|Beginning on Thursday evening December 6th, we insert a short prayer for rain ותן טל ומטר לברכה into our weekday prayers. Jewish tradition often uses weather and the seasons of the year as metaphors. As we’re about to see, winter is used as a metaphor for youth.
(כַּאֲשֶׁר הָיִיתִי בִּימֵי חָרְפִּי בְּסוֹד אֱלוֹ–הַּ עֲלֵי אָהֳלִי (איוב כ”ט:ד
As I was in the days of my youth (chorfi), when G-d shielded my tent. Job 29:4
Point to Ponder: In secular literature, youth is generally associated with summer or spring and old age is associated with winter (e.g. Shakespeare, Sonnets 94, 98). Why might winter be associated with youth and old age with summer Jewish literature?
רמב”ן ויקרא י”ט:כ
… ויקראו ימי הנעורים ימי חורף כי החורף בראשית השנים, וימי הזקנה כנגד הקיץ שהם ימי האסיף….
Nachmanides Commentary on Leviticus 19:20 (paraphrased): The Hebrew word for winter is choref. Job refers to youth as chorfi (literally, ‘my winter’) since winter is a metaphor for the beginning of life while old age is compared to summer, the time of harvest.
For discussion: How does Nachmanides answer our question? Can you come up with your own answer?