Prayers for rain offered up by thousands of Jews at the Western Wall on Thursday had an effect as desperately needed rain fell, raising the level of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) one centimeter.
Israel has suffered five dry years in a row, causing the worst drought in 40 years. The country has received just 45 percent of its multiyear average rainfall for September through November, and with only two light rainfalls in December.
This dire situation has led to emergency measures, both spiritual and physical. At the behest of Chief Rabbi David Lau three weeks ago, Jews and Christians around the world began adding special prayers for rain.
Last Thursday, thousands answered Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel’s call for a special prayer session at the Western Wall.
“I call on the public to participate in this event on the 10th of Tevet,” Ariel said when announcing the event earlier this week, “and to bring umbrellas because together we will tear open the gates of Heaven.”
The prayers were led by the chief rabbis of Israel, Rabbi David Lau and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, along with other prominent rabbis.
The prayers were answered quickly. Israel’s Water Authority announced on Monday morning that approximately one inch of rain fell overnight in Israel’s Golan and Upper Galilee regions.
As a result of the blessing, the Kinneret’s water level rose .4 inches, bringing it to four and a half feet from the lower red line and eighteen feet from the lake’s maximum capacity.
Approximately six inches of snow gathered on Mount Hermon’s upper slopes, and three inches fell on the mountain’s lower slopes.