Leading haredi rabbi calls for fasting over drought

Leading haredi rabbi calls for public fast day over lack of rainfall in Israel. 'The Holy One is angry at us.'

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Tzvi Lev,

water flowing in Nachal Og in northern Israel
water flowing in Nachal Og in northern Israel
Eretz Hamirdafim

Rabbi Meir Mazuz, a top Sephardi-haredi authority who heads Yeshivat Kisei Rachamim, has called for announcing the traditional day of fasting and prayer to atone for sins which the Torah says can be the factor preventing Israel's direly missing rainfall.

Israel commonly receives the majority of its rainfall from November until March. Since October, Israel has barely gotten any rainfall, leading farmers to worry for their crops. In addition, meteorologists are predicting that Israel will receive substantially decreased rainfall for the fifth straight year and think that Israel will only get 47% of the rain needed for agriculture.

In his weekly class, Rabbi Mazuz instructed his students to fast and atone for their sins, pointing out that according to the Talmud, a series of fast days are to be instituted after a period at the beginning of winter when rain fails to fall properly.

"There is one thing that God controls totally-it is rain," said the rabbi. "You'll never know how much you will get. When there is no rain, it's because God is angry at the Jewish people," he alleged.

"You all have to fast," he continued. "We all have a lot of sins. Whoever can fast on Monday, should."

Israel's Chief Rabbinate had called for a public fast back in 2010 after two straight months passed without rain. "This is not the first year of drought, and the land is dry due to our many sins, and this is a troubling matter,” then-Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar wrote.

Agricultural Minister Uri Ariel has organized a prayer rally for rain at the Western Wall on Thursday which will be attended by leading Religious Zionist rabbis and public figures "We'll tear apart the heavens," wrote Ariel on Facebook.

The Torah says, that in contrast to the situation in other countries, rain in Israel is contingent upon the actions of the Jewish people. And the Talmud adds that the "key" to three things are in G-d's, not man's, possession: "Rain, childbirth and resurrection (Tractate Taanit)."








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