Beit Midrash

  • Family and Society
  • Rain in Israel
To dedicate this lesson

The Torah study is dedicated in the memory of

Rabbi Uzi Kalcheim, zt”l

A Shared Blessing

In God’s world, wisdom and science, practical resourcefulness and technological knowledge do not necessarily thrive in regions rich in natural resources. This forces human beings and the various countries to be dependent and bound to one another.


Rabbi Uzi Kalchaim zt"l

Kislev 5768
In our previous discussion, we mentioned the four reasons given by the sages for the fact that God "changed His mind" about irrigating the earth exclusively through the rivers of the Garden of Eden. Scripture teaches, "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted into four heads" (Genesis 2:10), but God "decided" to irrigate the earth through rain as well: "No shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground." (ibid. 2:5).
One reason for this was so that "lawless men" not take control of the earth's water sources, saying, "The water is ours" (see ibid. 26:20). Another reason given was so that the water not gather in the low lands, irrigating the planes alone and leaving the high places dry. One way or another, God's rationale for irrigating "from above" was the desire for just distribution of God's blessing to all creatures and to all places of settlement, high and low alike.
Bearing these considerations in mind, why is it that we find places on earth that are completely dry, like deserts? And why are nature's resources located in a number of specific places on earth? Why are they not available to all?
There are many such questions, yet man is not always able to grasp the ways of God, for just as His creatures are different from one another, so are the various lands and climates. At any rate, there is a fundamental principal that we should keep in mind in this regard. In the words of Rabbi A.I. Kook (Orot Yisrael 5:2):
"The Almighty acted with great benevolence by not putting all of the desirable qualities in one place, one person, one nation, one land, one generation, or one world, but rather spreading the out, so that the need for consummation, the most ideal force there is, act as the factor causing things to be drawn to lofty unity, "And on that day, God will be One and His name will be One.' "
This principal teaches us about the interdependence that exists in creation. We do not find everything concentrated in one place alone. In one region there is oil, in another iron and copper; in one region there are trees and coal, and in another gold and diamonds; one region abounds in grains and fruits, and another in rice and coffee, etc.
In addition, wisdom and science, practical resourcefulness and the application of technological knowledge do not dwell specifically in regions rich in natural resources. This matter forces human beings and the various countries to be dependent and bound to one another. It is what creates the foundation for the unity of mankind, and it is how mutual reconciliation is achieved between one part of the planet and another.
The knowledge gathered and developed in a particular cultural region flows to weaker regions. Harmony is thus fostered all over the world in the same way that mutual reconciliation exists in the individual, between the various bodily organs. In this manner, we advance towards the general harmony of humanity, between all nations and all families on earth. Everything must be drawn after the final aim, the ideal of unity and peace, so that all merit God’s bountiful goodness and blessing.
From here there remains just one more step to the ideal: "All the world’s inhabitants will recognize and know that to you every knee should bend, every tongue should swear" (Alenu Prayer), so that we all merit reaching the age wherein "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9).
The last reason we mentioned for the earth being dependent upon rain was "that all might lift their eyes heavenwards." This is meant to remind us of the final objective of the entire creation - to recognize the source of the blessing and to what it aspires.
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