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"Respect the Weather!"

07/20/2023 06:10:33 PM


Rabbi Scott Hausman -Weiss

I was probably 8 years old and my mom, dad, sister, and I were in Colorado Springs visiting one of my Dad’s old friends, Jerry.  It was winter and Jerry and my Dad were very excited to bring my sister, Alli, and me, out to a snow field across the busy street, where we would go sledding.  My mom was immediately skeptical of the idea. I don’t know if it was because of the sledding, the snow, or just a general concern because “the boys” would be in charge.  She knew she didn’t have much control over whether or not this was going to happen, so in her desire to mitigate the potential (as a friend likes to say when rough-housing and shenanigans ensue, “Its all fun and games until someone starts to cry”…), she reminded my dad to be sure to cross at the crosswalk, to be sure we were dressed in our jackets, caps, gloves, snow pants, boots, goggles, ear muffs, face masks …(I’m sure she would have preferred us to be wrapped in some sort of “bubble wrap!)

Of course, none of that made it on us (or with us) and into the relative cold of purported fun we went. We didn’t cross at the crosswalk, and carrying my sister, my dad tripped, Ali went flying, but she was OK (save some bruises and tears), and then we trapsed up a snow hill to sled.  First run, all went OK.  Second run, we hit a bump and both my sister and I went flying and now the tears really burst forth…from both of us.  Red cheeks, frozen fingers, scraped knees (through our non-waterproof pants) and Jerry and my Dad reluctantly shlepped us back.  Mom brought us inside to clean us up, change our clothes and get us warmed. As you can imagine, my Dad and Jerry were in the doghouse… figuratively, and by the way they kept their distance that day, literally as well.  Having been proven right more than she had hoped, “RESPECT THE WEATHER!” became her mantra that day and since. 

This is one of the many memories of yore that arose to my mind as I trekked up and down mountains this past two weeks, as an assistant backpack leader for The Woods Project in Desolation Wilderness.  And especially my mom’s sage advice – “Respect the weather!” roiled through my head as our hiking days ranged from 55 to 90 degrees, hiking on snow and ice (yes in July!). The right boots, my one pair of pants, a hat, gloves, the backpack, tent, hiking poles, compass, whistle, pocket knife, map, GPS, micro spikes, bandana, spork, sleeping bag, sun screen, bug screen, camping stove and lighter, camping pots and pans, bear cans, water purifier (but don’t take too much though because every ounce adds up!). Back country camping is not for the faint of heart, and if its NOT about respecting the weather (environment, hazards, degrees of ascent and lengths of hike, ability of each hiker in your group), then its about nothing at all. 

If you’ve read this far, then all this is to say that until the weather improves, this Rabbi will not be wearing slacks and a coat to lead Shabbat services.  As our Rabbis taught, we should follow the minhag hamakom, the custom of the place, which is sometimes established by history and tradition, but sometimes by the facts on the ground (or in the air). 

CSK has always been a “come as you are” (our version of “Respect the Weather”) community so given the heat, please come as you are most comfortable (no PJ’s please!) and see you tomorrow night! 

Rabbi Scott

Mon, February 26 2024 17 Adar I 5784