OU Torah Insights Project
rain is not considered a blessing; it is viewed as a sign of
G-d's disapproval we prepare to perform the mitzvah of Sukkah
and by causing it to rain He, so to speak, prevents our eating and spending
time there, thus exempting us from the mitzvah. Yet, Sukkot is
the time when we are judged for rainfall, and many aspects of the Chag
the four Species, the mitzvah of Aravot
commemorate on Hoshana Rabba), and the Temple mitzvah of Water
Libation relate to this judgment and are considered "non-verbal
petitions" for rain.
COMES SHMINI ATZERET
T'FILAT GESHEM, with the commencement of reciting Mashiv
HaRu'ach U'Morid HaGashem (Who makes the wind blow and makes the rain
come down), the pointed reference in every Amida to G-d's power as
the Weather-Maker. Although Mashiv HaRu'ach is not in the form of a
request, nor is it in the request portion of the Amida, it is
considered to be an indirect request for rain.
THEN, TWO WEEKS LATER (7TH
OF CHESHVAN IN ERETZ YISRAEL ? later in Chutz LaAretz,
December 4 or 5), we begin asking for rain in a direct manner (by
reciting Vten Tal UMatar, give dew and rain)
immediately precedes our request for tal u'matar is Parshat Noach.
(The 7th of Cheshvan always falls during the six days following Noach.)
With the predominant theme of the parshah being the Flood, we cannot
fail to see the additional message.
GENERATION WAS VERY CORRUPT and immoral. G-d decreed their annihilation but
first gave them 120 years to repent. The vehicle for their punishment was to
be a great flood a tremendous amount of rain. But it wasn't LIVRACHA
( for blessing), nor L'CHAYIM (for life), nor L'SOVA (for
plenty). It's still happening. We see it on the news.
IN THIS PLACE OR THAT. Deaths,
MISHNA IN TAANIT
of when we start fasting in the years when the rain does not fall
"on time". The first date on the list is the 17th of Cheshvan,
only 10 days after we start reciting Tal U'matar. The Mishna says
that if it had not yet rained by that date, individuals (not the community)
would accept upon themselves to fast on behalf of the community. The 17th of
Cheshvan is mentioned in Parshat Noach as the day the rains of
the Mabul began. This can't be a coincidence. The absence of rain is
certainly not good, but neither is the wrong kind of rain. We need the right
kind, in the right amounts, at the right times. That's a lot to ask of G-d.
So, at least, let's make our requests properly.
THAT'S THE POINT OF THIS REVIEW.
Hundreds of times, we will be calling G-d the MASHIV HARU'ACH... with
its implied plea for rain. Hundreds of times, we will ask for TAL U'MATAR
LIVRACHA. If we omit Tal U'Matar from our Amida even
though we are asking G-d to give us a Bracha our Amida
is invalid and will have to be repeated in its entirety.
AS A CHILD,
saying, gimme a cookie, or words to that effect? Remember being told
by your parents that it is not a nice way to ask for things. Please, may
I have... is so much better.
THE SAME IS TRUE for
and the amida in particular. A rushed, kavana-lacking Mashiv
HaRuach or V'tein Tal U'Matar is rude and smacks of insincerity.
Why should G-d grant our requests if they are
EACH HAVE A CHALLENGE
a responsibility to daven well. we say bareich aleinu, s'lach lanu,
sh'ma koleinu Bless US, forgive US, hear OUR voices
always in the plural. A Jew who does not daven at all, and a Jew who
does not daven properly, is falling short of his personal obligations
to Torah and Mitzvot, AND is not fulfilling his obligations to Klal
JEW IS CONSTANTLY CHALLENGED
to improve himself and to help improve his society. Blessed rainfall is just
one part of the deal G-d made with us. There are many wonderful things at
stake. May we be blessed by GISHMEI BRACHA and all good things.
Adapted from Torah