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What is "V'ten Tal Umatar Livracha"?

by Rabbi Zalman Abraham

  

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And bestow dew and rain for blessing

This formal request for rain is inserted in the 9th blessing of the daily Amidah during the months that Israel is most in need of rain. In Israel this request is inserted commencing Cheshvan 7, following the opinion of Rabban Gamliel in the Mishnah1 "fifteen days after the festival [of Sukkot] so that the last Jew [returning home from the festival] could reach the River Euphrates". In the Diaspora, this request is not added until December 4th2 , following the opinion of Chananiah in the Talmud3 "In the Diaspora [we do not begin to pray] until the sixtieth day after the [Tishrei] cycle". We do not insert this request at the beginning of the rain season (Shmini Atzeret), because the need for rain is not yet urgent enough to officially request it.

 See also What is the "Geshem" prayer?

Footnotes

  • 1. Ta'anith 1:3.
  • 2. December 5th in Gregorian leap years.
  • 3. Ta'anith 10b.

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Mitzvot » Prayer » Laws and Customs

Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Sukkot
A seven day autumn festival commemorating the miracle of the Heavenly Clouds which enveloped the Jews while traveling in the desert for forty years. On this holiday we dwell in makeshift booths and shake the Four Species.
Tishrei
The seventh month of the Jewish calendar. This month, which arrives in early autumn, has more holidays than any other month: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah.
Amidah
Highlight of every prayer, recited silently while standing. Weekday Amidah consists of nineteen blessings, Sabbath and holiday Amidah contains seven blessings.
Shmini Atzeret
A joyous one-day autumn festival immediately following the holiday of Sukkot. Outside Israel this holiday is celebrated for two days, the second day is known as Simchat Torah.
Cheshvan
The eighth month of the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to October-November.
Mishnah
First written rendition of the Oral Law which G-d spoke to Moses. Rabbi Judah the Prince compiled the Mishna in the 2nd century lest the Oral law be forgotten due to the hardships of the Jewish exiles.