For the week ending 10 December 2005 / 9 Kislev 5766

Coming In Out of the Cold

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Question: During these cold winter days my mother keeps reminding me to dress warmly to avoid catching cold. She refuses to accept my response that if G-d wants me to catch cold it will happen no matter how I dress. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: Your mother is right!

"Everything is in the Hands of Heaven," say our Talmudic Sages, "except for cold and heat." (Mesechta Ketubot 30a).

This means that any adversity suffered by man is dictated by Heaven except for the consequences resulting from a lack of caution in avoiding the effects of extreme cold or heat. While a person has the free will to bring harm upon himself by placing himself in a dangerous situation, the harm that befalls him in situations beyond his control is certainly ordained by Providence. The exception is the climate, which is determined by Heaven, against whose effects one can take measures to protect himself and if he fails to do so, he has only himself to blame.

So dont use misunderstood theology to ignore your mothers warning, and put on that overcoat to stay warm.

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