Last week we continued looking at the second bracha of Shemoneh Esrai and focused on G-d’s ability to resuscitate the dead and how we might apply that concept to our everyday lives. Today, we continue to analyze the second bracha and focus on a seasonal addition to the prayer. As a reminder, the second blessing states
“You are eternally mighty, my Lord, the Resuscitator of the dead are You; abundantly able to save. [He makes the wind blow and He makes the rains descend]. He sustains the living with kindness, resuscitates the dead with abundant mercy, supports the fallen, heals the sick, releases the confined, and maintains His faith to those asleep in the dust. Who is like You, O Master of mighty deeds, and who is comparable to You, O King Who causes death and restores life and makes salvation sprout! And You are faithful to resuscitate the dead. Blessed are You, Ha-Shem, Who resuscitates the dead.”
Today we will be focusing on the bolded text – “He makes the wind blow and He makes the rain descend.”
So far, everything we have analyzed up to now has been a regular part of the prayer service, recited three times a day. While this phrase is indeed a regular portion of the prayer, we only say it seasonally. We begin reciting this addition during the Mussaf prayer on Shemini Atzeres and continue to recite it until the first day of Passover. As one can see from the text above, this addition is not a request for rain but rather praise for the rain-giving powers of G-d.
Of course, it makes sense for this addition to appear in the second blessing. As we have been learning over the past few weeks, the focus of this prayer is on resuscitation and G-d’s might. Rain, which we need to sustain us, is a clear manifestation of G-d’s power and is another amazing example of resurrection, as rain is the life sustaining force that causes plants to bloom from mere seeds.
Like in our previous class, it’s not a stretch to connect this to our everyday life. As we praise G-d for the rain He provides, we also ask that He provide us with the motivation required to bloom. If we can take this message to heart, and put the necessary work in, we too can take the seed planted deep within us and cause a beautiful and fully-formed plant to sprout.