Photo Credit: Aryeh Levyfour via Pikiwiki
The Jordan River in winter

The rains of the last few weeks have greatly improved the seasonal rainfall, and so, in response to a halachic inquiry, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau, on Sunday issued a directive to the public regarding the continued recitation of the special rain prayer following the recent rains:

Chief Rabbi David Lau’s rain message. / Screenshot

“We were blessed and the gates of heaven were opened, therefore, one must distinguish between the prayer of the shaliach tzibur (chazan) and the prayer of the individual. The sh”tz must stop saying “Va’anenu Boreh Olam” (Answer our prayer, Creator of the universe) in the “Shome’ah T’filah” [16th] blessing [of the Amida (18 blessings) prayer], but the individual may continue as long as they need rain, like any other [personal request which may be expressed during the 16th blessing].

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“And so, henceforth, the public will no longer recite the special prayer for rain, and will focus their request for rain when reciting the “bless our year” [9th blessing], and God will continue to listen to our prayers and give us the rains of blessing.”

At the end of last week, the Water Authority issued a statement saying, “In the last 24 hours there has been a turnaround, and the rains of the past 24 hours have fallen in the right places and are improving the water economy. At the same time, the losses are still enormous (due to the four-and-a-half year continued drought until the beginning of January).”

The WA reports that, on a national scale, precipitation since the beginning of the season is at 93% of the seasonal average, and at 50%-55% of the total annual quantity, so that the fate of the current winter depends mainly on February’s rainfall.

The level of the Kinneret has risen by 5.5 centimeters between Thursday and Saturday and stands at 214.10 meters, due to the strong flow of the Jordan River. This level is expected to continue rising in the coming day. Nevertheless, the Kinneret is still 1.1 meters below its lower red line and 5.30 meters below its optimal level.

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