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RAIN AND REDEMPTION

Roy Neuberger - Mar. 29, 2019


Next Shabbos the month of spring arrives. With the advent of Nissan, hope blooms in our hearts and flowers bloom in the fields and on the trees. During this season we have to remember that Zman Chairusainu (the Season of our Freedom) can come only after we have been released from slavery. There is no redemption unless there has been danger. That is why redemption is so powerful.



This year is no exception. The world situation seems to be plummeting daily, as Klal Yisroel becomes increasingly isolated. Right now, it seems like a world with no good news.

And yet ….

I am writing from the Holy City of Yerushalayim, the place the entire world covets. Recently, I saw an article about Turkish attempts to establish a presence in Israel. They are focusing on the Temple Mount and, interestingly, Kever Shmuel Hanovi, the tomb of Samuel the Prophet, on the northern border of the City.

Kever Shmuel Hanovi, which is not as popular a Jewish destination as it should be, is one of my beloved spots. One can seek this beacon of hope visually from all over Yerushalayim. Samuel the Prophet anointed King David, and we are expecting, b’ezras Hashem soon, his descendant to anoint Moshiach ben Dovid. The Moslems are evidently aware of the importance of Shmuel Hanovi. Just as they have been trying for centuries to “occupy” the Temple Mount, clearly they are trying to do the same for Kever Shmuel Hanovi.

Amidst all this, there is an encouraging sign for the Children of Israel, and that concerns the blessing of geshem, rain in the Holy Land. In America, on the contrary, rain is considered a “downer.” The weather forecaster is always apologetic when he must forecast rain, because rain ruins the plans of the nation which is always running after activities “under the sun” (which is, for Koheles – the book of Ecclesiastes – the phrase evoking mortality in this world).

But for us, rain is a miracle of life. “Af-bri is designated as the name of the angel of rain, to thicken and to form clouds to empty them and to cause rain …. May it not be withheld!  … In the merit of the faithful Patriarchs, protect the ones who pray for rain.” (Sukkos Prayer)

This year, Af-bri has poured down rain upon the Holy Land, in contrast to recent winters. The Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee), although still below ideal levels, has risen about one and one-quarter meters. We have merited to see the blessed rainfall in recent days.

Every day we are reminded, “if you continually hearken to My commandments … then I will provide rain for your land in its proper time….” Conversely, if we abandon Hashem, G-d forbid, one sign of His anger is that “He will restrain the heaven so there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its produce.” (Shema)

We have to look beyond the headlines. Hashem, “the Reviver of the dead, [Who] makes the wind blow and the rain descend,” is watching over us. Soon we will see the full majesty of His blessing with the “flowering of [His] servant, Dovid,” soon in our days!

 

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