Judaism Eternal: Selected Essays from the Writings of Samson Raphael Hirsch - Vol. 1

By I. Grunfeld; Samson Raphael Hirsch | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER III

KISLEV

1. The prayer for rain

2. Chanukah.

"ON the 13th of Kislev we begin to insert the prayer for rain in our devotions," reads the injunction in your calendar, "he who omits this supplication has to repeat his prayers." Linger for a moment over this injunction and take it to heart; for your own welfare and that of your children, take to heart the truth which this injunction offers you.

Is it not heartrending to think that mention of this calendar injunction has to-day1 become a touchstone and a test of your worth, a "shibboleth" for determining whether you are still sound, whether your inner being, your divine inner sanctuary is still unaffected and unharmed by the poisonous delusions with which the agents of spiritual death strive to undermine the life of the human soul?

Entreat God for rain--that is the bidding of this injunction. Entreat God for rain at the season of the rain; it is God who creates the cloud for nations, unto them he gives directions regarding the rain, even though it were for one single man, one single herb in the field. ( Cf. Zechariah 10. 1.)

Behold, this is the living faith of the Jew. He is not blind to the great forces, to the mighty laws which his Master, the Master of Nature, has implanted in the work of His creation. For him the universe is a world of Divine thoughts translated into actions. "Melachah,""malach," a message, a messenger of God is to him every being, every force, every law that controls beings and forces.

It is God's charge which all of these fulfil throughout creation, most of all at the point where man, groping like a blind mole, stupidly mutters, "it is the law of nature which causes them to function." It is precisely this law of nature itself which is

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1
An allusion to the Reformers in Hirsch's days who wanted to do away with the "prayer for rain" in the Amida, as referring to the climatic condition of Palestine.

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