Here on the eastern seaboard, we’ve been having an unusual amount of torrential rain. When viewing this casually, especially during the summer months, we consider rain a big nuisance. It wreaks havoc with our recreational plans. Tennis games are cancelled, outdoor barbecues are ruined, and the pleasures of swimming are dashed. Children are stuck inside climbing the walls, driving their parents crazy. The Gemara, however, has a different take on a rainy day. In Masechtas Taanis, the Gemara teaches us, “Gadol yom hageshamim, k’yom shenivra’a shamayim v’aretz – Great is the day of rain like the day heaven and earth were created.” So, let’s see if we can recalibrate our attitude towards a rainy day.
What is so special about a rainy day? Consider this. If we are thirsty, we head to the refrigerator, to the water cooler or to the sink and we immediately quench our thirst. But what about a rabbit, a squirrel, a lizard or a cat? If they are not near a water source, they remain thirsty until it rains. When the rain finally comes, thousands upon thousands of thirsty creatures lift up their heads gratefully and quench their powerful thirst. This is besides the tree and plant life that also greedily imbibe the necessary fluids of their very existence.
It turns out that the rain is a magnificent act of chesed. Rav Avigdor Miller, zt”l, teaches that our children have no idea how to react to rain. But when they hear us drone, ‘Oy! It’s raining. Our plans are spoiled,’ or ‘Look at the weather outside. It’s so damp and gloomy,’ they grow up viewing rain as something sour. It’s up to us to condition them that rain is an exciting, life-giving force that satisfies the needs of so very many in a short amount of time.
There is another important lesson. We are commanded to “walk in Hashem’s ways and to emulate Him.” Therefore, we should also try to do things that can have an impact on many people. The reader might say, ‘Not everyone can give a shiur on TorahAnytime and reach the masses. How can I impact a crowd?’ But it’s not as difficult as you might think. Putting a 99¢ box of tissues on a shul table helps many people. Putting a soap decanter in the shul bathroom does so as well. Putting up an asher yotzar sign near the bathroom at your workplace, or buying a nice framed picture of a gadol for your local school (with their approval, of course) to inspire the children all fall in this category.
The reverse is also true. We should be very wary of a single act that can hurt many. Thus, after 10 p.m. we shouldn’t be honking the horn of our cars (flashing the headlights is a good alternative), for with a single honk you could be waking many people. Even worse is to post something negative on social media that could cause literally thousands of people to transgress the sin of lashon hara.