Not all prayers are created equal
In Israel, we’ve begun to pray for rain. If one forgets those words and says the summer prayer, one’s prayer is as if not said, and one still must pray.
So, serious stuff.
On the other hand, the war has started. Rainfall would seriously hamper ground incursions that the IDF seems to prepare for. So, Jews have asked: Maybe, at the moment, we should not ask for precipitation.
One senior rabbi answered: We don’t know how many months the campaign will last. We can’t just leave out our request for rain for so long.
I disagree with the reasoning. This is what I think.
When the Temple was still standing, the High Priest would, once a year, on Yom Kippur afternoon, enter the Holy of Holies. In the 90 seconds that he was inside, one of the things he would do was ask for rain. Why?
Because the heartfelt prayer of people outside in the rain would stop rain from falling. The power of a genuine prayer is that strong. But then we would have a drought. It needed the High Priest in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur for the People’s good to weigh against those private prayers!
Therefore, we can ask for rain in our set prayers. We don’t need to fear they would cancel those by the soldiers in battle. Especially because they are doing the Greatest Commandment: saving Jewish lives from an arch-enemy. I’m not even sure they need to utter the request to be answered in the positive. Especially from those who say they’re not so religious.
Besides that, today, we can do fine without rain. We now desalinate water from the Mediterranean and take from the full Sea of Galilee. And we have no High Priest so, nothing will stop a soldier’s prayer against soggy terrain.
On top of this all, in Israel, we began to mention rain in our prayers on … Simchat Torah. The same day that Chamas murdered 1,400 Jews and our friends. In that prayer, we ask that rain will come down for life, not death.
But what if it will rain anyway? Or if it wouldn’t have rained anyway? No fervent prayer ever gets lost. Those prayers will do their work elsewhere. Meanwhile, everything is under Divine Supervision, and it’ll all work out.
But if all works out fine anyway, why pray? It’s all connected to G^d’s Generosity. When things didn’t go as we wished, G^d gave us an opportunity to do all we could so that we don’t need to blame ourselves. And if things go exactly as we wanted, G^d gave us a chance to cooperate with Him so that we can feel pleased with our contribution.