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Apr 21, 2013

When rain after Pesach is not a curse

Here in Israel it is normally pretty rare to get rain after Pesach. Every few years we might get a little bit of rain after Pesach, but this year we have had an unusually significant amount of rain.

I never really know how to relate to such rain after Pesach. The various hands:

  • it could just be rain. In much of the world rain is not limited to specifically winter or summer, so what's the big deal if it rains after Pesach?
  • the mishna in Taanis says rain after Pesach is a siman klala. While I do not know what the "curse" is that the mishna refers to, whatever it is, it is clearly bad.
  • in a country where every drop of rain is precious, it is difficult to be upset when a little bit more additional rain comes
  • Pesach was very early this year. According to articles I read, this is the earliest Pesach (and other significant dates), falls out on the secular calendar. So even though it has been raining  3 weeks after Pesach, on the secular calendar it is still pretty early. While rain after Pesach might normally be the end of April or even May, this year it has been the beginning to middle of April. Does not seem so unusual.
  • I have heard from farmers (on the radio and in articles) that these late rains cause agricultural problems as they cause the fruit to ripen early. Also, when the rains are accompanied by cold weather, they damage the fruit with early morning frost.
So, I never really know what to think about rain after Pesach. I find Rav Chaim Kanievsky's approach interesting. 

According to Kikar, when it first rained after Pesach, the mayor of Bnei Braq Avraham Rubinstein went to Rav Chaim Kanievsky to ask a question about the rain. Rubinstein informed Rav Kanievsky that the city is building a new mikva in town, and it is lacking the requisite amount of rain water to be completed. Heading in to the summer season, that situation is unlikely to change. Rubinstein asked if it is permitted to daven for additional rain so that the mikva pits will fill up.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky responded that it is prohibited to daven for rain after Pesach, as rain after Pesach is not a siman bracha. Rav Kanievsky surprised all present when he added his personal promise - that the rains will continue until the mikva pits will be filled. 

I would have thought that Bnei Braq already has so many mikvaot already that adding another is not so important that it would supersede what the mishna considers to be a curse. Either I am wrong about that and perhaps they are desperate for another mikva in Bnei Braq, or maybe every mikva is of great importance. Either way, it seems that when there is an important need for rain, it would not be considered a klala.

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  1. It's interesting, because the Rav in the mishna in Taanis says that rain after Pesach is only a curse if it didn't rain at all before Pesach/

  2. So the rest of us should be cursed so they can get another mikvah?


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