Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog
 Printer Friendly


The well-known axiom about the weather is that everyone talks about it but there is no one that can do anything about it. So this is an opinion article about the weather without any pretense by the writer to be able to do anything about it. We here in Jerusalem have experienced a  number of quite cold days, heavy rains and high winds recently. Of course it is winter here and these things are not especially exceptional for this time of year. Nevertheless, though we pray for rain, when it comes we hope it comes in moderation and with warm temperatures.

When it comes with cold temperatures – and the word cold is relative – with heavy torrential downpours, we certainly take notice and hope that the discomfort occasioned by such weather will soon pass. Here in Jerusalem such weather really does not last long though its effects on the citizens and the streets can linger for a while.
Rarely if ever do we in Jerusalem suffer bitter cold and/or extended periods of below freezing temperatures.  We are blessed with a temperate climate, warm summers and fairly moderate winters. We are told that this is a healthy climate, one not given to extremes, one that allows for relative comfort and outside activities all year round.
Jerusalem is especially blessed with very little relative humidity and even on very warm days the outside atmosphere is quite bearable. The same cannot be said for Tel Aviv and the coastline areas of Israel. So, it is one of the special gifts that the Lord has bestowed upon the Holy City.
This fairly benign observation about the weather here in Jerusalem certainly cannot be said about the weather that is currently enveloping most of the United States of America. There, the weather experts tell us, there is an inverted Arctic vortex – whatever in the world that means – that is causing severe cold all over the country and apparently it is staying for some time. Recently the President of the United States sarcastically remarked that he wished that Europe would send him some of their global warming to help warm up the United States.
I think that this Siberian weather mass that has settled over the United States may be another example of the extent of collusion that exists between the White House and the Kremlin. Perhaps the special counsel appointed by the Congress will eventually investigate this as well. But then again, as I often do, I digress.
Students of human nature have long maintained that weather and climate have a definite effect on mood and creative efforts of human beings. No one wants to be cold and wet for long periods of time. Nevertheless the human being is the most adaptable creature and lives in every climate, no the matter how hot, cold, wet or dry it may be. It is one of the miracles of human life that humans are so adaptable to the environment that they live in, no matter how harsh and unwelcoming.
Here in Israel we are not nearly as dependent on rainfall for our water supply as we were even a few decades ago. Israel is one of the leading developers of desalinization technology and approximately 80% of Israel’s water supply comes from the salinization plants along the Mediterranean coastline. Another 15% comes from aquifers and underground springs, as well as some recycled water. which is used mainly for agriculture. The remaining 5% of the water supply here in Israel comes from rainfall and the Kinneret.
Nevertheless, abundant rainfall is necessary to replenish both the lake and the underground sources of water. The Middle East is basically a dry climate with a good portion of the year recording no rainfall whatsoever. Therefore when the rainy season does arrive, we hope that it will be a time of plentiful rain even though this sometimes serves as a discomfort to those who inhabit this part of the world.
We have invoked special prayers for a more abundant rainfall this year and even though when it rains it really rains, this year can be judged as a rather dry one. Water is a precious commodity everywhere in the world but especially here in our area. The major struggle between Syria and Israel until the Six-Day War concerned itself with water and who would control the headwaters of the Jordan River.
Water is a negotiating chip on peace initiatives here in the Middle East. Israel supplies Jordan with a great deal of water on an annual basis as part of its obligations under the peace treaty between the two countries. So water counts in many ways here in our world.
Shabbat shalom
Berel Wein

Subscribe to our blog via email or RSS to get more posts like this one.