Thoughts on Liturgy: Mashiv HaRuach u’Morid ha-Gashem

Written by Rabbi Josh Levy — 15 March 2015

This Shabbat is the first on which we include the mention of rain in our Amidah.  In the g’vurot, the second paragraph, in which we proclaim God’s power, we will say mashiv haruach u’morid hagashem – who make the wind blow and the rain fall.

Today, the weekday that has just ended, was also a first for rain in the Amidah – the first day on which we included in our petitions a request: v’tein tal u’mattar livrachah – send dew and rain as a blessing.

But why do we have these two different statements – and why two different words for rain? Why is it geshem when we are proclaiming God’s power, and mattar in our request?

In our Amidah, we recognise the dual nature of rain.
We recognise that it can be livrachah – for a blessing – or  it can be a terribly manifestation of the power of the world.

The right rain is necessary for us to eat, to live.

The wrong rain has a scary awesomeness.  It is not long ago that we saw that horrible reality in the UK.  And we are now in the season of floods, hurricanes and storms in the Northern hemisphere.

As we enter the liturgical season of rain, let’s pray that the rains of this year will be not geshem but mattar livrachah – rains for a blessing.