Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rain, Rain...

“Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day...”

This cute ditty must have been written in a northern country–someplace like England–where they have the luxury of wishing rain away. In Israel, however, for the last few years, environmentalists have gathered to observe the shrinking of the Sea of Galilee (a.k.a. Kineret) as a result of a lengthy drought.

The Talmud records that water, more specifically rain, was foremost on the sages' minds. In Ta'anit 7b-8a, numerous sages weigh in on the importance of rain:

“A day when rain falls is as great as the day when the Torah was given.”

“A day when rain falls is as great as the day on which heaven and earth were created.”

“Great is the day when rain falls, for even a small coin in one's hand is blessed by it.”

Of course, agriculture played a much more prominent role in people's lives during the Talmudic period. Yet, even in the industrialized society of Israel today there is a constant fear of drought. And since the Land of Israel is an integral part of our Jewish heritage, our daily prayers reflect the need for rain.

From the end of the holiday of Sukkot until the beginning of the holiday of Passover, a small prayer is added to the second blessing of the Amidah (silent prayer) addressing God as: “Mashiv ha'ruach u'morid ha'geshem, Who causes the wind to blow, and the rain to fall.” In this way, Jews throughout the world pray that the rains should fall in their proper season.

This Treat was last posted on November 12, 2009.

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