"Like Rain": Melody and Midrash for the Week of Hod

The 49 days of the Omer are filled with anticipation and spiritual significance. In 2021, Hadar’s Advanced Kollel and the Rising Song Institute gathered online weekly to hear new melodies and explore midrash as we count toward the gift of receiving the Torah on Shavuot.

Register to attend the final session live on May 13: hadar.org/counting-omer

Learn and sing along below as Rabbi Yosef Goldman from RSI and Yael Jaffe from Hadar work through a piece from Sifre Devarim (a halakhic midrash on the Book of Deuteronomy composed in Talmudic Israel/Babylon around 200 CE) commenting on the following verse:

יַעֲרֹ֤ף כַּמָּטָר֙ לִקְחִ֔י

תִּזַּ֥ל כַּטַּ֖ל אִמְרָתִ֑י

כִּשְׂעִירִ֣ם עֲלֵי־דֶ֔שֶׁא

וְכִרְבִיבִ֖ים עֲלֵי־עֵֽשֶׂב׃

May my teaching come down as the rain,

My word shall flow as the dew,

As winds upon the herbage,

Like showers on the grass.


כשעירים עלי דשא - כאדם שהולך ללמוד תורה תחילה: בתחילה נופלת עליו כשעיר, ואין שעיר אלא שד, שנא' (ישעיה יג) ושעירים ירקדו שם.

ד"א יערוף כמטר לקחי - היה ר' בנאה אומר: אם עשית דברי תורה לשמם - דברי תורה חיים הם לך, שנאמר (משלי ד) כי חיים הם למוצאיהם ולכל בשרו מרפא; ואם לא עשית דברי תורה לשמן - דברי תורה ממיתים אותך, שנא' יערף כמטר לקחי. ואין עריפה אלא הריגה, שנא' וערפו את העגלה בנחל, ואומר (משלי ז) כי רבים חללים הפילה ועצומים הרוגיה.

ד"א יערף כמטר לקחי - ר' דוסתאי בר' יהודה אומר: אם דברי תורה כנסת כדרך הכונסים מטר לבור - לסוף שאתה מנזל ומשקה אחרים, שנא' ונוזלים מתוך בארך, יפוצו מעייניך חוצה.

"like showers (se'irim) upon the herbage": as one who first begins to learn Torah. At first it falls upon him like a demon, viz. (Isaiah 13:21) "and se'irim will dance there."

Another idea regarding “May my teaching come down like the rain”: R. Bana'ah says: If you learn words of Torah for their own sake, they are "life" for you, as it is written (Proverbs 4:22) "For they are life to him who finds them, and to all of his flesh healing; and if not, they kill you, as it is written "My taking (i.e., Torah) ya'arof as the rain," arifah" being killing, viz. (Devarim 21:4) "And they shall break (ve'arfu) there the neck of the heifer in the river-bed." And it is written (Proverbs 7:26) "For she (Torah) has taken many lives; the number of its victims is legion."

Another idea regarding “May my teaching come down like the rain”: R. Dostai, b. R. Yehudah says: If you have gathered words of Torah in the manner of those who gather rain into a pit, in the end you will "stream" it (menazel [as in "tizal," Devarim 32:2]). As it is written (Proverbs 5:15-16) "Drink water from your pit and nozlim (liquids) from the midst of your well. Then your springs will spread outwards."

Continue counting the Omer in melody and midrash with Deborah Sacks Mintz and Yael Jaffe for the week of Yesod.