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Spring is in the air

05/17/2018 10:25:29 AM

May17

Cantor Peter Halpern

Driving to Temple this morning and relishing the lush, colorful Newton scenery, I was thinking about the word “spring.” The Torah mentions the Hebrew word “Aviv” several times, often associated with Passover. It is an agricultural reference, literally meaning the stage in the growth of grain when the seeds have reached their fullest size. The romance languages use the words “first season” or “early season” (“primavera” and “printemps”). The German is “Fruhling,” also from “early” while Dutch has two words for spring: “voorjaar” and “lente.” Voorjaar dates back to a Proto-Germanic compound of “long” and “day.” Few of us would complain, I think, if our spring season was a bit longer.
And what about English? The Old English word “lent” with its religious association, was replaced by springing-time in the 14
th century, referring to plants springing up. That became spring-time, and for about 500 years now, we have called it “spring.” With the magnificent springing comes pollen and possibly allergies, which can cause discomfort. Like all things emerging there is a bit of discomfort.
As we enjoy this new, early cycle of the year, may many great thoughts and ideas come to the surface, and may we spring forward with gratitude and faith.

Sun, November 17 2019 19 Cheshvan 5780