Throughout the world, and perhaps especially in Israel, rain is extraordinarily important and not to be taken for granted. Every year, Jews throughout the world pray for rain, adding the words mashiv haruach u’morid hageshem, “He causes the wind to blow and the rain to fall,” to our daily prayers from Shemini Atzeret until the first day of Passover, when we substitute the words morid hatal, “He causes the dew to descend.”

BecauseBecause it can be dangerous, we ask for rain of blessing rain can also be dangerous, we ask that it be rain of blessing: “For You are G‑d Who causes the wind to blow and the rain to fall ... for blessing, and not for a curse. Amen. For life, and not for death. Amen.”

This true story that happened recently reflects the significance of this prayer.

A wedding was set to take place in Israel and, like all weddings, it was carefully planned and scheduled. The reception was called for 6 p.m., the chuppah for 6:30 p.m., and the family members of the bride and groom—many of whom were not from the same city—were asked to be at the hall by 5 p.m. for photos. Nevertheless, “There are many thoughts in a person’s heart, but G‑d’s plan—that shall stand.”1 And so it was.

As all the family members were preparing to come to the wedding hall, raindrops started to fall. And then more and more fell until the sky was dark gray, and the rain was coming down in torrents!

A heavy downpour also slows traffic, which meant family members were arriving at the hall later than planned. And so, the wedding portraits were put on hold while they waited for everyone to arrive.

But the rain kept pouring, it was getting later and later, and key people were still missing. The reception had to start on time since guests were arriving, and before long, it would be time for the chuppah.

Eventually, all the family members arrived—wet and stressed. By the time they had all dried themselves and were ready to join the wedding party, there was no time for the family photos, which would now have to be taken afterwards.

Despite the delays, the chuppah was holy and beautiful, and the wedding proceeded as festive as ever. The food was delicious, and the music and dancing were joyous and lively.

The wedding ended late, and only then could the families of the bride and groom begin the photography session that should have happened hours earlier. They all posed patiently, smiles of happiness evident and genuine, while simultaneously checking their watches because by that time, everyone was tired and wanted to go home.

Finally, the pictures were over, and the families wished each other final mazal tovs and went their separate ways.

Driving towards their hometown, one of the families had to pass a security check. As they stopped, the driver’s wife, Sara, noticed a car stopped at the side of the road with its blinkers on. Though she had never done so before, and was exhausted from the festivities, Sara asked the security guards why the car was parked there.

He told her that a woman in the car had to give birth earlier than expected—meaning now!—and they were waiting for an ambulance to arrive. Sara, who just happens to be a professional midwife, quickly ran to the vehicle.

She opened the door and saw a terrible sight. A woman was crying hysterically beside her lifeless baby. Knowing she couldn’t afford to lose a moment, she attempted to resuscitate the infant. She pressed her fingers into the baby’s chest, then quickly and rhythmically, breathed into the baby’s mouth, and repeated this process again and again. She did everything exactly as she had learned, but nothing worked.

Though it seemed helpless, Sara continued to try to bring the baby back to life, and she begged G‑d to help her. Suddenly, she remembered a complication that sometimes occurs at birth. If a baby swallows amniotic fluid that has meconium in it, this can causeThough it seemed helpless, Sara continued to try to revive the baby respiratory distress in which case the newborn needs resuscitation. Though it seemed too late for that—and she had no equipment with her—Sara decided to try whatever she could to save this child’s life. She put her open mouth over the baby’s nose and mouth, and suctioned air from the baby as deeply and thoroughly as she could. She did this again and again until finally something came out of the baby into Sara’s mouth and she spat it out, and then quickly suctioned again and again.

Sara continued doing this over and over, and suddenly saw that the baby’s hand moved. Soon after that, she heard the most beautiful cry in the world—that of the baby whose life she had just saved! The baby she was able to save because she was there at exactly the right moment, because she was late for the wedding, because of the rain that caused the pictures to be taken much later than planned.

Yes, the One who makes it rain and determines when it will rain, and how hard and for how long, made it rain that day and evening, bringing down gishmai bracha, “rain of blessing ... rain for life.”

(This true story was heard recently from Rabbi Yitzchak Fanger. Names have been changed.)