Every Friday morning, I drive to Bnei Brak for a class with the revered Tzaddik, Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi. As I wrote a few days ago, on Tuesday, a group of sixty students journeyed up north to the forests of the Hermon with Rabbi Levi for a day of atonement and special prayers for rain. So, of course, when crashes of thunder shook the walls of the yeshiva this morning, everyone was happy. When powerful gusts of rain splashed down from the heavens, Rabbi Leon led his students in singing the prayer of thanksgiving, “Nishmat Kol Chai,” thanking G-d for answering our prayers, along with the prayers of all the Jewish People for rain.
“Were our mouth filled with song as the sea is with water, and our tongue with ringing praise as the roaring waves, were our lips full of adoration as the wide expanses of heaven….we would still be unable to thank you and bless your Name, our G-d and G-d of our fathers, for one thousandth of the millions of countless favors which you have conferred on our fathers and on us….”
Someone came in soaking wet and said there was a river of rainwater outside the yeshiva. It says in the story of Creation, “And a river went out from the Garden of Eden.” A river of blessing. When we went outside in the downpour for a look, this is what we saw, directly outside the entrance to Rabbi Leon’s yeshiva:
Blessed be He who answers prayers!
Hurricane in the Bahamas??
Rav Leon walks outside for a look.
Stop the rain, I want to get off!
Taxis, cars, and buses were stuck in the flood of rainwater that washed down one of Bnei Brak's busiest avenues right in front of the yeshiva. Students broke out in song. When an ambulance gut stuck in the flood, Rabbi Leon told everyone to pray for the rain to stop for a few minutes until city workers could open manholes to control the rising floodwaters. So, irony of irony, after all of our prayers for rain, we had to pray for the rain to stop!
Thank G-d for all of His goodness. Thank G-d who answers our prayers. Thank G-d for giving us Tzaddikim like Rabbi Leon, and for revealing His secrets to those who fear Him.