Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rain, rain (don't) go away!

It’s cold and it’s wet – and we are elated! I challenge anyone to find a happier damp nation in the whole wet world! While rain in most countries puts a damper on things, in Israel it is a cause for celebration. I have heard of several “rain parties” being held in the area and our family is celebrating by trying out our fireplace (let’s hope it works) and toasting marshmallows. After 5 years of drought, Israel needs this rain so badly. This past October saw the greatest amount of rainfall since they started keeping track of rainfall in Israel. As of today, the Kinneret has risen over 3 centimeters. My husband and I were discussing this over breakfast and he let a little rain on my parade when he let me know that we still need 200 days just like this one in order to get the Kinneret back to where it should be. Well at least this is a start! The Hebrew word for rain is geshem, yet these days, everyone is referring to the wet drippy stuff as gishmay bracha, rain of blessing. We are literally experiencing ‘blessings on our head.’ Geshem is related to the word gashmiut – materialism. Geshem is the symbol for all material gifts from Hashem. So when it rains, it means so much more than greener grass and longer showers. It is a sign that Hashem has heard our prayers and is turning to us with favor. This past week we read about the separation between Lot and Avraham. The land where they were (which we visited this past Sukkot) could not sustain them both. Lot opted for the green pastures of Sodom. Avraham remained in the dry land of then Cana’an, now Israel. It’s easier to live in a well watered area where sustenance is all but guaranteed and life seems easy. However, the Jewish people have chosen the ‘road less travelled’ which requires constant prayer and acknowledgement of Gd Almighty. It’s a more difficult path, but as I once heard from musician Chaim Dovid Saracik, “who says easier is better? “ In our case, harder means more prayer, a closer relationship with Gd, and a greater appreciation for all of life’s blessings. So while the neighbor’s grass always seems greener (well, in my case it really is greener) if the dry, rocky terrain was good enough for Avraham, its good enough for me. Happy Showers!

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