Many of you probably remember the theme song of the film by the same name, “Singing in the Rain”. It was a catchy tune and the words are upbeat and optimistic:
“I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain. What a glorious feeling, and I’m happy again”.
Well, Gene Kelly I’m not, but I do love to go out in the rain occasionally. After a restful Shabbat of eating, reading and sleeping, I had a lot of energy for my daily walk. I try not to miss an evening of walking since, among other health benefits, it is great for control of blood pressure and metabolism. Combine that with hitbodedut (one-on-one prayer with G-d) and it’s the perfect preventative therapy - but this time it was raining. A little water never stopped me in the past, so I donned my coat, boots, scarf and umbrella and ventured out into the elements. It was actually a beautiful night; not too windy or too cold. I wasn’t about to publicly sing and dance in the rain, but I was definitely infused with that “glorious feeling”.
While I was in an elevated mood, the damp obscurity of the darkness was also the ideal atmosphere for introspection, confession and apologies. Through my own miscalculations, much of my person prayer is often made up of giving thanks to Hashem and requesting favors rather than asking for forgiveness for my many mistakes. It is of the utmost importance to be grateful for our abundant blessings but we can’t ignore our blunders. There was something very crucial I needed to come clean about and being slapped on the face with precipitation seemed like a suitable consequence.
“It is very good to pour out your thoughts before G-d like a child pleading before his father. G-d calls us His children, as it is written (Deuteronomy 14:1), “You are the children of G-d”. Therefore it is good to express your thoughts and troubles to G-d like a child pestering his father.” Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom #7
Hitbodeduthas been practiced by Tzadikkim (righteous) for years, all the way back to Moses himself. Rav Shalom Arush, may he be blessed always, teaches that we should try to do an hour of hitbodedut each day. A good majority of people, especially newcomers to the idea, question how one has so much to talk about for a whole hour. If we go through the full array of situations in our lives, we can surely find several to expand on. I’m personally not a big talker but I am never at a loss of what to discuss with my Father in Heaven, my Best Friend and my Confidante. One doesn’t have to focus solely on oneself, but also on the needs and desires of family, friends and the world at large. The sky is the limit, quite literally!
I continued my trek reiterating my appreciation for the much needed, wonderful rain. I had no sooner vocalized that thought when there was a sudden cloudburst of gorgeous, miraculous torrential rain drenching me and everything nearby with all its might. How can one not sense Hashem’s presence when He sends physical signs in such an obvious way?
In the winter months we pray for rain. It is necessary for our survival; water to drink, nourishment for our crops and for a multitude of other necessities. We learn that rain, especially in the proper season, is a blessing from Hashem. BUT, He will only provide rains for our land “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give your rains in their season, and the land shall yield her produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely. I will give peace in the land.” (Leviticus 26:3-6).
This is revealing that if we abide by Hashem’s Laws, not only will He provide us with our sustenance but grant us peace and security as well. Food has little value unless Hashem also safeguards us from our enemies.
We cannot comprehend the ways of the Almightynor the balance of justice in Heaven, yet these rains saturating our parched land can only been seen as an indication that G-d loves us and is right here with us. With all the turmoil in the world and the missiles directed at our Holy Land, our Protector is telling us to trust in Him and fear no one or nothing else. We should draw comfort in knowing that He will take care of us.
May it be the will of the Holy One, Blessed is He, that we will always merit His protection and that we will soon be dancing with joy at the newly rebuilt Beit Hamikdash!