A View From Israel: A rain of blessings

Uncertainty in the Middle East abounds, which is why Israel is in need of constant blessing.

A haredi soldier prays during a drill (photo credit: IDF Spokesman))
A haredi soldier prays during a drill
(photo credit: IDF Spokesman))
On Monday night, those who pray began to add the prayer for rain: “Bestow dew and rain for a blessing.”
The land of milk and honey is mostly arid and badly needs winter precipitation to get through the hot, dry season.
What the prayer for rain is meant to do is to clue us in on the uncertainty of whether or not the the season’s rainfall will be abundant – and for many, that decision lies in God’s hands.
Uncertainty in the Middle East certainly abounds, which is why Israel is in need of constant blessings.
According to the Talmud, God retains the keys to three blessings: the key of rain, the key of childbirth and the key of reviving the dead.
By praying for rain, man admits that he is not all-powerful and demonstrates a level of humility by doing so.
Like God, man can also destroy life, but God holds the power to create and sustain life.
The Talmud also uses the term “gevurat hageshem” – “the strength of rain.” This can be interpreted as referring to the fact that in Israel, in general, when it rains it pours.
In the stories of the Bible, water was often difficult to obtain. Moses had to extract water from a rock and King David referred to this in his praise to God as the One Who “turns the rock into a body of water.”
Israel can be blessed by anyone and the Bible makes this clear when it says, “And I will bless them that bless thee.”
Evangelical Christians firmly believe in this passage and are dedicated “blessers” of the Jewish people.
AND THE Jewish people have been blessed. Israel, a country that was rebuilt from scratch after having been laid waste by marauding armies over the course of a few thousand years, is one of the fabulous successes of the 20th century – and that success continues through today.
A leader in numerous fields, Israel has become recognized as an innovative country. Its hi-tech industry outputs much of the world’s advanced technology. Israel’s academia produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation. Tel Aviv is considered one of the top cultural cities in the world. Our army is one of the strongest and best-trained in the world.
Israel’s emergency services are top-notch.
The International Police Association recently elected an Israeli woman as its vice president.
Israel is one of the top producers of clean technology.
Israel is a leader in the field of medicine, frequently achieving medical breakthroughs and discoveries.
According to a booklet produced by StandWithUs, a non-profit pro-Israel education and advocacy organization based in Los Angeles, through its medical devices, medicine and inventions, Israel saves more lives per capita than any other country in the world.
Israel protects minority rights and actively works to advance social and economic equality. Israeli Arabs have served in the Knesset since Israel’s establishment in 1948.
Israel was the first country in the world to adopt the Kimberley Process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as “conflict free.”
In the entire Middle East, only Israel received a No. 1 rating for political rights from Freedom House, which evaluates democracy and freedom around the world.
There are 56 Islamic-majority countries in the world, 122 Christian, 10 Buddhist and five Hindu. Israel is the only Jewish-majority country in the world and has been the Jewish homeland for over 3,000 years.
Upon its establishment, Israel became the manifestation of a moral necessity longed for by Jews everywhere.
The type of persecution so familiar to the average Jew in many lands came close to an end with the birth of the Jewish state. Unfortunately, Jews are still faced with high levels of anti-Semitism everywhere.
But Jews are no longer the Musselmanner, the living dead, of the Holocaust. The Jewish people is a thriving, pulsating, growing nation, striving to contribute to the development of our planet.
Nearly eight million citizens live here and, with the average monthly wage at around NIS 8,800 and the average household expenditure at around NIS 14,000, it is easy to see why Israel needs a torrent of blessings.
The Jewish people, as well as the rest of the universe, is divinely blessed. Yet we still must offer our prayers in order to receive such blessings and ensure their continuation.