Pretty much everywhere in the world… rain is this wet, miserable thing that falls, wets the streets, cars, and whatever and then goes away. It isn’t really necessary because residents have water in their homes with which to cook and bathe; water coming out of pipes in their gardens with which to water their yards; and water and other beverages readily available in their stores for drinking. Who needs rain?

Rain in the old country meant you canceled things – took a rain check. How do you explain to someone that rain is one of the great wonders of the world? It replenishes, it brightens, it enriches.

Israel is a rain-starved country – and so yes, we save water every way we can. We wash cars with buckets not hoses (or we should); we shut the water when we brush our teeth and wash our hair and yes, when I peel a pot full of potatoes… I throw the water in the garden when I’m done.

My Facebook page is filled with comments about the rain today and most of them include some blessing thanking God for the rain. This is one of those only-in-Israel things. I’m working in a building that has a very thin covering over the center area. I’ve been distracted several times by the pounding on the roof and each time, I find myself going outside to listen.

Jerusalem is a beautiful city – the sun shining off the stone buildings makes the city appear golden and the light shifts throughout the day…but Jerusalem in the rain is a thing of beauty as well.

Rain in Israel is so different than in most places in the world. Elsewhere it is often considered a nuisance, here, even at the worst of times, it is a blessing.

The winter rains have come and through the cold, people are smiling. “It’s miserable out there, thank God,” they’ll say. Yes, indeed, thank God.