Talmudic Rabbis Were Totally Badass in Blizzards

An Orthodox Jewish man covered with snow walks in Jerusalem / Getty Images

New York’s got nothing on ancient Jerusalem, and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s got nothing on Rabbi Hillel the Elder.

While we were all rushing home to take shelter from the impending Blizzard Juno, with its promised “historic” downfall of 30 inches of snow, and while our fearless leader Cuomo was busy shutting down the entire New York City subway system, an unprecedented reaction that many believed was just for show, I couldn’t help thinking of one of my favorite Talmud stories.

This story proves that the ancient rabbis were totally badass when it came to coping with snow. At least, Hillel the Elder was. A promised 30 inches? That’s nothing! Hillel willingly stayed out in 54 inches of snow! His motivation? Well, see for yourself:

So basically, Hillel was so desperate to learn Torah that he wasn’t about to let anything get in his way: not the fact that he didn’t have money to pay the yeshiva’s entrance fee (yes, they charged a fee in those days), and certainly not a little bit (or a hell of a lot, as the case may be) of snow. He treated a blizzard like it ain’t no thing.

Kind of makes us New Yorkers look like sissies, doesn’t it?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

Author

Sigal Samuel

Sigal Samuel

Sigal Samuel is the Opinion Editor at the Forward. When she’s not tackling race or identity politics, she’s hunting down her Indian Jewish family’s Kabbalistic secret society. Her novel THE MYSTICS OF MILE END tells the story of a dysfunctional family with a dangerous mystical obsession. Her writing has also appeared in The Daily Beast, The Rumpus, and BuzzFeed. Contact Sigal at samuel@forward.com, check out her author website, like her page on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

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Talmudic Rabbis Were Totally Badass in Blizzards

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