With the coming of fall and winter, Jews around the world are praying for rain in Israel. On Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, we began adding “Mashiv ha’ruach u’morid ha’geshem” — He makes the wind blow and He makes the rain come down. In Israel, we are also saying “v’tain tal u’matar” — give dew and rain — in our daily prayers. This rain is called “gashmei bracha” — blessed rain. We pray for the rain to not just pour down and flood the Land, but to be the right amount amount of rain at the right time and in the right place for the crops to grow. After the long, hot, dusty summer, it is wonderful to feel the cool cleansing water wash away the dirt and reveal the sparkling clean surfaces below.
My family is blessed that our home faces towards Jerusalem, the heart of the Jewish people and the place where my heart lies. Every morning when I wake up, I see the hills leading toward Jerusalem and thank Hashem, G-d, that we have come home. But our heart — my heart — is broken. It lies in pieces from knife attacks, car attacks and shooting attacks. The streets of Jerusalem are empty, the once-bustling Mahane Yehuda market still. As I look at the hills at night I see the twinkling lights of Palestinian villages and I wonder what these mothers are praying for. Are they, like me, grateful that their children are sleeping safely in their beds, homework done and ready for another day? Or are they dancing and giving out candy to celebrate the latest spilling of innocent Israeli blood? Are they praying for peace or preparing themselves or their children to become murderers?
As we pray for rain, I pray that Hashem showers all of us with peace. Let this also be blessed rain, which will pour down on us and wash away the blood and tears of this filthy hate-filled season, revealing the beauty that is our home — the Land of Israel.