web analytics
February 27, 2015 / 8 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


The Rainmaker (Tefillat Hageshem)

Grunfeld-Raphael-NEW

The keys to rain, work, resurrection and birth are in the hands of God, not man.

Indeed, as the Tur points out, the Hebrew word for key, mafteach, stands for matar, rain; parnassah, sustenance; techiat hameitim, resurrection; and chayah, childbirth. Rain and parnassah is one and the same thing, for the world’s sustenance is provided through rain.

On Shemini Atzeret, God decides how successful we will be in terms of our livelihood in the coming year and how much rain will fall.Poverty is something that will always remain with us. The only question is, who will be poor in the coming year? Of course, we must try our hardest to make a living, but ultimately it is not up to us. It is His decision. So what can we do to influence the Boss?

We can pray for rain. In the Mussaf prayer on Shemini Atzeret, we mention God’s powers as a rainmaker by reciting, in the blessing of resurrection, the words Mashiv haruach u’morid hageshem, God makes the wind blow and the rain come down. This is because rain, like techiat hameitim, has the power to revive. Seeds planted in the earth will come to life like the dead themselves.

The prayer of Mashiv haruach u’morid hageshem mentions God’s rainmaking powers but it is not an immediate request for rain. The prayer of Veten tal u’matar, give us dew and rain, inserted in the berachah of Bareich Aleinu in the Amidah, is a request for immediate rain. In Israel, one begins to recite the Veten tal u’matar request for rain fifteen days following Shemini Atzeret, so that pilgrims who visited Jerusalem for Sukkot could reach home before the rain swelled the rivers and made them impassable. Low-lying lands like Babylonia needed rain later in the year and therefore residents of such lands recite Veten tal u’matar sixty days following the equinox, which is on the fifth of December.

Because rain during the first seven days of Sukkot is considered divine rejection of the mitzvah of sukkah, we postpone the prayers for rain until Shemini Atzeret, when the Torah no longer commands us to sit in a sukkah. According to the Aruch Hashulchan, geshem is the rain in the sky whereas matar is the rain on the ground.The prayers of Mashiv harauch and Veten tal u’matar are recited in the Amidah until the Mussaf prayer on the first day of Pesach, which occurs in springtime, when rain is no longer required.

Of course, God ultimately decides whether and when the rain and the parnassah will come and there is no guarantee that our request for timely, plentiful and beneficial rain will be granted. There may be no rain, or not enough rain to fill the cisterns and wells, or there may be too much rain with damaging effects. But we must pray for it and we must apply as much pressure on God as possible. After all, we are placed on this earth to perform His mitzvot and we have the right to ask for the tools of the trade.

The Talmud tells us that if rain does not fall by the seventeenth day of the month of Mar Cheshvan – that is, ten days after it is needed in Israel – the rabbis of old declared public fasts that escalated in duration, frequency and severity. If the month of Adar arrived and the rains still had not come, the Jews would resort to a special form of blackmail. They would send an emissary to request rain whom God could not refuse. Such an emissary was Choni Hame’agel, Choni the circle maker, who was known for his extreme piety and understanding of the Torah. Choni would draw a circle around him and stand in the middle of it praying for rain, warning God that he would not step out until the rains came. When they came in scattered drops, he urged God for more. When the sky opened up with torrential rains, he asked God for less, until it was just right. Though Choni saved the people, Shimon Ben Shetach criticized him for forcing God’s hand. “Were you not Choni, I would pronounce a ban on you. But what shall I do, for you misbehave toward God and yet he does what you want.”

About the Author: Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Rainmaker (Tefillat Hageshem)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
18,000 Iranian Centrifuges
Reducing Iran’s Number of Centrifuges Makes a Bomb More Likely
Latest Judaism Stories
Niehaus-022715

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

Mendlowitz-022715-Basket

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

Winiarz-022715-Kids

Does Hashem ever go away and not pay attention to us?

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

In other words, the Torah is an expression of the Way that we must follow in order to live a divine-like life and to bond in the highest way possible with God or Being Itself.

The Chasam Sofer answers that one of only prohibited from wearing a garment that contains shatnez if he does so while wearing the garment for pleasure purposes.

The avodah (service) of the kohen gadol is vital and highly sensitive; the world’s very existence depends on it.

Moreover, even if the perpetrator of the capital offense is never actually executed, such as when the fatal act was unintentional, Kam Lei applies and the judge cannot award damages.

Forever After?
‘Obligated for Challahh and Not Terumah’
(Kesubos 25a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

“We really appreciate your efforts in straightening the shul,” said Mr. Reiss. “How is it going?”

This was a spontaneous act of rest after the miracle of vanquishing their respective foes. The following year they celebrated on the same days as a minhag.

The way we must to relate to our young adult children is to communicate with genuine loving-kindness

Jewish prayer is a convergence of 2 modes of biblical spirituality, exemplified by Moses and Aaron

In holy places it’s important to maintain a level of silence permitting people to dialogue with God

Eventually, after some trial and error, including an experience with a prima donna and one with a thief, I baruch Hashem ultimately found a fine, honest and reliable household helper.

More Articles from Raphael Grunfeld
Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

Moreover, even if the perpetrator of the capital offense is never actually executed, such as when the fatal act was unintentional, Kam Lei applies and the judge cannot award damages.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

One of the purposes of the ketubah money is to make it difficult for a husband to capriciously divorce his wife.

A more difficult situation arises when there is no evidence placing the missing husband at the site of the death.

The court cannot solely rely on death certificates issued by non-Jewish institutions without conducting its own investigation into the facts of the case.

When the inability cannot be clearly attributed to either spouse, the halacha is the subject of debate among the Rishonim.

The child of a Jewish mother from a union with a non-Jewish father is not a mamzer.

Although the conversion ceremony involves more than circumcision and immersion, these are the two essential requirements, without which the conversion is ineffective.

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/the-rainmaker-tefillat-hageshem/2014/06/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: