Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Do the Dew

For a few more weeks we will be able to include the brief but powerful phrase of morid ha'tal([God]cause the dew to fall) in the the Amidah (silent devotion). These two words are inserted in each of the daily Amidot, during the summer season in Israel, beginning during Peach and continuing through Sukkot. In siddurim (prayerbooks) intended for Israelis the words morid ha'tal are often printed. In siddurim for duel use you might find "In Israel Say: Morid Ha'tal." While siddurim for American daveners omit the phrase entirely.

Why mention this today? Early this morning, I walked through the small patch of grass behind my apartment, my feet were almost immediately soaked.I reached down, ran my fingers through the grass, and found my hand almost dripping with clear, clean water. Nobody waters the grass, the dew provides the sustenance.

I have long been troubled by the mentioning of dew while residing in the United States because of the fact that I do not need dew for survival. I decided that this was the year I would try saying morid ha'tal throughout the summer, even when I was in the United States. At the start it felt very strange, especially on days of pouring rain in New York. Summer wore on, and the weather in Washington, D.C. grew hotter, the dew began to feel like a more natural inclusion, despite my geographical location. Once in Israel, I felt more comfortable because at least I was in the area where the two words are intended to be uttered. It was, however, not until this morning, that I fully appreciated the necessity of dew for sustenance.

After this experience, I will continue to say morid ha'tal in future years. I hope that in the time of Rosh Hashana preparation, that you have space to include these short but incredibly important words in your t'fillot, regardless of location.

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