Daily Israel Report

Golan Heights Welcomes 'Rains of Blessing'

Rabbi of Golan community says the late rains are a blessing, not curse, and will 'let the fruit grow beautifully.'
By Benny Toker, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/9/2014, 3:00 PM

Effects of rain in Golan Heights (file)
Effects of rain in Golan Heights (file)
Flash 90

Rabbi Yehoshua Van-Dyke, the chief rabbi of the Golan Heights community Ramat Magshimim located near the Syrian border, welcomed the unseasonable heavy rains that fell starting this Wednesday, calling them rains of blessing.

"We thank the Holy One Blessed be He," Rabbi Van-Dyke told Arutz Sheva, remarking on the late rainfall which occurred this week after the Jewish month of Nissan had already ended.

"It's true that it's written 'if Nissan leaves and rains fall it's the sign of a curse,' but according to most of the (Jewish) sources the period of Nissan continues until 'pros haatzeret,' which is almost until the holiday of Shavuot," said the rabbi.

"Pros haatezeret" occurs 15 days before Shavuot, the holiday which will begin on June 3 this year. "It may be a rare event, but it can happen in our land," Rabbi Van-Dyke commented about the rainfall still being considered part of Nissan.

According to the rabbi, such rains can make up for a full winter of lacking rains.

"If 150 millimeters (six inches) of rain will fall, that will fill the empty pools," said Rabbi Van-Dyke. "That's an incredible blessing, without this rain the farmers would need to decrease the fruit, and now the fruit can grow beautifully. For most of the orchards, other than the cherries, these are certainly blessed rains."

Rabbi Van-Dyke said that those who accidentally inserted the prayer for rains from the winter months in the private prayers, which reads "who causes the wind to blow and the rain to fall," do not need to repeat the prayer.

Citing the Jerusalem Talmud, the rabbi notes that in a year of drought rains can be requested up to two weeks before Shavuot, after which it becomes "a matter of miracles and we don't pray for it."