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July 29, 2015 / 13 Av, 5775
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A Blessed Land, Wet or Dry

There are things we do not understand - so many things, but I believe God answers every prayer that is sent to Him.
The Jerusalem Light Train on Jaffa Street. Photo: Miriam Alster/FLASH90

The Jerusalem Light Train on Jaffa Street. Photo: Miriam Alster/FLASH90
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90

The last several posts have been about the rain, hail and snow that has hit Israel in the last week. According to a news item I just saw, Israel received over 100% of its needed annual rain – in just this last week. In many places the rainfall was in the range of 150 – 200% of the seasonal expectations.

I opened this post because I wanted to write about something else, anything else, but the rain and the weather. Not because I’m sick of it – but because I thought maybe you were. But here I am again, summing it up because perhaps in making this many posts, those of you outside of Israel will realize what the rain and the water means to us. It is our yearly communication with God (from a people who communicate with Him daily)- yes, we see it as a blessing.

Every drop – even when it brings us mud, floods, and cold.

Sometimes, we see the rain as a message of comfort – I can’t tell you how many times there have been terror attacks and as the victims were being buried, the rain poured down. Some referred to the rain as God’s tears, that God was crying with all of Israel. Sadly, some very religious people take the rain as an indication of God’s whim. But God doesn’t have whims – He has plans; He makes promises and He keeps them.

There are things we do not understand – so many things, but I believe God answers EVERY prayer that is sent to Him. What we, as human beings, fail to accept is that “no” is as much an answer as “yes.” When we tell our children, “no, you can’t do that” or “no, you can’t have that” – we never mean that we don’t love them or that we aren’t listening or trying to do what is best for them. It is no different with God, who is the Father of all we are and all we have. I think God loves us – despite ourselves.

And what all these posts were meant to say is that we felt God’s love over the past week – yes, even in the floods, even in the damage. Trees were knocked down – okay, they will be replanted or re-planned. Houses flooded – okay, they’ll dry out and be repainted. There were, as there always are – so many miracles and so much positive.

A bus of soldiers was hit by a flash flood and swept away – it could have ended so badly – but they were all rescued. Children in several places were also swept away – and again, saved. Two Palestinian women were drowned but many Arabs were saved by our emergency forces.

From trapped cars, trapped homes – from roof tops and elsewhere, Israel’s emergency forces deserve our tremendous gratitude and love as the sun slowly works its way through the clouds and the weather forecasters promise a few warmer days of sunshine ahead.

Yes, Israel got hit with a storm of historic proportions last week – but we had a lot of fun. We saw some pretty silly people try kayaking down swollen waterways (and yes, one needed to be rescued) and since we’re less than two weeks from the elections, even politics made it into the weather with pictures of Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home Party photoshopped into various places.

He is, in many ways, the darling of the election. He is young, handsome, dynamic and fresh in a system that is predictable and dirty. While most others attack him and put words in his mouth, he has run a surprisingly clean and positive campaign. Several times, over Shabbat, his political enemies have attacked him – putting words in his mouth that he didn’t say, twisting and spinning. Bennett is a religious man and so keeps the Sabbath.

But I saw a report in which he said (paraphrasing here) – something like – “but Saturday night always comes.” There are reckonings to be made in all things. For all the nastiness that has come his way, his party has risen above all expectations and much of Israel laughed as his image was placed water skiing on the flooded highways, rising from the snow below Netanyahu’s feet, and elsewhere on Facebook.

And, I’ve just come home from the local mini-market (called “makolet” in Hebrew) and saw snow on the roof of someone’s car. I took a plastic bag and filled it part way; Elie wanted another. As I was doing it, a little boy across the street said, “Daddy, look snow.” And so I took him a handful too. I gave a snowball to Aliza and one to Davidi and put the rest in my freezer. I’ve done this before – it will turn to ice and be thrown out around Passover time (about 3 months from now). but for now, I have snow in my freezer and my house is warm. Shabbat is coming.

The Sea of Galilee is rising and Israel was reminded last week that blessings come from above, that sun follows rain, that we are forever protected, watched over, loved.

All the rest is the little stuff…I have snow in my freezer!

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About the Author: Visit Paula Stern's blog, A Soldier's Mother.

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