Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

24 Cheshvan 5760 - November 3, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
Mashiv Horuach
by A. Ross

Still no rain. Not enough rain. Everybody was talking about rain. Elisheva's father, who grew sunflowers, declared that at this rate, by the end of the month, his whole crop would be ruined. Not enough rain.

The four children were sitting on Elisheva Reiner's porch one Shabbos afternoon when, suddenly, Miriam declared, "I can bounce a ball five hundred times without stopping."

Not to be outdone, nine-year-old Shmuly declared, "I can stand on my head for five whole minutes without falling."

Seven-year-old Shira announced, "Well, I can turn round and round one hundred times without falling over."

Elisheva thought feverishly. What was she good at? Nothing. Nothing at all to impress her friend and two younger siblings. "I can make it rain," she blurted out. The other three were silent for a moment. "You can't!" shouted her friend and Shmuly, her brother who was only one year younger, simultaneously, "You know you can't."

"Yes I can!" insisted Elisheva. What was the matter with her? It was as if her tongue had a mind of its own.

"Well, prove it!" taunted Shmuli. "We could use some more rain. How do you make it rain?"

"If you daven for something hard enough and long enough, just for that one thing, Hashem makes it happen." Once again, the others were silent for a moment until Elisheva continued. "Two weeks ago, I was left in charge in the evening while Abba and Ima went out. All the children were in bed, even you, Shmuli, and I was a bit scared. So I davened really hard and they came home!"

"Ha! They would have come home, anyway," replied Miriam.

"No, but this was different," said Elisheva. "Their meeting was canceled for some reason and they came home at once."

"That was just a coincidence," argued her friend.

"When I knew that Ima was getting a baby, I davened that it should be a boy, and two weeks later it was a boy."

"It was going to be a boy, anyway. It takes nine months for a baby to come, not two weeks."

"All right, then, here's something else. For a whole year I wanted a particular kind of new schoolbag and Ima said mine was still perfectly good. Then she bought it for my birthday, anyway. You saw it, Miriam."

"So what? Ima knew you wanted it and she wanted to make you happy. I heard her talking about it to Abba," interrupted Shmuli.

"But the whole point is that I davened for it every day and then I got it," said Elisheva decisively.

"All right," decided Miriam. "We'll give you a week. If you can make it rain within seven days, then you are telling the truth. But we all know that only Hashem Himself can make it rain."

"Of course. But our prayers can make Him want to make it rain!" retorted Elisheva, getting her last word in before Miriam went home.


The next day at school, Miriam told all the girls that Elisheva thought she was a magician. She had said she could make it rain. Elisheva was dismayed. Why had she said it?

That night before she went to bed, she asked her mother, "Ima, isn't it true that when someone davens hard enough, Hashem listens?"

"Yes, of course, He listens to us, Ellie. He always listens to us. But we don't always get the answer we think we will get. And what we ask for is not always what is best for us, anyway."

Elisheva went to sleep. The next morning, she scrutinized the sky. Never before had she noticed how very blue it was. Visitors from chutz l'aretz always said the sky was bluer in Eretz Yisroel. There was not a cloud in sight. Actually, a beautiful blue. But at this moment, Elisheva wished for a grey sky.

At school, she davened as she had never before. And the next day. And the day after that. In fact, her teacher called her and praised her for her total concentration. But still no rain. And the country needed rain. And Elisheva had said she could bring the rain.

"Well, Elisheva," called one of her classmates on the fourth day. "How are the magic spells?"

"Any progress? You only have another three days left." Elisheva hung her head. There was nothing she could say.

Then it was Thursday. Followed by Friday. It was cold, but the sky remained a deep blue. Elisheva decided that she was not going to go to school on Sunday. She couldn't face the jeers. Nor even the sympathy of her true friends.

Friday night after dinner, Elisheva went straight to bed. She covered her head with the quilt and sobbed. Silently, she mouthed, "Mashiv horuach umorid hagoshem" over and over again.

About two hours later, she was awoken by a loud clap of thunder. She sat up straight in bed. There it was again. And then she heard it, the unmistakable sound of water pouring down from the heavens. Without stopping to think, she jumped out of bed and knocked at her parents' bedroom door. "Who is it?" called Abba.

"It's raining!" Elisheva almost shouted the words. Abba came to the door. "Does the thunder frighten you, sweetie?" No, but Abba, it's raining!"

"Yes, I can hear it. And perhaps you were right to wake us up with such important news. We can wash our hands and say a brocha over the lightning and thunder. But then you must go back to sleep."

On Sunday morning, when it was still raining, some of the girls looked at Elisheva with a new kind of respect. As for Elisheva, herself, she davened with great concentration that morning, too. She davened with gratitude to Hashem for the rain, and for having saved her face. And she decided that boasting was just not her line...


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