in around a month it will get better and in another three months they will be complaining about the heat in much the same way. Our sages saw in the change of seasons a metaphor for life. Just as the seasons of the year change in an inevitable and unstoppable way so do the seasons of our life. We go from infancy to childhood, from youth to maturity and from maturity to old age. This Friday, we will have our Tu B'Shvat Seder. As part of this ritual, we drink four cups of wine of different colors beginning with deep red and ending with pure white, celebrating each of the seasons of the year. Just as each of the seasons should be celebrated so we should celebrate each of the seasons of our lives by filling them up with beauty, meaning and color. Each season from the verdant beauty of springtime to the icy splendor of winter provides us with opportunities for joy celebration and wonder. I write these words with a deeply joyful feeling grateful for the birth of a new granddaughter, not yet named, just yesterday. She is about to enter in on the adventure of life. I don't know what she will experience but I pray that as she enters on life's journeys she will fully experience the wonder and the beauty inherent in all of its seasons. Tu B’Shvat in our part of the world comes in the middle of the winter. In the land of Israel it is the beginning of springtime. Let its message be that the time for new beginnings is always with us any season of the year.
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