October 27, 2021
This past week we received the blessing of rain. The showers were desperately needed. They came intensely, dramatically. Mayim Chayim--the Hebrew phrase for life-giving waters. Yet we know too much of anything can be overwhelming and destructive.
We learn from the Talmud in Masechet Ta’anit (8b) that “The day when rain falls is as great as the day on which heaven and earth were created.” The Rabbis understood that God’s power is expressed through rain. Without these life giving waters, the Earth and all she sustains, simply cannot exist.
We acknowledge our dependence on rain through our liturgy. Everyday, we pray for rain in the blessings of the Amidah. But we are praying for the right kind of rain, in the right season. During the spring and summer we pray for dew. As environmental needs shift, so too the seasons change. During the fall and winter we pray for wind and rain. These shifts bring different kinds of weather and precipitation. Timing is everything. We pray for ecological balance and the divine regulation of precipitation--otherwise the entire system is thrown out of kilter.
I am reminded of a stark juxtaposition from this summer: dry, drought conditions, with rampant fire in California while New York experienced horrifying flash floods that resulted in multiple fatalities.
The wisdom of Torah calls out: “To give the rain of your land in its due time, and to bless all the work of your hand” (Deuteronomy 28:12).
May we continue to receive the blessing of rain. May the downpour be steady and tame. May the reservoirs fill and the parched earth drink to satiety. May the streams, and creeks, and rivers be refreshed with movement and purifying flow. Amen.