THE JEWISH PRAYER FOR RAIN IN BABYLONIA BY ARNOLD A. LASKER Margate, Florida AND DANIEL J. LASKER Beer-Sheva With the development of Jewish law during the rabbinic period, different customs emerged in the Land of Israel and in Babylonia. One such divergence was in the prayer for rain, i.e. the insertion of the phrase ve-ten tal u-matar li-verakhah (grant dew and rain for a blessing) into the Shemoneh 'Esreh. The practice in the Land of Israel was to begin the recitation of this prayer usually in early October, setting the date in accordance with the Jewish lunisolar calendar. The Babylonian custom was to start praying for rain in late November on a date fixed in the solar calendar. Our purpose here is to analyze the reasons for the development of these two separate practices. I Mishnah Ta`anit 1:3 tells of a dispute between an anonymous tanna and Rabban Gamaliel') concerning when the saying of the prayer for rain should start. The former gives the third of Marheshvan as the proper date, while the latter says, "On the seventh of that month, fifteen days after the feast [of Sukkot], so that even the tardiest Israelite may reach the Euphrates
Journal for the Study of Judaism – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1984
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