Snow in Jerusalem is always a phenomenon. The thought of a few snowflakes has the city shut down while children wait breathlessly by the windows, waiting for their first glimpse of that soft, wet coldness.
Personally I am rather ambivalent about the snow. I am happy that my children enjoy the thrill that comes once every few years. I have adult friends who love the snow as much as the kids. The first time snow was predicted after my aliyah, we were expecting our third child in a few weeks’ time. Being born and raised Canadians, we found the hysteria/excitement over some snow rather amusing. Yet we were also anticipating having some fun with our two little boys. We had duly done a big shopping in preparation for the upcoming events; along with the rest of the city.
I was feeling even more tired than just being in my ninth month and tried to get to sleep early. That didn’t work out so well. In the middle of the night, I realized something was off. I told my husband I think I may be in labor. He went to look out the big living room window and came back to tell me that there was snow outside. A lot of it.
Ok, I thought. No big deal. I know snow. But then the electricity went out. The house was cold. It was dark. I had a lot of food prepared in my freezer for post-birth. I started to get nervous. Contractions were getting stronger. We agreed that my husband would daven vasikin and then we would go to the hospital. The neighbors were able to watch the boys.
The heavy snow fell many trees around the city. Some had fallen on electricity lines, causing the outages. Tall trees had fallen across the one-way streets our taxi needed to drive through in order to get to the hospital, forcing our driver to use different one-way streets going in the wrong direction.
After we checked into the hospital, I was informed that I had a few hours to go. We called our kids and found they were having lots of fun. Still no electricity. I kept thinking about the food in my freezer. My husband and I took a walk. On the one hand, Jerusalem was breathtaking covered in white. All around us people were enjoying the rare snow opportunity, busy building snowmen and having fun. On the other hand, I saw the fallen trees and other devastation as a result of the snow. And I missed my little boys and wanted to be with them. b”H within a few hours, the electricity turned back on at home and our third son was born.
When this year’s snowfall was impending, my children were once again staring out the window awaiting its arrival. I felt my usual ambivalence. I spent almost 20 years in a country that had snow for almost four months throughout the year. I knew snow. I also knew how potentially devastating it could be. The kids went off on their merry way once the snow collected, grabbing the fleeting opportunity to enjoy it. I went to bed.
When I got up in the morning, the first thing I noticed was that my clock radio was off. Oh no. Another electricity outage, was my first thought. I got up to check and realized, it was my house. I checked all the fuses and realized it was the temperamental fuse 10. Over the years, I have learned to recognize which fuse in my electric box was responsible for the different electricity in my house. It took me time to remember that fuse 10 was connected to my gas water heater that was placed outdoors. I have had problems with it getting wet in the past and then causing all the electricity in my house to shut off.
The next day was Friday. I tentatively put up fuse 10 and all day long we were able to have hot showers from the gas heater. I suggested that we keep that fuse off the entire Shabbos in case it caused any problems over Shabbos. It was just a precaution. After all everything seemed to be fine erev Shabbos. Motzei Shabbos we flicked up the fuse and snap, no electricity. Took the fuse down and the electricity was put back on. I kept checking the fuse over the next several days and it kept causing the circuit breaker to snap down. We still had hot water from the solar and electric boilers, although not as much or as hot. Finally after a couple of dry days, the fuse was no longer snapping off.
And then it hit me. There was absolutely no good explanation as to why the hot water worked that erev Shabbos. Snow and rain were still coming down and nothing had dried off. It could only be that the One who brings snow and rain, decided not to make our erev Shabbos preparations more difficult than necessary.