This week in Jerusalem, it rained for the first time since last winter! Facebook and WhatsApp groups exploded with people posting the exciting news.
You are probably thinking, “big deal,” it rains in my city all the time. Why is this such a deal?
Because in Israel, rain is a blessing, but only if it comes at the right time.
In the daily Shemoneh Esrei prayers (sometimes referred to as the “Silent Amidah”), there is a prayer recognizing that Hashem makes “the wind blow and the rain descend.” We only begin saying it after Sukkot is over and until Passover. (No one wants it to rain while we are in our sukkah!)
Every day in the second paragraph of the Shema, we say, “…then I (Hashem) will provide rain for your land in its proper time, the early and late rains, that you may gather in your grain, your wine, and your oil.”
In Israel, the main source of freshwater comes from the Kinneret reservoir in Tiberias (also referred to as “The Sea of Galilee”). As part of the weather report in Israel, they report on its level in meters below sea level: https://forecast.israelinfo.co.il/kineret. A few years ago, it was dangerously low, but last winter it was particularly rainy and snowy in the north, and the whole country cheered as the water level of the Kinneret rose each week.
Yes, rain is a blessing– it is a gift from Above, and when Heaven and Earth meet, it brings forth life: grass for our cattle, food for our sustenance, and when the first rains come right after Sukkot, all of Israel sees it as a good sign for a year of abundance.
And that is what my Facebook feed and WhatsApp groups celebrated and blessed everyone with– may it be.