The Scent of Rain / Ha’Rei’ach shel Geshem – Cindy Elliott

A Word for the Month of CHESVAN – A Month of Fragrance

The Bostoner Rebbe once taught: “… it is especially effective to pray when it is raining.” With a twinkle in his eye, he would say, “When the Creator is giving out b’rachot (blessings), take advantage of it.” [1]

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I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill, I will send down showers;
there will be showers of blessing.
Ezekiel 34:26

Rain, a Divine blessing from Heaven – living water essential for life. Rain is a miracle from the Hand of our Creator, each droplet of water formed into separate drops of rain (Job 36:27). I really like the Septuagint’s rendering of this verse from Job, “And the drops of rain are numbered by Him, and shall be poured out…” Unfathomable!

Living off the Gulf of Mexico, we had rain every day of Sukkot this year. One afternoon while sitting in our sukkah I was amazed at how each raindrop captured the light. It was like little drops of glory and blessing descending from the Clouds of Glory. It is as impossible to count those raindrops as it is to count the entirety of the glory and the beauty of G-d.

Rabbi Tanchum Bar Chiyah said: “A day of rain is greater than the day on which the Torah was given. For the giving of the Torah brought joy to the Israelites, whereas a day of rain brings joy to all nations and to the entire world, including the animals and beasts.” [2]  But realizing that too much at once can be dangerous and destructive, we pray that rain will be for a blessing.

Blessed are You, Lord our G-d,
King of the Universe,
Who creates spices of fragrance. [3]

There is something so peaceful in watching a gentle rain falling to meet the earth. And when the rain is heavy, it is a wonder – a wet curtain draped by Heaven Himself. But I think even more stirring than the sight of the rain is it’s scent – that sweet earthy fragrance that tells us the earth has been, or is about to be, nourished. For me it is the smell of the holy – of heaven kissing the earth. It is that scent so powerful and moving that Job tells us it causes even the stump that has died in the soil to bud and put forth shoots. [4]

I do realize that it isn’t actually the rain that smells but it is the oil released from the earth into the air. When the humidity rises, water fills the pores of rocks, stones, and soil. This water flushes the oil from the stone and releases it into the air. Add a small wind, and the scent spreads. Could it be the same with our hearts? When the rain of Living Water falls on our thirsty hearts, it cleanses, refreshes, nourishes and causes us to grow. It softens and saturates our hearts, releasing the heavenly, sweet smelling fragrance of our intimate knowing of Adonai to those around us.

But thanks be to G-d, who in the Messiah constantly leads us in a triumphal procession and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of what it means to know Him!
For to G-d we are the aroma of the Messiah, both among those being saved and among those being lost. To the latter, we are the smell of death leading only to more death; but to the former, we are the sweet smell of life leading to more life. Who is equal to such a task?

2 Corinthians 2:14-16

Blessed are you Lord our G-d, Creator of the Universe. Just as you took the Israelites to a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from Heaven, a land that You care for and continually keep your eyes on [5] so too are our hearts. Abba, may your Words drip as rain, filling every crevice of our heart and causing us to be a vessel that overflows. Let the fragrance of You be released from our hearts to those around us. Amen.

Give ear, O heavens, let me speak;
Let the earth hear the words I utter!
May my teaching drip as the rain,
My words flow as the dew,
Like showers on young growth,
Like droplets on the grass.
For the name of Adonai I proclaim;
Give glory to our G-d!
Deuteronomy 32: 2-3

Abba,
saturated
astonished
pregnant with wonder
filled to bursting with gladness

thousands of thousands
myriad of myraids
a gazillion
bajillion times
thank You
thank You
thank You for Your rain!

Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it.
I, Adonai, have created it
.

Isaiah 45:8

 

* Photo Credit – all photos from shutterstock.com

1. Rain in Jewish Tradition Culled from The Jewish Sourcebook on the Environment and Ecology by Ronald H. Isaacs
2. Midrash Shocher Tov on Tehillim 117
3. Orach Chaim 216:2, with Mishnah Berurah 16, A blessings recited over any good aroma.
4. Job 14:9
5. Deuteronomy 11:10-12

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