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The Prayer For Rain

The Prayer For Rain

The Prayer for Rain consists essentially of two beautiful and moving prayer-poems, composed by the famous paytan, Rabbi Elazar ha Kallir, who lived about 1300 years ago.
The first of these begins with the word Af Bri, which is the name of the angel of rain:

Af Bri is the title of the prince of rain,
Who gathers the clouds and makes them drain,
Water to adorn with verdure each dale,
Be it not held back by debts left stale,
O’ shield the faithful who pray for rain...

May He send rain from the heavenly towers,
To soften the earth with its crystal showers,
You have named water the symbol of Your might,
All that breathe life in its drops to delight,
O' revive those who praise Your powers of rain…


The second part of the Prayer for Rain consists of a poem beginning with the words zechor av, Remember our father Abraham. It is an alphabetical acrostic, each line beginning with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet (excluding the word "Remember" at the beginning of each stanza), and finishing with the word mayim -- Water. It refers to the good deeds of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Aaron, and lastly the twelve tribes, and the miracles that were shown to them in connection with water. In their merits, and for their sakes, we pray to G-d for rain:

Our G-d and G-d of our fathers,
Remember our father Abraham who was drawn after You like water,
Whom You did bless like a tree planted near streams of water,
You did shield him, You did save him from fire and water,
You did try him when he sowed by all streams of water,
For his sake, do not refuse water.

Remember Isaac whose birth was foretold over a little water,
You did tell his father to offer his blood like water,
He too was heedful in pouring out his heart like water,
Digging in the ground he discovered wells of water.
For his righteousness' sake, grant abundant water.

Remember Jacob who, staff in band, crossed the Jordan's water,
His heart attuned to You, be rolled the stone off the well of water,
When he wrestled with the angel of fire and water,
You did promise to be with him through fire and water.
For his sake, do not refuse water.

Remember Moses in an ark of reeds drawn out of the water,
They said: He drew water and provided the flock with water,
And when Thy chosen people thirsted for water,
He struck the rock and there gushed out water,
For his righteousness' sake, grant abundant water.

Remember the High Priest who bathed five times in water,
He bent and washed his bands with sanctified water,
He read from the Scriptures and sprinkled Purifying water,
He kept a distance from a people turbulent as water,
For his sake, do not refuse water.

Remember the twelve tribes You did bring across the water,
You did sweeten for them the bitterness of water,
For Your sake their descendants spilt their blood like water
Turn to us, for our life is encircled by foes like water.
For their righteousness' sake, grant abundant water.

For You are G-d, who causes the wind to blow and the rain to fall.
For a blessing, and not for a curse -Amen!
For life, and not for death -Amen!
For plenty, and not for scarcity --Amen!

Excerpted from The Complete Story of Tishrei, published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society, Brooklyn NY
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