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November 02, 2012
Vol. 54 No. 8

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Rabbi's Writeup

"Sing to the Lord a song of praise...to our God who covers the heavens with clouds and provides rain for the earth." --Psalm 147:7-8

Sandy has come and gone, and in her path has left many communities devastated. We here on campus have not fared so badly; some of us even got to sleep in on Tuesday. For many, who are still without power and adequate supplies, this hurricane is seen as a curse, a wrathful act of God.

Biblically, rain is a blessing. In a civilization based in the desert, rain is God's gift to the people. Life without rain, like life without God, is literally no life at all. At this time of the year in the Jewish liturgy, we add a special blessing in our prayers for rain. It feels counterintuitive to pray for rain when an abundance of rain has ruined so much for so many.

Sometimes, however, we do not get to choose the words of our prayers. Liturgy is passed down for generations because on some basic level, it works. At this moment, when rain feels like a curse, we still say a blessing for rain. The words of the liturgy provide another voice that may not derive from our personal experience. That perspective is the of gift our ancestors.

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