Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022

Taanis 3: An Earnest Error

On this daf, we find that rain is a great blessing that must be appreciated. Living in a country that enjoys very little rain can be very challenging. Although the rainy season of Eretz Yisroel is what determines when we say mashiv haruach and vesein tal umotor livrocha, one who is in a country that requires rain should daven for it, even if the rainy season in Eretz Yisroel is long over. Yet, this should be done solely in shomeah tefillah, since the regular prayers with which we petition for rain are for rain in Eretz Yisroel.

One resident of a country that required rain during the summer and was experiencing a drought erred in his davening. The only local shul had minyanim only on Shabbos, so during the week this man davened at home. He was so broken about the lack of rain that he figured that he should start to say mashiv haruach umorid hagoshem and vesein tal umotor livrocha. He reasoned that since the entire region required rain, why not pray for it with every possible prayer?

The next week, when he was in shul, he noticed that the chazzan did not say mashiv haruach umorid hagoshem and asked the rov why this tefillah was omitted. When the rov explained that we only recite this tefillah during the rainy season in Eretz Yisroel, he was disconcerted. “But I have been saying it and vesein tal umotor livrocha the entire week! Is it as if I have not said Shemoneh Esrei for a week?”

When this question was presented to Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, he ruled that bedieved the man had discharged his obligation with his Shemoneh Esrei: “One who said these prayers after the rainy season in Eretz Yisroel during a drought in a country where rain is desperately required need not repeat his davening” (Vayishma Moshe).

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