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    Water shortages – Chukkat

    Chapter 20 of B’midbar begins with the familiar scenario of a water shortage. The classical Jewish method of dealing with a lack of rain was to pray.

    There are also famous stories such as Choni HaM’aggel (the Circle Drawer) in the time of the Second Temple, who drew a circle around himself on the ground and threatened God, “If You don’t send rain, I am not budging from here!” (Ta’anit 23a).

    Less theatrical options are part and parcel of Jewish piety, such as the prayer at the end of some Siddurim, headed “Prayer in Time of Drought”. The Siddur was sufficiently open-minded to include a companion prayer, “Prayer in Time of Flood”. This prayer basically said, “God, we know we asked for rain – but You have been so generous that it’s ridiculous!”

    In today’s world it is still good to pray, but there are extra things we can do because of all the advances in scientific development. We have a range of remedies in our hands. To the non-scientist they seem like miracles and they are.

    An even bigger miracle is also available, even to the non-scientist: the sharing of water resources which is part of inter-national co-operation. Peace comes when peoples can work together.

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