Thursday, March 27, 2008

Halocho #80 - Do we make a Brocho on rain?

The Mishna in Ta'anis (3:4) tells us the fascinating story of a drought in Eretz Yisroel that ended when the great Choni drew a circle on the ground, stepped into it and informed Hashem that he wouldn't leave until it would rain. He continued refining his request until it rained properly. Thereafter he was named Choni Ham'agel (Choni the circle drawer). This happened today - 20th Adar, (according to Megilas Ta'anis Ch. 12). If there would be a drought to the extent that people suffer, then when it rains enough to make puddles one needs to make a brocho. One who doesn't own a field but sees the rain says "Modim"; thank You for every drop of rain, continues with Nishmas and ends with Baruch Ata Hashem Kel Rov Hahoda'ot. (Blessed are You Hashem, Almighty, deserving of many praises.)

מודים אנחנו לך ה' אלהינו על כל טפה וטפה שהורדת לנו
ואלו פינו מלא שירה כים וכו' - כמו שהוא בברכת נשמת - עד ויקדישו וימליכו את שמך מלכנו
ברוך אתה ה' א-ל רוב ההודאות ותשבחות
If one owns a field in the drought area - even if one only heard about the rain - says the brocho of "shehechiyanu" - שהחיינו. (Blessed are You Hashem, Almighty, King of the world for keeping us alive and sustaining us to the present.) If one owns the field in partnership with another Jews, one says the brocho of "Baruch... Hatov V'Hametiv" - הטוב והמטיב. (Blessed are You Hashem, Almighty, King of the world who is good and bestows good.) Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 61:9, 10. Mishna Megila 3:4
.מגילה פרק ג' משנה ד
מעשה שאמרו לו לחוני המעגל, התפלל שיירדו גשמים אמר להם, צאו והכניסו תנורי פסחים, בשביל שלא יימוקו
התפלל, ולא ירדו גשמים
עג עוגה, ועמד בתוכה ואמר
רבונו של עולם, בניך שמו פניהם עליי, שאני כבן בית לפניך
נשבע אני בשמך הגדול שאיני זז מכאן, עד שתרחם על בניך
התחילו הגשמים מנטפים
אמר, לא כך שאלתי, אלא גשמי בורות שיחין ומערות
ירדו בזעף; אמר, לא כך שאלתי, אלא גשמי רצון, ברכה ונדבה
ירדו כתקנן, עד שעלו ישראל מירושלים להר הבית מרוב הגשמים


  1. Off topic, somebody asked me:

    Can a jewish woman donate her eggs to another woman?
    Whats the law on organ donation

    I responded:

    Donating eggs: This is a subject I haven't clarified yet. I know that in Israel all fertility programs are under Rabbinic supervision so that the eggs/sperm/test tubes don't get mixed up. Unfortunately it happens all too often that the Rabbi supervising discovers that a mistake is about to be made. Otherwise I don't know much about it, except that more has been written on this subject than nearly any other subject.

    Your question would boil down to:
    - Would the kid be Jewish if he came from a Jewish woman's eggs but born from another mother? If YES, then can a Jewish woman donate eggs to a non-Jew; since the kid will be brought up as a non-Jew.

    - Who is the kids mother? Could the kid marry the daughter of his "egg-donor-mother"?

    - Do we define "born" and "parents" by birth or at some other time in the embryo development.

    I have no idea; it's a huge area with way too many opinions.

    Organ Donations: Very tricky, as Jewish law forbids killing people, and people are considered "alive" until their heart stops beating and then they stop breathing. This could be a long time after they are brain dead.

    So removing a life sustaining organ (e.g. heart) from a brain dead person is the same is killing him.

    So why not wait until the donor stops breathing? Because then he's dead and his heart is useless for transplanting.

    Come on! Once a person is brain-dead he's going to die anyway. Then I suggest you read this article by Britain's No.1 quality newspaper website.

    Jewish law actually forbids touching a dying person - as that may hasten his death by a few moments, and every moment of life is precious.

    Donating kidneys (or similar) if you are healthy and have a 100% chance of survival is OK.

    Have a great week,

    - Danny

  2. Off topic, somebody asked

    B the way... are you a דיין that Ican ask שאלות?

    and can you please explain me the meaning of the word הגומל?


    I responded:

    I'm glad you like my Halocho a Day - feel free to invite your friends to join. :-)

    I'm no דיין nor a Rabbi and unless you ask something that's clearly mentioned in the Kitzur I wouldn't have the authority to answer you.

    הגומל literally means "to bestow kindness" or to "wean" (since the ultimate kindness is to be weaned off a dependency on others).

    But הגומל is usually used to refer to the brocho that goes:
    ברוך אתה ה' אלוקינו מלך העולם
    הגומל לחייבים טובות, שגמלני כל טוב.

    Blessed are You, Hashem, our G-d, King of the Universe,
    who bestows good things on the unworthy, and has bestowed on me every goodness.

    To which to listeners respond:

    אמן. מי שגמלך כל טוב, הוא יגמלך כל טוב סלה.

    Amen. He Who has bestowed on you every goodness, may He continue to always bestow on you every goodness.

    This הגומל brocho is said after surviving a danger (e.g. car accident), recovering from a serious illness, traveling through (or over) an ocean or desert, or being released from prison.