Each autumn, various plants and crops drop their seeds to the ground, where they await the spring rains that will enable them to grow. However, if the outside temperature drops to minus 8º Celsius (17º Fahrenheit), all these seeds and seedlings will freeze and die, causing irreparable damage to the world’s food supply.
How can we overcome this problem?
Let us suppose that scientists offer a “simple” solution to this dilemma: Spread a thick carpet containing trapped air over all the land surfaces in the cold regions, which will provide a layer of insulation between the air temperature of -8º Celsius and the ground temperature of 0º Celsius (32º Fahrenheit). This will protect the delicate seeds and seedlings.
This is a good idea, perhaps, but highly impracticable when it comes to covering large areas. Yet, that is only true in our terms – it is not true for the Almighty!
God simply instructs the water vapor in the air to collect together in the atmosphere’s upper layers. When the atmosphere can carry no more (like a sponge soaked with water), the vapor freezes and forms droplets around tiny specks of dust, which had previously been lifted into the air by the wind, in accordance with a different instruction issued from on high. Once these tiny ice crystals have formed, they fall to earth in the form of snowflakes.
Billions and billions of snowflakes pile on top of the other, creating a beautiful, white carpet filled with air, which protects the plants. While the temperature above the snow layer can easily reach -48º F, the temperature of the ground underneath the snow layer does not drop below 32º F. All the stored seeds and seedlings can stay alive underneath the soft protecting blanket.
God has granted snow another attribute that is beneficial for His creatures. At those times and places where rain would rapidly drain away and be lost before human beings can store the water, or where the reservoirs fill and empty quickly, drifts of mountain snow and ice function as storehouses for the frozen water until they melt in the spring.
Because the Omnipotent One is also the Supreme Designer, He has also given instructions that the ice crystals that constitute snowflakes always form in symmetrical, intensely beautiful patterns.
To allow human beings to understand just a little of God’s omnipotence, He creates billions of snowflakes – that have or will ever fall – each with its own unique shape. No two will ever be the same. Man’s simple intelligence finds it difficult to grasp or understand the “chance” creation of such perfect, symmetrical beauty, or the fact that such creation is repeated differently every time on an infinite number of occasions.
But the Creator did even more. He determined that the typical snowflake is hexagonal – limited to just six angles.
Why? Perhaps because according to the Kabbalah, the number six represents all things material. All material reality has six sides – the four sides that are the four points of the compass, top and bottom. On the other hand, the number seven is commonly associated with spiritual matters and represents a level above material substance.
The following are a few examples of the Torah’s use of this concept:
- The Torah speaks of six days of creation and on the seventh day – the Sabbath.
Likewise, according to Torah Law, fields in the Land of Israel are sown for six years
and allowed to rest in the seventh, Sabbatical year.
- The Jubilee Year – After seven Sabbatical year cycles (seven times seven), there is
an additional year in which the fields lie fallow.
- The Counting of the Omer – The period between the holidays of Passover and
Shavuot lasts for seven weeks (seven days a week for seven weeks).
- Passover and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) – Each last for seven days.
- There are seven days of celebration after a traditional Jewish wedding and in
complete contrast – seven days of mourning after a funeral.
- There were seven branches in the Temple menorah (three on each side and the
seventh, the most important one, in the center)
The number six represents the limitations of the six-sided material world, while the number seven represents the spiritual element within creation.
What could be more fitting for rain, when playing a vital role as a solid, to take a shape with six angles?
“He gives snow like wool; He scatters the hoar-frost like ashes.
He castes forth His ice like crumbs; who can stand before His cold?
He sends forth His word, and melts them; He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow.” (Psalms 147 16-18)