Saturday, October 2, 2010

Motzei Shabbos Post - The Second Half of the Dew & Rain Post

As I indicated in my Hoshana Rabbah post, one of the best shiurim I heard this summer from Rabbi Eli Mansour (available for free download on the website) was entitled "Dew and Rain." Due to time considerations on erev YT, I was unable to complete the post, but as promised, I have completed the summary of the shiur here. As always, any inconsistencies are my fault and should not be attributed to R' Mansour.

There is a big difference between rain and dew. Rain begins as moisture which evaporates from the earth and enters the clouds before coming back down. To bring this scientific concept in line with the Zohar concept from the first half of the post, rain is caused by an action on earth which goes up to the heavens and then Hashem sends the rain down as a blessing to us.

Dew is something which comes from Heaven without an initiating cause from earth. Hashem will give a person a motivating force which causes to act, whether or not we even are aware of it. We may see an event which motivates us, or we might be presented with an opportunity out of the blue to do a great mitzva.

Another difference between rain and dew is that rain can stop. There can be droughts or sustained periods without rain. Dew is a constant, as regardless of the season dew will be on the ground in the morning. Hashem's message to us is that there may be times that we do not do the right thing and as a result there won't be rain on a regular basis. However, there will always be dew as Hashem's gift to us.

R' Mansour then noted that rain can fall by day or night. Dew only comes at night. This is seen in the Torah (u'beredet hatal laila). The message behind this is that the rain comes during the day when the Jews are acting properly and living in their land. The dew comes at night when we are in exile and feel uncomfortable with where we are - this is laila. Still Hashem tells us, there will be dew at night, I will find a way to motivate you to return, I have not left you and am in exile with you.

R' Mansour then made reference to the z'man of techiyat hameitim. One of the 13 principles that we believe in is that there will be a resurrection of the dead. We believe so firmly in this that we say a blessing three (or four) times a day where we invoke Hashem's name as the resurrector of the dead.

R' Mansour then asked, how will the dead be brought back? He answered that Hashem will send the dew to resurrect the dead. It is for this reason that we say "morid hatal" in the bracha of techiyat hameitim. Why will dew be the mechanism? Because once a person passes away, he can no longer do mitzvot. While a live person can do good deeds to invoke help from Heaven, the dead man lies and awaits the blessing from Hashem.

The period of Elul and the yomim noraim are Hashem's present to allow us to return from the state of being spiritually dead, to answer his knock on the door. The time frame from Rosh Chodesh Elul to Yom Kippur is 39 days, the gematria of dew. We can use the time to stitch ourselves back to Hashem and accept his gift of opportunities to return to him.

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