My son brought home some pretty interesting stories from preschool. He's my first, so every new experience for him has also been a new experience for me.

Going to an Israeli preschool with born and bred Israeli teachers, outlooks, and educational techniques, was an eye opener for both of us. The staff all wore the black suits and white shirts that are the official uniform of our mostly Chassidic town, and I was a little worried that the style of learning would be formal. Boy, was I naïve. The atmosphere in the 3 year old classroom was far more like a day at Kids in Action than a yeshiva.

While studying Passover, they learned about the plagues in Egypt by hopping under and on tables and chairs pretending to be frogs. They painted the doorway of their classroom (and later their own homes, much to the surprise of their parents) red, as the Jews painted blood on their doors in Egypt. They danced, sang, sculpted, hiked, and play acted their way through 3,000 years of Jewish history.

It meant no tree climbing, no kickball, and no raiding my mother's garden But perhaps one of the biggest contrasts with my own childhood was the way they learned to look at rain. We grew up singing "rain rain go away, come again another day." Rain was our enemy. It meant no tree climbing, no kickball, and no raiding my mother's garden for the ripe strawberries she had not yet discovered. It meant, in short, no real fun for an entire day.

In yeshiva, my son learned to see rain as a blessing. They spilled water on the desks, tables, and floors and splashed around while "cleaning" the room. They danced through the spray of a hose as the summer sun made one last fierce show of strength. They watched as their teacher turned water into kool-aid and then drank up. They learned to eagerly anticipate the day when they would begin to pray for rain instead of dew (a change which takes place in our daily prayers every fall). To this day, he looks forward to rain as he does to seeing a close friend.

In Judaism, rain is considered a sign of good things to come. That's due to far more than our history in the land of Israel, where every drop truly counts and the water line of the Kinneret is monitored like a baby's progress. Tradition teaches us that rains in the proper season are a reflection that we're getting certain things right.

In this week's Torah portion, we receive one of several promises of rain. It is the beginning of a three-fold blessing that G‑d promises the Jewish People. If only we will toil in His teachings, study them, love them enough to turn them over and over again in our minds, and seek to live with them, then He will bless us with rains, geshem in Hebrew, in their proper time, with harmony, shalom, amongst all people and with the privilege of His dwelling, mishkanti, among us.

All three are blessings of peaceful coexistence - between the various aspects of nature, which work together to produce and sustain life only with the nourishing addition of water (rains) in their proper time, between the souls of people, and between creation and the Creator (manifest in His dwelling here in this physical world).

If you take the first three letters of each of those blessings – G-S-M - then you have the first word, Geshem.

We can - through our words and deeds - bring about a harmony in this world so realThe ultimate, all inclusive blessing, is when we can - through our words and deeds - bring about a harmony in this world so real, so complete, that it permeates physical reality. It is when harmony between the world and G‑d, and between man and man, is expressed in a soft, life-giving rain. This is when even the soil itself becomes included in and permeated with the blessing of harmony.

The Torah portion of this week, Behar-Bechukotai, is always read in proximity to the day of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai's passing - Lag BaOmer. This day is a day of celebration because on the day of a righteous person's passing, the essence of his teachings are revealed, and made accessible, each year anew. Lag BaOmer is the day of the revelation of the inner dimension of the Torah, Kabbalah, which was revealed by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

The essence of that inner dimension is also alluded to in the three-fold promise made by G‑d in this week's Torah portion where we find the true purpose of Kabbalah: to bridge the gap between physical and spiritual. To find a way of living with genuine respect for one another. To soar to the greatest heights in our intellectual and spiritual pursuits, and to take from them the ability to appreciate one another with all our seeming faults and differences, until the harmony and peace between us is so complete, it will nurture the ground we walk on.