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This summer in Israel appears to be an especially hot one. Of course, the average person is unable to remember past summers, as to what the weather actually was and therefore all comparisons are very subjective. However our only weather bureau has statistics that trace weather patterns over the past century and therefore their comparisons contain some merit.

It appears that the weather here, like in other parts of the world, goes in cycles. And we are apparently currently involved in a hot summer cycle. Though the Bible does not mention weather conditions per se, I can imagine that when it says that our father Abraham was sitting by his tent in the heat of the day this did not happen during the winter months.
So, hot summers here have been around for a long time. King Solomon in Shir Hashirim references the fact that it is during the winter months that rain falls here in Israel but that beginning in late spring the rains depart and do not return again until the autumn season. This is pretty much a constant in our country. Everyone plans outdoor events in the summer months, confident that there will be no rain to mar or interrupt the proceedings.
Weather patterns here in our country are rather predictable and hot summers and somewhat wet winters are the expected norm. Naturally with the advent of air conditioning throughout Israel over the past few decades, the hot summers are much more bearable than they were for our ancestors centuries and millennia ago.
Human beings are very adaptable to all of the varied climates that exist on our planet. Human beings inhabit the frozen tundra of the extreme poles of the earth as well as the equatorial jungles with their high heat and humidity. Human beings are desert dwellers, mountain dwellers and swamp inhabitants. One of the great miracles of human life and civilization is the uncanny ability of humans to adapt and adjust to all types of climes and conditions.
It was one of the blessings that the Lord bestowed upon humankind when God gave the human race the ability to exploit the planet for human benefit. Climate moderation and good weather are naturally desirable conditions for pleasant living. However there are many more factors that go into choosing where one resides and makes his or her home.
The whole world cannot and does not wish to live in Florida or California. But one has to admit that in the cold winters of the northern hemisphere the migration to Florida and California is understandable, if not even desirable. Here in Israel, the summer is when literally millions of Israelis travel abroad for vacation and other reasons. Sometimes it feels like the whole country is emptying out for a short period of time. But there are hot summers everywhere in the world now so the wanderlust is not so much due to weather as it is simply the desire for a change of scenery and for new inspiration and strength.
The famous aphorism of Mark Twain, that everyone talks about the weather but no one can do anything about it, certainly applies regarding our hot summers. The hot summers have made iced coffee somewhat of a national drink. For years, Israel like England was unaccustomed to the use of ice in its drinks.  However in this area of life, as in many other matters here in Israel, the American influence has slowly prevailed, Ice cold drinks are now the norm and not the exception and there is no necessity to ask a bewildered waiter to please bring you ice for the table.
How great this accomplishment is on the scale of human benefit is a matter that is still left open for debate and contemplation. Nevertheless, it certainly makes a hot summer more bearable and provides temporary relief from the heat. We are warned constantly to drink many liters of water every day so that we do not become dehydrated. I remember as a child in Chicago that the summers there were also very hot but that no one ever insisted that we drink a lot of water; but that probably was because we were medically ignorant then and were not overly concerned about becoming dehydrated.
Of course drinking a lot of water has other effects on our body, so moderation in this area as in all other areas of life, is certainly wise and healthy. I am certain that in the cold of December we will fondly recall the heat of this summer and look forward to its return for next year.
Shabbat shalom
Berel  Wein

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