Gilad Erdan
Gilad Erdan Flash 90

An article this morning in the Haaretz newspaper dismissing as “idiots” those who pray for rain triggered a wave of reactions on social media.

The article, written by Haaretz journalist Rogel Alpher, is entitled “Anyone who prays for rain is an idiot.”

Alpher blasts recent efforts amid Israel’s current drought to organize prayer sessions for rain, specifically mentioning those of Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel at the Western Wall and Chief Rabbi David Lau at the Kinneret, which were followed by the first two rainstorms of a winter meteorologists predicted would be a drought. He dismissed praying to G-d for rain as the result of a “primitive worldview.”

“To believe that an all-powerful entity controls the rain and grants it to Jews only after they turn to It, one must be no less than a complete idiot,” he wrote.

Belief that praying to G-d helps bring about rain, he argues, “is inconsistent with the laws of nature. It obligates the believer to deny physical theories whose efficiency has been proven beyond all doubt, unlike prayers to G-d, which have been proven throughout human history to be grossly inefficient.”

Alpher's article provoked a wave of criticism on social media, including from Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

“After thousands of years during which Jews have prayed for rain (and the truth is not just Jews), Rogel Alpher writes in Haaretz today that anyone who prays for rain is an idiot," Erdan wrote on his Facebook page.

“It’s pretty remarkable that over at Haaretz they believe [imprisoned arch-terrorist] Barghouti will bring peace, but that belief in prayer as something legitimate is idiotic. Rogel Alpher and his friends will respect every custom they meet on a trip abroad, will go to sporting events in Spain and cheer Messi at the top of their voices from the stands as if he can hear them, but when Jews turn their eyes to Heaven and ask for rain, they freak out. And I am not even addressing the wonderful commentary of the Rambam, who explains that prayer is intended first of all for man, and its goal is to open our hearts.”

“In short, I’m sorry to tell our friends at Haaretz, but as a believing Jew for whom the prayers for rain have always been exciting, I will continue together with the entire Jewish people to pray for rain. May we have a good and rainy winter - with G-d’s help,” Erdan concluded.

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