Prayers For Rain or Not?

Illustration (Image credit: Wix)

I had a call today from someone planning a prayer session for rain, which would include the local schools. The question: to go ahead or not?

Right now, it's not just people that are confused but the plants are confused. The roses are blooming and young couples are looking at each other like they're in love. It's been that kind of weather -- after a relatively cool period it's been no-jacket weather (even in Jerusalem).

However, after another warm day on Friday, a front will arrive early Shabbat morning. Temperatures should fall on blustery northwesterly winds and moisture will arrive late motzei shabbat. The storm will pass east of Cyprus and then north of us on Monday, bringing substantial (tens of mm) of rain from north to south, with rain amounts generally increasing from south central Israel to the far north.

The cool weather should last into mid-week and then temperatures should turn milder. Yet, another storm appears to be brewing for the end of the year. Right now, there seems to be no possibility of any frozen precipitation with this end-of-the-year storm, and it is not yet forecast to be as strong as the one we're expecting early next week.

So, to go ahead with the prayers for rain? What would you do?

Jerusalem forecast (click for other forecasts):

Image credit: The Jerusalem Herald

In fact, these type of existential questions also apply to where to dine out. You see, finding a restaurant to eat out is full of peril. For instance, we just completed a promotional event for our new total lightning network. We stayed at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel-Aviv for a night and had dinner at one of the in-house restaurants.

It was fine-dining with excellent service, in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere. The problem? The food was nicely presented on a big plate, decorated with fancy sauces -- but the portions were tiny. This is because the bigger the plate the smaller the amount of food served. In fact, years ago my wife felt so sorry for me she gave me part of her portion.

You can see from the picture that I was distressed -- especially after a hard day, searching for the very last rice kernel that had appeared as a pillow (not blanket) under my small chicken pieces. What to do? Do you go out to another restaurant for fillers?

The last time this happened (years ago), the manager asked us how was the food. When we said quite tasty but that the portions were too small, he said we should have asked for more. We live in a strange country!

In contrast, we also ate at a steakhouse (Tzidkiyahu) in Talpiot, Jerusalem. Here, the waiters bring a million different salads and enough food to take home, and the plates -- although large -- are not too, too large. One goes home a bit frazzled from the commotion and music, but one goes home full.

Of course, I am thankful to have any food to eat. Still, I'd like to combine a big meal with a relaxed atmosphere -- but rarely do we ever really get everything we want. The next morning, I ate a big breakfast.

Dr. Lynn is a lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Earth Sciences Department. He is also CEO of Weather It Is, LTD, a company that specializes in reducing weather risk.

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...הָרִימִי בַכֹּחַ קוֹלֵךְ מְבַשֶּׂרֶת יְרוּשָׁלִָם הָרִימִי אַל תִּירָאִי אִמְרִי לְעָרֵי יְהוּדָה הִנֵּה אֱלֹקֵיכֶם! (ישעיה  מ:ט)

...Raise your voice with strength, herald of Jerusalem; raise it, do not be afraid; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your G-d!"

(Isaiah 40:9)

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