The Prayer for Dew

A spiritual connection to the season in the land of Israel

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Some liberal congregations may vary slightly from the description in this article. In a number of congregations both rabbi and cantor wear a white robe for the services. In the Reform prayer book, only the last paragraph of this prayer for dew is included and is recited as part of the regular morning service. Excerpted with permission from Every Person’s Guide to Passover (Jason Aronson, Inc).

Israel's rainy season formally ends on Passover. The forthcoming dry season is long and hot, but it is lessened by breezes that come in from the Mediterranean Sea and bring dew at night. This bit of moisture is very important, and so Jews say this prayer, wherever they are. Because dew appears at night and helps plants to grow though there is no rain, it is a symbol of revival, and thus the prayer for dew also speaks of the hopes for a fully rebuilt Jerusalem and Land of Israel. grass with dew

The special prayer for dew ("tefillat tal") injects into the festive mood of the Passover liturgy a mood of solemnity, normally associated with a period of judgment. Passover, according to the Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 16a), is the time when God blesses the crops. In keeping with the spirit, it is customary for the Cantor to don a white robe for the Musaf Additional Service of the First Day of Passover.

Here are some excerpts from the Prayer for Dew:

"Give us dew to favor Your land, grant us a blessing of Your joy. Make us strong with plentiful grain and wine. Restore Jerusalem, Your delight, as flowers are renewed by dew. Let this be a good year for dew, crowned with proud and beautiful fruit. May the city of Jerusalem, once empty, be turned into a crown that sparkles like the dew.

"May dew fall upon the blessed land. Fill us with heaven's finest blessings. May a light come out of the darkness to draw Israel to You as a root finds water from dew.

"May You bless our food with dew. May we enjoy plenty with nothing lacking. Grant the wish of the people that followed You through the desert like sheep--with dew.

"You are Adonai our God, who causes the wind to blow and the dew to fall.

For blessing and not for curse. Amen.

For life and not for death. Amen.

For plenty and not for lack. Amen.

Rabbi Ronald H. Isaacs

Rabbi Ronald H. Isaacs is the spiritual leader of Temple Sholom in Bridgewater, New Jersey. He has served as the publications committee chairperson of the Rabbinical Assembly.