Q. In your opinion, what is the best time of the year?
A. It can’t be winter, because I don’t enjoy the cold or the driving rain, even though some people say that your mind works best in cool weather (they argue that that’s why the summery Pacific Islands have not produced many great thinkers). It can’t be summer, even though I like the sunshine and the warmth. I don’t have a very high opinion of autumn, because I don’t like seeing the days get shorter and the environment look increasingly gloomier.
This doesn’t leave me with much choice. By a process of elimination I have no option but to say I like the spring. But actually I do like springtime, because it’s the time of year that is full of hope, promise and potential, and because that’s when nature’s at its best.
I think that’s a Jewish as well as a personal answer. I know the sages say (Mishnah Avot 3:9) that you shouldn’t break off your studies to remark on the beauties of nature, but they didn’t take their own advice seriously. Rashi says (on Ex. 13:4) that it was kind of God to redeem the Children of Israel in spring when it is pleasant weather, and we can add that redemption and springtime both symbolise a new beginning. The Talmud says (Shab. 88b) that when the Torah was given, the world was filled with springtime perfume. Shir HaShirim too praises the time of year when nature is fragrant (5:13). Roll on the spring!