Published June 2021
“WHAT WILL YOU EAT IN WINTER?””
It’s almost summer. Our minds are on vacation, taking it easy, relaxing and having a good time. That’s all well and good. We should, however, take a few moments to ponder the question of the Midrashist: “if you do not plow in summer, what will you eat in winter?” (Midrash Mishley 6). In other words, our survival requires time, effort, and hard work. You can only “eat bread by the sweat of your brow”. Your aspirations can be attained only through serious, deliberate, and disciplined endeavor.
It takes less than a half-hour to celebrate a wedding ceremony. Yet a bride and a groom and their parents will spend hundreds of hours getting ready, worrying about every detail; because it is so significant.
Some golfers will never go to the first tee, until they have first practiced with a bucket full of balls at the driving range. Even to play a game for fun, they feel they have to prepare because it is so important. A television commercial may last only thirty seconds, yet it will take hundreds of hours to produce; because each split second is important in achieving the overall effect.
A business is not built overnight. It takes long hours of work, thought, and dedication. A physician is not an instant creation, but the result of many years of preparation through schooling and practicing. An artist does not spring up suddenly; but is one who has drawn thousands of pictures, painted or sculpted hours without end. Friendship is not a spontaneous thing. It requires time.
Religion is not something we accrue through a one-time act; rather, it reflects the disciplined actions of a lifetime. It is not a three-time a year thing, but a 365-day dedication. Religion yields its fruits only to those who are completely committed to its concepts, its observances, and its traditions.
So, enjoy your summer; but also do your proper allotment of plowing. Only then will you have enough to eat in the winter!
Rabbi Alvin Kass
Chief Chaplain of the NYPD