At this time of year, I take my responsibilities very seriously. While others might think otherwise, my contribution, though, is to be one of many praying for rain this coming winter season.
Perhaps then last night should not have been a surprise.
Here in Efrat, our night was full of flashes of lightning and peals of thunder, and a quarter inch fell from the sum total of brief downpours. The rain was the result of a tropical system, and was preceded by a quick build up of dust.
Our weather will continue to be cool, with a greater likelihood of light rain and/or showers on this coming Monday. The rain is associated with a storm moving southward from Cyprus.
On Wednesday, there should be a brief warm up. Although brief, a storm moving north westward from the Red Sea should pass through southern Israel before moving into the Mediterranean Sea just off our coast. There should again be plenty of middle level moisture with this storm, which will provide the fuel for another round of thunderstorms. Some of these may cause flooding.
We prayed for rain and hope that it will indeed come to pass. We all have hopes, many of them not related to whether it will rain or snow.
The pictures above are from earlier years, before many years of hopes and false-hopes had come to pass. When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a “weatherman.” I did meet these goals, but due to a changing business climate, I may have to close my weather site. I was blessed, though, with more than decade of being able to provide this service to the public.
Life and circumstances change. Nothing tells me more than this when I note that I am now older than the pictures of my parents when they would always seem to be older than I.
Rav Avraham Shani spent many years being the Chazan of “The Great Synagogue” in Jerusalem. He and his wife (+ family) then moved to Efrat many years ago. I recently asked Avraham how he felt, and his reply was: “I’m happy.” He mentioned that he doesn’t get out much, but he reads and family visits. He was the type of person who was full of humility, yet still gave advice from the heart.
Larry Friedman was also my neighbor. He used to love telling me the story of how he built and then sold his computer business, before moving here. Here, he met his new wife, and together they wrote many new stories together. People talk about how happy Larry was — to make a life here in Eretz Israel. He was also a story teller himself, and I am told that his stories repeated numerous time were never quite repeated the same way. But, that’s what happens when you live a long life and also learn from life’s experiences.
Isn’t that the purpose of stories? To not only entertain, but to teach some nugget of truth that one discovers along the journey of life?
Both Rav Avraham and Larry did not grow easily into old age. Yet, they both lived in the moment, measuring their happiness on circumstances beyond themselves. And those circumstances were full of blessings. They were both recently “gathered to [their] people;” may their names be a blessing for us all.