Thousands gathered at the Kotel Plaza Monday to pray for rainfall, as Israel experiences the driest November in almost 50 years. Rain is not expected until mid-December.
The Kotel is part of the ancient external wall built by Jewish kings around the Temple Mount, where the Temple once stood, and which has been under Muslim Arab occupation for centuries. Observant Jews pray to rebuild the Temple at the earliest opportunity.
Judaism teaches that the Land of Israel was given by G-d to the Jews and that it will receive annual rains on time and be plentiful if the Jews observe G-d's commandments.
This message is contained, among other places, in the "Shma Yisrael" prayer that observant Jews recite at least twice a day, and which is one of the most basic prayers in Judaism. It contains a Divine promise that rain will come on time if the Nation of Israel does its part. The verses are taken from the Book of Deuteronomy:
"If then you obey my commandments, which I command you this day, that you love the Lord your G-d, and serve him with all your heart, and with all your soul: He will give to your land the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your corn, and your wine, and your oil, and your hay out of the fields to feed your cattle, and that you may eat and be filled."
Chief Sephardic Rabbi, Rabbi Shlomo Amar
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi, Rabbi Yonah Metzger