Mendy Kaminker

When it’s cold, G-d enjoys ‘physical closeness’

Brrr… it was freezing.

The arctic blast was felt across the country. Except in one part of the country — you know, that earth-quake-stricken, wild-fired-filled state of California. (Okay, I’ll admit: I am just being jealous!)

It is interesting to note that it all happened as we were ushering in the Hebrew month of Tevet, a month recognized in the Talmud as a cold month.

Feeling cold is uncomfortable. But it can also create some beautiful moments: think about enjoying a piping mug of hot cocoa or delicious s’mores.

Our talents and personality might not be so pronounced when we feel cold.

But it also brings us physically closer to others.

I am not sure about the existence of hot cocoa or s’mores in the time of the Talmud, but the Talmud explicitly mentions the month of the Tevet as a month when people want to get physically closer.

In the words of the Talmud:

“Esther was taken to King Achashverosh into his royal house in the tenth month, which is Tevet, a month in which the body takes pleasure in the warmth of another body.”

Now, here is a beautiful Chassidic teaching:

Everything that happens in our world reflects what transpires in higher realms. So the coldness of Tevet demonstrates the lack of divine light during this month.

In the month of Tevet, our souls might feel a little cold.

Yet, this is the month when G-d derives extra pleasure from being “closer to our bodies.”

While our souls might not be shining as brightly as they usually do, G-d enjoys being close to us physicality. He relishes that our relationship with Him is not relegated only to being soul-based, in the Synagogue, or in moments of inspiration, but body-based, when we use our body for holy and divine purposes.

So during this month of Tevet, let’s find ways to bring more holiness into our physical activities.

Here are a couple of ideas:

When you drink your hot cocoa, make sure it’s Kosher, and remember to say the blessing before drinking. And not only hot cocoa; integrating saying the blessing before and after food is one of the most remarkable ways to bring G-dliness into our daily routine.

When you exercise, find yourself a Torah class to listen to while stretching your muscles. There are thousands of options online; you can start your search at

At business meetings, find a way to share an inspiring thought from the Torah. It can be something from the Parsha, or any Torah class you listened to while exercising 🙂 People always appreciate a Torah insight that can enrich their lives.

We will invest in our bodies and make them close to G-d. And G-d, in return, will no doubt do the same: he will shower us with blessings, not only for our souls but for our all of our bodily and physical needs as well.

Enjoy this month of Tevet!

About the Author
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the Chabad Rabbi of Hackensack, and an editorial member of
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