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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Succot Rains, Scuds and the Power of G-d

We're now in the Succot Holiday, and a lot is being written about the significance of early rains.  Here in the Holyland, we need rain, every drop we can get.  But rain is supposed to come during specific times of the year, and if it rains a couple of weeks "early," is that a good sign or a bad one?
“But during Succot in Israel God invites us into the succa, which is in effect His house under His protection. After Yom Kippur, to sleep in the succa is a happy and tranquil experience, but when it rains it’s as if God is kicking us back out again, which we should take as a sign of rebuke and reproach.”

According to Lau, the message that should be heard is that of the importance of bettering interpersonal relations “We must know how to treat our fellow man, our relations between each other need to be less violent. You cannot treat people in this way and then go into God’s house to live under his protection.”
Apparently in some parts of the country, or very specific cities and/or neighborhoods there has already been heavy rain.  Here in Shiloh you can count the drops, which I did yesterday afternoon while sitting outside with a friend.  Barely five drops as total rained on the two of us, and a similar number made it through our succah's sechach the night before..

Last night a neighbor told me that one of her children reported very heavy rain not all that far away from us.  And another neighbor told us that it was so horribly windy on her street that her succah and those of neighbors blew down.  Others at the table were incredulous.  We all live in Shiloh and we didn't suffer stormy winds.

Rain, wind, their quantity, timing and location are all controlled by G-d.  He allocates rain according to our behavior, our keeping of His Commandments.  We only have a very general picture of what is going on, the scorecard.  There is no "accounting" or "bookkeeping" guide that we can follow.  We don't know what each sin or mitzvah is worth exactly.  G-d keeps the scorecard a secret.  The hints come from the heavens in rain, wind, storm and cursed dryness.

G-d also controls the military success of our enemies and ourselves.

Dry Bones from 1991 Gulf War

During that frightening early 1991 "war" when we sat as "sitting ducks" in "protected rooms" never militarily defending ourselves against the Iraqi assault of scuds, rockets, G-d made sure they did very little damage to human life in Israel.  To show how potentially dangerous the rockets actually were, G-d allowed one to hit Americans and many were killed.
Scuds were responsible for most of the coalition deaths outside of Iraq and Kuwait. 42 Scud missiles in total were fired into Israel.[25] They killed one Israeli directly and one Saudi security guard. Twenty-eight members of the Pennsylvania National Guard were killed when one struck a United States Army barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.[26]
This should be a powerful reminder to all.

We must all do our best to follow the Torah and pray that G-d accepts all with blessings.

ושמחת בחגך
v'samachta b'chaggecha
and be joyful in your holidays


Anonymous said...

I strongly object to these types of articles.

For example, Yeshivot in Poland with their students were destroyed during the Holocaust yet most of Germany's reform Jews survived (they managed to escape after years of persecution before WWII). The article you posted implies that we can learn from this which type of religious practice G-d prefers.

I suggest that you don't "put words in G-d's mouth."

Anonymous said...

Several years ago, during an Olympics, a rabbi "explained" that Israel wasn't winning any medals because the last day of the event was on Rosh Hashanna, and Israel was planning to take part in the closing ceremonies.

Israel then won a medal for kayaking - on Rosh Hashanna.

Batya Medad, if you believe that when and where it rains is a direct message to us, do you honestly believe that Israel winning a medal for kayaking on Rosh Hashanna is a sign from above that we have to go kayaking every Rosh Hashanna?

Or do you pick and choose which "signs" are significant?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (get a name!), I can't find the Olympics mentioned in the 2nd bracha of Shmonah Esrei.

Can you figure the rest out by yourself?

Batya said...

a, read carefully
shy, I agree about the name
I wrote that we don't know G-d's accounting laws. We should be aware of His power.

Anonymous said...

I should also have mentioned Parshat "Vehaya Im Sha'moa", right after Parshat Shmah.

There are certain causes we are responsible for which have the potential to elicit specific Divine effects. Precipitation or the lack of it, at the right or wrong times, is one of the most mentioned examples.

Chaim Plotnik said...

People who stayed indoors and watched TV on the first night of succot did not get wet.

What are you saying we should learn from this?

Moshe Kreplach said...

Our rabbanim teach us that we live in a world of free choice.

If lightning (or rain) were to strike in specific locations, we would lose free choice when we see good people rewarded and bad people rained upon.

This article goes against the rabbinical principle of free choice.

I. Chazerfress said...

A big department store in Israel called IKEA was recently destroyed in a fire.

However, a store right next to IKEA that sells non-kosher meat was completely untouched by the fire.

I thought that there was no significance to this; until I read this article.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

3 people with stupid names wrote similar comments, showing their complete ignorance of Judaism. What a coincidence!

Chaim Plotnik said...

Hi Shy Guy (I assume you also don't want to tell us your real name.)

Perhaps, instead of insulting people (which I believe is not the highest form of Judaism) since you are obviously a very wise and learned person could you please share some of your knowledge about how we are supposed to learn things from the weather (please quote from your vast store of knowledge of meforshim, rishonim, acharonim, etc.)

Anonymous said...

Chaim, no, not my real name.

Glad to oblige. Simply read the sources I give in my comments - one is scriptural, the other is Rabbinic.

Chaim Plotnik said...

You're right, I get it.

We start saying the words mashiv haruach umored hageshem in the 2nd bracha at the end of Sukkot.

However, there are some people in our country who do not accept the halachic definition of winter beginning at the end of Succot.

G-d poured out his wrath upon those who defied him and the 2nd bracha and declared winter early.

However, secular people who were against the evil plan to have early wintertime, and stayed indoors and watched TV on Succot night, remained dry.

Thank you for making this clear.

Moshe Kreplach said...

Thanks to this article and Shy Guy, I now understand why most Meretz supporters remained dry on Sukkot and religious people got wet.

Anonymous said...

More yukkety-yuck gibberish from Plotzen & Kreplach.

Batya said...

Shy, what would I do without you?
Chag sameach