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    Israel & rain – Sh’mini Atzeret

    Rain_on_grassSh’mini Atzeret is the day when we pray for rain.

    The chazan wears the white garments that characterise the Yom Kippur supplications. The poems written by El’azar Kalir acknowledge that life depends on whether we get enough rain.

    The rain prayers go back to the time of the Mishnah. Rabbi Abbahu actually says in the Talmud, “Rain is greater than the resurrection of the dead, since that is only for the righteous whilst rain is for everybody” (Ta’anit 7a).

    Another rabbi says in the Midrash, “Rain is greater than the Revelation, since that day brought joy to Israel, whilst rain brings joy to all humanity” (Midrash Tehillim 117:1).

    Old-time siddurim recognised that sometimes there is too much rain and sometimes too little, and they have a special prayer for each possibility.

    The lesson we learn is that the best blessings are those when we have just enough, not too much or too little.

    Why the emphasis on Israel in the prayer for rain? Because when Israel is blessed, so is the whole world.

    The verbissener nations that traduce Israel should stop and think once in a while about how much benefit the entire human race has received from the land and people of Israel – and from Israel’s God too.

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