Sunday, July 10, 2011

Vesein Tal Umatar

This is my English rendition of a piece from Bemechitsas Rabeinu

Faith in Prayer

Reb Yakov Michoel Hirschman shlita (head of the kollel in Toronto) related the following.  He had been a student of the gaon Reb Aharon Kotler ztl.  On the latter’s passing, he was among those who accompanied the casket carrying Reb Aharon to its final resting place, which was in Eretz Yisrael.  In the year in which this occurred, Eretz Yisrael had been beset by a devastating draught, from which the population suffered agonizingly.  At the site of the burial, a certain elderly Jew was present; and he volunteered that he had received a tradition harking back to the elders of the generation that said that if, in a time of draught, a righteous person should pass away, a samartut ratuv (wet cloth) should be placed in the grave along with the deceased.  Doing this will symbolize that the tzadik prays for rain, he adjured.  They did as he had advised when they buried the gaon ztl.  And on the night immediately following the burial, exceedingly strong rains poured down from the sky.  When Rabeinu was told this story, he retorted that he did not believe that following this man’s prescription was in fact the cause of the rain.  He averred that what precipitated the rain was the fact that this was the night on which Jews throughout the reaches of the Diaspora began to recite vesein tal umatar (“and give dew and rain”) in the Shemonah Esrei prayer.  He expressed himself, saying: “And what do you think – that this is nothing but a wagon full of dirt!?”

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