A 1956 American film, The Rainmaker, is also the title of John Grisham’s novel published in the 1990’s. I never read the book, nor did I see the film. I only remember an advertisement of the film starring Burt Lancaster on local Israeli billboards in the summer of 1958, the summer of my first visit to Israel. The title of the film was translated to Hebrew and advertised as, “Moreed HaGeshem.” Indeed, the translation was both amusing and seemingly blasphemous to an Orthodox American teenager whose association with “the Rainmaker” was, is, and always will be, the Almighty, as referred to in the additional prayer for the blessing of winter rains beginning on Shmini Atzeret: “Mashiv haRuach u-moreed haGeshem” our request to the One who makes the winds blow and the rains descend.

I am always in shul on Simchat Torah, but not this year. I wasn’t there for Hakafot, or for Mussaf or for the tefilla for Geshem. The early morning Red Alert siren in Israel had my son insisting that I remain at home, davening on my own, near the safe room.

I remember my husband davening Mussaf and Geshem. His melodic tenor voice gave hope to the community that the winter would be a good one, that the rains would fall on time, and that they would be “for blessing and not for curse, for life and not for death, for plenty and not for scarcity.” He davened Mussaf and Geshem until his last Simchat Torah when he was too weak to serve as Baal Tefilla, yet he managed to belt out one final prayer for Geshem, for rainfall.

The prayer for rain this year has not been answered with any heavy rain yet, but it has returned the spirit for unity among our people. The atrocities perpetrated by Hamas on Simchat Torah continue daily with rockets fired at our cities, our villages, and homes, and terrorists still trying to infiltrate our borders. Our Air Force is at work around the clock. Israel’s claim to fame, the Iron Dome technology, is not enough to fight and win this war. We still need foot soldiers for house-to-house cleansing of terrorists, hiding like rats, in dark tunnels and corners of Gaza. We need to rid the north of our country from Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah.

And we also need continued prayer, recognition of the One G-d to whom we call out at this time.

The Almighty, unlike his angels whom He authorized to serve as malachei hashalom, angels of peace, and the malach hamavet, angel of death, holds the key to rain. "Hashem shall open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to provide rain for your land in its season and to bless all your handiwork." (Deut. 28:12)

Today is the 7th day of the month of Cheshvan, the day we add another line of prayer to “Mashiv haruach umoreed hageshem.” Today in Israel we add: “V’tein tal umatar l’vracha.” – Send Dew and Rain for a blessing.

Rabbi Re’em HaCohen, Rav of the community and Rosh Yeshivat Otniel, has added an extra few lines to the verse to “send dew and rain for a blessing.” Rain at this particular time may be detrimental to our troops about to enter Gaza.

נוסח הרב ראם הכהן
נוסח הרב ראם הכהןצילום: ישיבת עתניאל

“Give [us] dew and rain as a blessing, let it fall only

in those places where the rain is in fact a blessing;

Let it be Your will that in the battlefield no rain shall fall on our forces

who are fighting the battles of Hashem.

May the words of the prophet Amos be fulfilled with us as a blessing:

"On one city I will have it rain, but on one city I will not; one field will have rain, but a field on which I will not let it rain, shall dry up [and be useless]."

Israel has a “Rainmaker”, one who can shower us with rain and dew for a blessing; a “Moreed Geshem” who holds the key to the heavens for miracles to rain down upon us.

We need God’s miracles now. Would that we merit His blessing.

Faigie Heimanwon first prize in the Israel Education Ministry Jewish Culture short story competition. A popular author of short stories and essays, and a memoir, Girl For Sale, Faigie Heiman is celebrating her 60th year of Aliya in Jerusalem.