Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Weather is Gorgeous. And It's Terrible

If you live in New York or Michigan or Chicago, I'm sorry for you. Today you probably had to slug through snow, ice and sleet to get to shul or work or school. I really do feel bad, since I rode my bike with a windbreaker, and then went for a run in shorts and tee shirt. I did all that because the weather here in Yad Binyamin - and in all of Israel for that matter, has been gorgeous. With highs in the mid-60's (that's farenheit) all week, we've stopped using our heat altogether, and Rena even turned the air conditioning on in the car today. (It was stuffy). It's really terrific weather.
And it's terrible. Because as nice at it might make life today, we really need the rain. In an article on Jpost today, I learned that Israel has no real long-term water plans, which I find especially disconcerting given the fact that, "Israel is facing its worst water crisis in history." We really need rain, and we need it badly. Which is where all of us come into play.
Several months ago the chief rabbinate of Israel put out a request asking that Jews in Israel (and I guess around the world) begin to add a special prayer for rain in their davening, during שמע קולנו of the amidah. I have been doing so sporatically (whenever I remember), but I guess it hasn't been enough. It's going to take a greater effort.
So please add the following tefillah to your davening. I'm including the text at the bottom of this post, but you can also click here to download a pdf to put into your siddur for quick reference.
A Prayer for Rain.
וַעֲנֵנוּ בּורֵא עולָם בְּמִדַּת הָרַחֲמִים, בּוחֵר בְּעַמּו יִשרָאל לְהודִיעַ גָּדְלו וְהַדְרַת כְּבודו, שׁומֵעַ תְּפִלָּה תֵּן טַל וּמָטָר עַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה, וְתַשבִּיעַ אֶת הָעולָם כֻּלּו מִטּוּבֶךָ, וּמַלֵּא יָדֵינוּ מִבִּרְכותֶיךָ וּמֵעשֶׁר מַתְּנַת יָדֶךָ, שְׁמור וְהַצֵל שָׁנָה זו מִכָּל דָּבָר רָע, וּמִכָּל מִינֵי מַשְׁחִית, וּמִכָּל מִינֵי פֻּרְעָנִיּות, וַעֲשה לָהּ תִּקְוָה וְאַחֲרִית שָׁלום, חוּס וְרַחֵם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל תְּבוּאָתֵנוּ וּפֵרותֵינוּ, וּבָרְכֵנוּ בְּגִשְׁמֵי בְרָכָה וְנִזְכֶּה לְחַיִּים וָשׁובַע וְשָׁלום, כַּשָׁנִים הַטּובות, וְהָסֵר מִמֶּנּוּ דֶּבֶר וְחֶרֶב וְרָעָב, וְחַיָּה רָעָה וּשְׁבִי וּבִזָה, וְיֵצֶר הָרָע וְחָלָיִים רָעִים וְקָשִׁים, וּמְאורָעות רָעיִם וְקָשִׁים, וּגְזור עָלֵינוּ גְּזֵרות טובות מִלְּפָנֶיךָ, וְיִגּלּוּ רַחֲמֶיךָ עַל מִדּותֶיךָ, וְתִתְנַהֵג עִם בָּנֶיךָ בְּמִדַּת הָרַחֲמִים, וְקַבֵּל בְּרַחֲמִים וּבְרָצון אֶת תְּפִלָּתֵנוּ
Answer us, O Creator of the world, with your attribute of Mercy. He who chooses His nation Israel to make known His greatness and glory. He who hears prayers, grant dew and rain on the face of the earth and satiate the whole world from Your goodness. Fill our hands from Your blessing and from the wealth of Your giving Hand. Protect and save this year from anything evil, from any type of disaster, from any type of tragedy and provide this year with hope and a peaceful end. Have mercy on us and on our produce and our fruit and bless us with blessed rain. May we merit life, plenty, and peace as in the good years; and remove from us pestilence, sickness, and famine, wild animals, captivity and plunder, the evil inclination, difficult illnesses and disastrous events. Decree upon us positive decrees before You and may Your mercy triumph among Your attributes and may You lead your nation according to the attribute of mercy. May You accept our prayers with mercy and appeasement.