FotB (Friend of the Blog) Moishe tweeted this earlier:
(@mosesjd) March 07, 2013
And got me thinking (as I tweeted in response to him – you can see them in the sidebar), what if things were a little different. As we know, the interpretation of the torah calling Pesach “Chag HaAviv” means that the holiday has to occur in spring. This has wide-ranging implications, and is the primary foundation (together with using lunar months) upon which the entire Jewish calendar is based. Pesach has to happen in the spring, and that means after the Vernal Equinox.
But I got to wondering, what if Chazal had interpreted to that to mean spring, in a real climatic sense, as opposed to a calenderical one? What if they had ruled that when Pesach comes, you MUST BE somewhere it’s warm and springy weather.
I joked: “Think about living in New York and having to fly to Israel or Miami for Pesach. That’s crazy!” Well, because obviously.
But can you imagine the halachic machinations that would have gone on over time? The questions and t’shuvos? Does where you are for Pesach depend on how early or late it is? The average historical temperate in NY for March 21 (about the time of the equinox) is 49 degrees for a high and 35 degrees for a low. Not exactly springy. But by April 21 the range is 60/44. Getting there.
Or does the temperature have to be warm enough outside at night, at the time of the Seder, because then NY is out.
What if you go to place that’s normally warm (say, Miami: 80/66 on March 21; 83/70 on April 21), but you encounter a cold snap, and the temperatures drop to the 50s?Do you have to pack up and go somewhere else?
“K’Vod Harav: my family arrived a day before Yom Tov in Miami, where it is normally warm, but the temperatures are brisk, around 50 degrees. We are all wearing coats and sweatshirts, and don’t ‘feel springy.’ Is this a problem?”
“Nir’eh Li, it would be min hamuvchar that you should move; you can rely on a forecast (no longer than 5 day forecasts are acceptable, 10 day forecasts are not reliable) from a known, reliable weather service, that predicts a warming trend, and stay, if the tircheh of moving is great (you have elderly people in your family, for instance). If the forecast calls for more cold temepratures, then you should go to what I presume are your alternate arrangements in warmer weather.”
Yeah, I’m a little loopy today.