26 Sivan 5778 – Shelach

What does an abundance of rain symbolise?

With all the wet weather over the past week, I bring you a few statements from our ancient Jewish sources to ponder:

The Talmud states: “The day when rain falls is as great as the day on which heaven and earth were created” as G-d’s power is manifest in rain (Taanit 8b). There have been times when this power was in the form of destructive rain due to people’s actions. In the generation of the flood, God brought rainwater on the generation of Noah to punish them for going against God’s will. Also, the prophet Samuel calls upon G-d to send destructive rain to punish the people (Samuel I 12:17).

Yet rain is normally associated with blessing. Rabbi Levi ben Chiyata says in the Midrash, “Without rain earth could not endure” (Bereshit Rabbah) as water is the source of life. 

It nourishes us when we drink it, cook with it, or use it to irrigate our crops. It surrounded the world when God created the earth, and surrounds a fetus as it grows in its mother’s womb. In the semi-arid land of Israel, water is a sign of its being a “good land” (Devarim 8:7). 

So during these days, we hope that our land receives the right amount of beneficial rain – rain that revives, cleanses and restores. And I hope that we are utilising this rainy period in growing ourselves – through spending more quality time indoors with our families and inspiring ourselves through reading good books and learning.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raizel Friedman

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