Dear Friend,

Winter has made its appearance in this part of the world. My office window frames a breathtaking landscape of falling snowflakes, pounding rain, and tiny hailstones that ping sharply as they land.

This week’s Torah portion describes another hailstorm, which occurred in Egypt as the seventh of the Ten Plagues: “The L‑rd gave forth thunder. . . . And there was hail, and fire flaming within the hail . . .”

Fire and hail cannot normally coexist; their intrinsic natures are at odds. Ice (water) seeks to extinguish fire, and fire attempts to melt ice. Yet in this instance, our sages teach us, “to perform the will of their Maker, they made peace.”

What I find fascinating in this account is that the fire and ice each maintained their individuality; they didn’t lose their identities as they rose above their differences for the sake of a higher cause. Ice remained ice and fire remained fire.

No two snowflakes are alike, and the same is true of each of G‑d’s creations. There is immeasurable beauty in our uniquenesses, the specific characteristics that make us who we are.

Let’s dedicate our unique talents and capabilities to making the world a better place, working together so that the darkness of winter shines.

Rochel Chein,
on behalf of the Editorial Team