“I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.” (Leviticus 26:4)
Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau has called for a day of prayer for rain on this week’s upcoming Fast of Esther (Ta’anit Esther).
The Fast of Esther commemorates the fast proclaimed by Esther, as she prepared to present herself to the king in ancient Persia to plead for the lives of the Jewish People. (Esther 4:16)
This day is seen as the traditional time to bring petitions to the Lord. (Arutz 7)
Lau made the announcement during a meeting with the Chairman of the Agricultural Caucus in the Knesset (parliament), MK Zevulun Kalfa, at which time they discussed the drought and the Shemita (agricultural Sabbath).
“The Master of the World teaches us that the rain is ‘ours’ because it depends on the Jewish people and their prayers,” said Lau.
The prayer rally for rain will be held on March 13 at the Western (Wailing) Wall and will end with Mincha (Afternoon Prayer).
Israel’s drought has experts concerned, some saying that it is the worst since 1927.
Last month, in fact, the Water Authority announced that the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) had dropped by four centimeters (about 1.5 inches) since the beginning of the rainy season. By this time last year, the Kinneret had risen 1.97 meters (6.5 feet). (Arutz 7)
“Such low supply during this period has never before been documented and is unprecedented in Water Authority records. The negative records broken in February are much more dramatic and significant than those of January,” a Water Authority statement read.
As the Dead Sea continues to shrink, Israel watches its water needs carefully, being a country that is 60 percent desert.
Rather than rely entirely on traditional water sources, such as freshwater lakes and rainfall, Israel desalinates water and uses treated sewage water for agriculture. Israel has also developed software for detecting leaks and computerized its drip irrigation systems to more efficiently use its dwindling resources. (Bloomberg)
Noting the inflationary costs brought on by drought, member of parliament Zevulun Kalfa said, “Terrible drought isn’t a problem just for farmers. Regretfully we will all feel it, primarily in our wallets as fruit, vegetable and water prices may rise.”