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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Desalination: Do We Still Need Rain?

For many people the development and use of Desalination and other water purification processes have made old-fashioned primitive rain unnecessary. Here in Israel, where not all that long ago, every drop of rain and freshwater lakes and other  natural water sources were considered more precious than diamonds, we now hear that "we don't need rain."

Considering that the rain in this part of the world comes totally from Gd as a barometer of our obedience to Gd's commandments, that's like saying that we don't need Gd. It reminds me of what many Jews have said since the invention of modern refrigeration systems.
"With refrigeration, we don't need to keep the Laws of Kashrut."
Kashrut is more than a primitive system to keep food safe for eating.

Last night before going to bed, I checked the weather forecast and saw that rain was predicted, so I decided not to do laundry. I generally hang mine out to dry, unless there has been a very rainy week with no such opportunities. This morning the sun was summer blue, so I quickly did two washes. But since this is supposed to be the height of the rainy season, and we've hardly had any rain, I won't get upset if the sky suddenly gets dark and rain starts to fall.

To be very honest, I'm terribly worried by all the Israelis/Jews who insist that we don't need rain anymore. First of all, there is the theological problem in this. Denying dependence on Gd for the most basic of natural resources, the insistence that man can provide for such a crucial need goes against the most basic principle in Judaism. It competes with those who insist that our national security is dependent on technology and foreign nations. History shows that our greatest victories, 1948, 1967 and 1973 were miraculous. And for those who claim that Nixon/Kissinger saved Israel in 1973, the truth is a lot more complicated. We were victorious when we defied them; their aim was a "draw" between us and Egypt, so they could come in as "peacekeepers."

And in terms of the water's qualities, I think that everyone who has had different types of water, the purified the "hard" mountain spring water and the "soft," which is popular in coastal areas, especially in the USA, there are differences in taste. Also there are easily measurable differences in the various minerals found in water. Just look at the labels of bottled waters.

Not only people like myself can discern those differences, but our health can be affected, as are the agricultural products. The taste and sweetness of oranges after a couple of strong rains are totally different from that in oranges grown with "treated" water. Compare sawdust with sugar. That's how differently they taste, as far as I'm concerned. I'd rather have a shorter season for the oranges than find myself trying to eat the results of irrigation with purified/desalinated water. A friend who is a farmer here insists that the fruit grown with the industrially treated water is far inferior in quality to that grown with rainwater.

If we keep bragging that we don't need Gd's rain, the greatest gift, anymore, then Gd will turn off the faucets completely. The desalinated water is fine for washing floors and other such chores, but it's no substitute for rain, lakes, streams etc. And we really must remember that our entire existence is dependent on Gd, not our industries and intelligence.


Shelly said...

I agree that we need to recognize our dependence on Hashem, however I disagree re desalinization.
I think that without desalinization we would not be discussing the flavor it imparts to fruits/vegetables, but rather our very survival.
I think that a serious rainfall would be the highest form of a bracha from Hashem, but technology is also a bracha from Hashem, in this feild as in medicine and many other fields. we are not meant to shun modern technology, but rather to realize it is also a bracha from Hashem, sent to us through shlichim.

Batya Medad said...

Shelly, yes, it's helpful, but it's not helpful when people say that we no longer need rain.

Mr. Cohen said...

Why does Israel share priceless desalinization technology with countries which never did anything to help Jews, and even worse, constantly vote against Israel in the United Nations Organization?

If you believe that these nations will be grateful to Israel or Jews, then you are ignoring overwhelming historical precedents, which teach that non-Jews almost-never give gratitude to Jews in response to Jewish technological advances.

Quick example: When was the last time that any country voted in favor of Israel in the United Nations Organization, because the anti-polio vaccine was invented by a Jew? It NEVER happened, not even one time!

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Anonymous said...

I agree Israel has needs and we depend upon HaShem one way or another for everything. What I believe is missing here is the gratitude for the small and the large blessings that HaShem gives us graciously everyday. We paid him nothing for the blessings he gives to us freely. He is a kind and loving G-d. We must appreciate all that he does for us and give him thanks. I think as humans we can feel hurt when we have done something special for someone and they don't even say thanks. Our G-d should be given honor.

Anonymous said...

Think that even G-D fearing people are being slowly hypnotized by the tech world and falling into a trap of believing all they read. There is an overt and deliberate agenda to try and influence (and sadly, it works) everyone that there is no need for H's nature and we don't need, c'v, the Torah and its Commandments, because these Nimrodians know better. Simple as that. Tech is okay when it doesn't cross the lines. We need to thank H' for everything that HE does for us, because if it were not for His Overseeing everything and all His kindnesses in the universe, we would all disappear in an instant. Only H' controls everything. We need to choose the good over the evil - that has always been our test. Life is a Test = we need to choose wisely and thank HIM!

Batya Medad said...

a1, a2, yes, thanks

CDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

Yes, we DO need the rain! Even with all the desalinated, processed waters in the world we would still need rain, everywhere. Grasses and trees that reach up to the skies need rain on them. Ponds and rivers need to be filled. Underground water tables need filling. Birds and other animals need places to drink water. The list could go on and on and on...

Too bad many people don't appreciate well-watered, green lands, even though many of us come from such places. Maybe they still keep out of the rain as though it was something to be shunned, as they used to do "back in the old country."

Thank you, Batya, for reminding us.

Batya Medad said...

Thanks, appreciate the comment.