Festivals, Prayer for Rain חגים, תפילת גשם

פותחים הארון:

We open the ark

ברוך אתה וכו' עד ומושיע ומגן:

Blessed are You, etc. - up to, and Savior and Shield:

אַף בְּרִי אֻתַּת שֵׁם שר מָטָר.

Af-Bri1According to Mateh Levi, the angel of rain is called Af-Bri because rain is sometimes an expression of Divine anger (af) and at other times it is a blessing which contributes to the health of mankind (Bri). is the designated name of the rain angel,

לְהַעֲבִיב וּלְהַעֲנִין לְהָרִיק וּלְהַמְטַר.

who2One task of the rain angel is to form the clouds which cause rainfall. overcasts [the sky], and makes clouds, to empty them and cause rain to fall.

מַיִם אִבִּים בָּם גֵּיא לַעֲטַר.

Water with currents with which to adorn the valley;3See Psalms 65:12.

לְבַל יוּעֲצָרוּ בְּנִשְׁיון שְׁטַר.

let it not be withheld because of [our] unpaid debts.4Others translate נִשְׁיוֹן שְׁטַר as forgotten debts. The “debts” are our sins.

אֱמוּנִים גְּנון בָּם שׁואֲלֵי מָטָר:

Let [the merit of] the faithful5There is a version that replaces אֱמוּנִים , faithful, with אֲמוּצִים , strong. Both refer to our patriarchs who were strong in their belief of God and faithful in carrying out His commands. shield those who pray for rain.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' מָגֵן אַבְרָהָם:

Blessed are You, Lord, Shield of Abraham.

אַתָּה גִבּור לְעולָם אֲדנָי. מְחַיֵּה מֵתִים אַתָּה רַב לְהושִׁיעַ:

You are mighty forever, my Master; You are the Resurrector of the dead, the Powerful One, to deliver [us].

יַטְרִיחַ לְפַלֵּג מִפֶּלֶג גֶּשֶׁם.

He will impose [upon Af-Bri] to divert rain from streams of water;

לְמוגֵג פְּנֵי נֶשִׁי בְּצַחות לֶשֶׁם.

to soften the surface of the earth with sparkling, gem-like drops.

מַיִם לְאַדְרָךְ כִּנִּיתָ בְּרֶשֶׁם.

Water [symbolizes] Your might, as You labeled it in Scripture.6See Psalms 93:4, “The mighty breakers of the sea proclaim ‘Adonoy is mighty on high.’”

לְהַרְגִיעַ בְּרַעֲפָם לִנְפוּחֵי נֶשֶׁם.

It reassures, with its drops, those in whom was blown the breath [of life],7See Genesis 2:7. The final touch of Adam’s creation is described with the words, “And [God] breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.”

לְהַחֲיות מַזְכִּירִים גְּבוּרות הַגָּשֶׁם:

to keep alive those who mention8Others translate “Those who pray for rain” referring to the Mishna, Maseches Taanis (1:1). the powers of rain.

אֱלהֵינוּ וֵאלהֵי אֲבותֵינוּ:

Our God and God of our fathers!

זְכור אָב נִמְשַׁךְ אַחֲרֶיךָ כַּמַּיִם.

Remember the patriarch who was drawn to You like water.9Abraham went every place that God commanded him.

בֵּרַכְתּו כְּעֵץ שָׁתוּל עַל פַּלְגֵי מַיִם.

You blessed him like a tree planted beside streams of water.

גְּנַנְתּו הִצַּלְתּו מֵאֵשׁ וּמִמַּיִם.

You protected him,10See Genesis 15:1, “Fear not Abram, I am your shield.” You rescued him from fire11 and from water;12This refers to the water that threatened Abraham on his way to Mt. Moriah to sacrifice Isaac. See Midrash Tanchuma to Genesis 32.

דְּרַשְׁתּו בְּזָרְעו עַל כָּל מָיִם:

You sought him out13You sought him out to show him Your love. Others translate דְּרַשְׁתּוֹ , You tested him, referring to the ten tests to which God subjected him. when he sowed beside all waters.14See Isaiah 32:20. “Fortunate are you that sows beside all waters.” Rabbi Yochonon says this verse refers to those who do righteous deeds (Maseches Baba Kama 17a). Abraham was loved by God because of his righteousness.

בַּעֲבוּרו אַל תִּמְנַע מָיִם:

For his sake, do not withhold water.

זְכור הַנּולָד בִּבְשורַת יֻקַּח נָא מְעַט מַיִם

Remember the one whose birth was foretold [when Abraham said:] “Let a little water be brought.”15See Genesis 18:4. The birth of Isaac was foretold when Abraham offered the three angels “a little water.”

וְשחְתָּ לְהורו לְשָׁחֲטו לִשְׁפּוךְ דָּמו כַּמַּיִם

You told his father to sacrifice him, to spill his blood like water.16Others interpret that Isaac told his father to go through with his sacrifice, and spill his blood like water.

זִהֵר גַּם הוּא לִשְׁפּוךְ לֵב כַּמַּיִם

He too [Isaac] was dutiful to spill his blood like water.

חָפַר וּמָצָא בְּאֵרות מָיִם.

He dug and found wells of water.17See Genesis 26:18, 19, 21, 22.

בְּצִדְקו חון חַשְׁרַת מָיִם.

In [the merit of] his righteousness grant us abundant water.

זְכור טָעַן מַקְלו וְעָבַר יַרְדֵּן מַיִם

Remember the one who, carrying his staff, crossed the Jordan's water.18See Genesis 32:11, Jacob said, “For with my staff, I passed over this Jordan.”

יִחַד לֵב וְגָל אֶבֶן מִפִּי בְאֵר מַיִם

He [Jacob] was single-hearted,19He was single-hearted and undivided in his love and trust in God. and rolled the stone off the mouth of the well of water.20See Genesis 29:10.

כְּנֶאֱבַק לו שר בָּלוּל מֵאֵשׁ וּמִמַּיִם

When he was attacked by an angel21See Genesis 32:25. comprised of fire and water,22All angels are created from fire and water.

לָכֵן הִבְטַחְתּו הֱיות עִמּו בָּאֵשׁ וּבַמָּיִם.

You promised to be with him through fire and through water.23See Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through waters, I will be with you, when you walk through fire, you will not be burned.”

בַּעֲבוּרו אַל תִּמְנַע מָיִם.

For his sake, do not withhold water.

זְכור מָשׁוּי בְּתֵיבַת גּומֶא מִן הַמַּיִם

Remember the one [Moses] who was drawn out, in a reed basket, from the water.24See Exodus 20:5.

נָמוּ דָלה דָלָה וְהִשְׁקָה צאן מַיִם

[About whom] they said, “He drew water and watered the sheep.”25See Exodus 2:19, “And they [the daughters of Jethro] said, ‘An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds and also drew water for us, and watered the sheep.’”

סְגוּלֶיךָ עֵת צָמְאוּ לְמַּיִם

When Your treasured ones, thirsted for water,

עַל הַסֶּלַע הָךְ וַיֵּצְאוּ מָיִם.

he struck the rock and water gushed out.26See Numbers 20:11.

בְּצִדְקו חון חַשְׁרַת מָיִם.

In [the merit of] his righteousness grant us abundant water.

זְכור פְּקִיד שָׁתות טובֵל חָמֵשׁ טְבִילות בַּמַּיִם

Remember the Holy Temple appointee,27Some commentaries explain the phrase זְכוֹר פָּקִיד שָׁתוֹת as referring to Aaron, the Kohein Gadol, but it is difficult to relate the rest of the verse to Aaron. This prayer refers to the Kohein Gadol, the High Priest and the word שָׁתוֹת is a synonym for the Holy Temple. See Psalms 11:3. who immersed himself five times in water.28The Kohein Gadol immersed himself five times during the Day of Atonement. Each time he changed the priestly vestments to perform a service, he immersed himself in a mikveh.

צועֶה וּמַרְחִיץ כַּפָּיו בְּקִדּוּשׁ מַיִם

He cleansed and washed his hands29His right hand was held above his right foot, the left hand above the left foot and all were washed simultaneously. to sanctify them with water.

קורֵא וּמַזֶּה טָהֳרַת מַיִם

He read,30The Mishna (Maseches Yoma 1:3) relates, “They provided him with Sages who read to him the service of the day.” According to Rashi and Bartenura, they read the portion of the Torah (Leviticus 16) dealing with the service of Yom Kippur and elaborated upon its particulars. and was sprinkled with purifying water.31According to the Mishna, (Maseches Parah 3:1), the Kohein Gadol was sprinkled with the purifying water of the Red Heifer during the days before Yom Kippur, in case he had inadvertently come in contact with the dead. The ashes of the Red Heifer, mixed with “living waters,” provided the only means of purification for one who came in contact with the dead.

רוּחַק מֵעַם פַּחַז כַּמָּיִם.

He was separated from the people32See Mishna Maseches Yoma 1:1, “Seven days before Yom Kippur they separated the Kohein Gadol from his house and he moved to the official chambers of the Kohein Gadol.” [who were described as] “turbulent as water”33See Genesis 49:4.

בַּעֲבוּרו אַל תִּמְנַע מָיִם.

For his sake, do not withhold water.

זְכור שְׁנֵים עָשר שְׁבָטִים שֶׁהֶעֱבַרְתָּ בְּגִזְרַת מַיִם

Remember the twelve tribes, whom You brought through the divided waters;34See Psalms 136:13, 14, “He Who parted the Sea of Reeds into parts—.” “He Who brought Israel through it—.”

שֶׁהִמְתַּקְתָּ לָמו מְרִירוּת מַיִם

for whom You sweetened the bitterness of water.35See Exodus 15:25, “And he (Moses) cast the tree into the waters and the waters became sweet.”

תּולְדותָם נִשְׁפַּךְ דָּמָם עָלֶיךָ כַּמַּיִם

Their descendants, their blood was spilled for Your sake like water.36See Psalms 79:3. The Jew has always been prepared to sacrifice his life to sanctify God’s Name.

תֵּפֶן כִּי נַפְשֵׁנוּ אָפְפוּ מָיִם.

Turn [to us], for our soul is engulfed [with woes] like water.

בְּצִדְקָם חון חַשְׁרַת מָיִם:

In [the merit of] their righteousness grant us abundant water.

חזן - שָׁאַתָּה הוּא ה' אֱלהֵינוּ מַשִּׁיב הָרוּחַ וּמורִיד הַגֶשֶׁם:

(Prayer leader:) For You Lord, our God, are Causer of the wind to blow and of the rain to fall

לִבְרָכָה וְלא לִקְלָלָה. אמן:

For blessing and not for curse. Amen

לְחַיִּים וְלא לַמָּוֶת. אמן:

For life and not for death. Amen

לְשובַע וְלא לְרָזון. אמן:

For plenty and not for scarcity. Amen

מכלכל חיים וכו':

Who sustains life, etc.