Now that Israel’s winter has begun in earnest, with a major storm and snow Wednesday and Thursday, Jews around the world should stop saying the special prayer for rain they were asked to utter last week, the Chief Rabbinate said.
This early winter was one of the driest on record, even by the parched standards of the region, and so last Wednesday, December 4, Israel’s chief rabbis asked Jews worldwide to insert an additional traditional prayer for rain into their daily supplications and to recite specific psalms.
Soon after the rabbis’ prayer request was made, meteorological data indicated that rain was headed to Israel. Since its arrival, the rabbis have asked the public to cease saying the extra prayer, and instead to insert a thanksgiving prayer for rain — a prayer that is “a little modern, from around 400 years ago,” Chief Rabbinate spokesman Ziv Maor told The Times of Israel on Thursday.
A planned prayer rally at the Western Wall, called for last Thursday, was called off because it was already clear that the rains were imminent, he added. The first major rain of the winter struck the country that same day.
This Wednesday-Thursday has seen Israel in the grip of a rain-, wind- and snowstorm that was expected to last through the weekend. Schools were closed and public transportation disrupted Thursday as snow fell on Mount Hermon, the Golan Heights, Safed, and Jerusalem and its surrounding higher-altitude areas.