In the town of Radin, there was a fellow in his fifties who never quite managed to get married. Yom Kippur was a very lonely time for him. In Europe, the Kol Nidrei service would finish well before nine o’clock and people would return to their homes. On Shabbat and Yom Tov, he had lack no of meal invitations, but on Kol Nidrei evening there was no meal to which he could be invited. For this poor fellow it was the loneliest night of the year.
One year on Kol Nidre evening, he was sitting in the shul long after everyone had gone home. He leaned forward, his forehead on his arm, and gently started to weep. After a few moments, he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up and found himself looking into the eyes of the Chafetz Chaim. The Chafetz Chaim asked him if he could sit down. He said yes. The Chafetz Chaim proceeded to talk to this fellow about every subject under the sun: His family, the weather. Anything to lighten this fellow’s spirits. No subject seemed too trivial for the Chafetz Chaim to speak about.
They spoke for a very long time indeed. In fact they spoke the whole night long. About this. About that. The entire night.
If you or I were to conjecture the Kol Nidrei of the Chafetz Chaim, I doubt that it would include a discussion on the proclivities of the weather. We would picture him immersed in study and teshuva.
The barometer of the way we feel about G-d is mirrored in the way we treat people. A lack of sensitivity to the feelings of others shows a lacking, not just in our mitzvot between ourselves and our fellow, but in our mitzvot between ourselves and G-d.
Sometimes talking about the weather can be a very great mitzvah indeed.
Heard from Rabbi Mordechai Perlman