How could we rid ourselves of the habit of not seeing the greatness of rain?
By coming here and talking about the things we spoke about tonight (the shiur the Rav gave was about appreciating rain; see below, after the Q&A, for a short selection of ideas from the shiur). By talking about them on the street. By thinking about them when you’re sitting down to eat. Every day it rains, you should make sure to think these thoughts. You have to keep on working until it becomes part of your thought routine because complaining comes easy. By ease, all you do is follow the habits of the multitude. If you lean back and relax like it says in the taxi, you’ll fall asleep and you won’t see the scenery; you’ll miss all the great lessons of life. You have to work hard to become great.
Every time it rains you get busy talking about the rain. Now, your friends will think you for a fool. They’re gonna think you’re eccentric and after a while they’ll stop listening to you so you’ll have to talk yourself. We’re going to see you walking down Ocean Parkway, muttering to yourself. But you’ve got to realize you’re becoming a great man.
Now, when you get married you think you’re marrying an idealist, so you start telling your wife at the beginning about the rain. So for the first couple of days she’ll have to be polite and listen to you. After a while she says, “Stop, please. Stop! I heard this stuff already. You already told me last week about how we are all 80% water!” So there’s nobody to talk to. So when your wife is not around, close the door and talk to yourself about the rain and little by little, you’ll talk yourself into it and then you’ll begin to have eyes. You’ll be a man who sees the truth.
But you shouldn’t expect company in your success. When you go higher on the mountain, the air becomes more and more rare. The company is all down on the ground and as you go higher on the mountain, you have less and less company. When you get to the top, there’s no company at all. Moshe Rabbeinu got to the top; he said goodbye to Mankind. He was different from all men from then on.
It’s hard to be an idealist. You have to be different. The secret is, you have to be a little bit of a meshuganer. מוטב שיהיה שוטה כל ימיו בעיני הבריות– It’s better to be a lunatic all your life in the eyes of Mankind, ואל יהיה רשע שעה אחת לפני המקום – in order that Hakadosh Baruch Hu should approve of you. However, take that advice carefully. It’s a recipe for greatness, a prescription, but you have to know how to use it. Don’t just stam try to be a shoteh.
TAPE # R-32
A SHORT SELECTION FROM TAPE # R-32:
To understand the greatness of rain, we must go back to chemistry. Chemistry is a factual subject. It deals with mathematics. You can measure and you can weigh the materials. That’s what chemistry is. Today unfortunately, even within chemistry they introduced theories. Wherever they can put some poison, they put it in, even chemistry. But in reality, it doesn’t belong there. Chemistry is not a theoretical science. It is a mathematical science – it’s exact.
Now, chemistry tells us that the human body is composed of more than three-quarters water. Look at your neighbor; if you look at yourself you won’t believe it, but take a look at your neighbor. He’s a bag of water; he’s around 80% water. No matter what you’ll say, you can’t get away from that fact; it’s a mathematical fact. I am water and you are water.
And that water came from someplace. It came down from the clouds on a rainy day. So let’s say, you’re fourteen years old; it means that fifteen years ago, you came down in the form of rain. You didn’t come down all at once because it wouldn’t be healthy to come down all at once. If big globs of water weighing 100 pounds or 150 pounds came down at once, it would smash the vegetation; it would wreak havoc. It’s a wonderful thing that it comes down in fine drops just in the way that it’s most beneficial. But no matter in which manner it was, you came down from the clouds. No matter if you’ll smile or grin or laugh or chuckle it won’t help. You cannot wave off the fact that you came down from the clouds in the form of rain. 80% of your body is nothing but water and it had to come from someplace — and we know it comes from only one place.
So imagine we’re looking through the window now and it’s raining; rain has no color. But we know that cherries are coming down right now; red cherries and red apples; Red Delicious apples and Cortland apples and Macintosh Apples, Golden Delicious apples. Every kind of luscious fruit; pears, green pears, seckel pears; pears with a red blush on their cheeks. When it rains, it is no less than if bananas or grapefruit were coming down. They’re all coming down. Watermelons are coming down. What are watermelons? They’re delicious melons filled with water.
Everything is water and it all comes down in the form of rain. It’s actually physically coming down. It’s not a mashal. And of course cabbages and lettuce; they’re all water. And potatoes. Every imaginable fruit is coming down right now. Besides the fact that water is also coming down. Water to drink; water that becomes soda, water that gets into grapes and becomes wine, and this water turns into the tears that wash our eyes. It turns into our blood. It turns into the liquids that lubricate our joints. It turns into every part of our body. This water that comes down now will turn into us.
And therefore, גדול יום הגשמים – How great is the day when it rains. And how great a pity it is, when people have been trained from childhood to do the wrong thing. In the public school they taught them a song, “Rain, rain, go away…” I don’t know about today, but that’s how they used to teach. It was a song. It’s like the man who sticks his head out of the window when it’s raining: “Nasty day,” he says, “What a nuisance.” We are praying all winter, we’re doing our best – I hope we are; I’m afraid you’re not thinking at all – and on Shemini Atzeres, the chazzan stands up there and some even shed tears – in some places the chazan sheds tears; He’s begging for rain. So it’s like asking your friend for many days, “Please come to visit me. Please come to visit me. Please. Please. Please. Please.” Finally one night the bell rings. You stick your head out of the window and your friend is here. “Uh! Just as I was getting comfortable, he has to bother me!” What do you mean?! You asked him to come! You begged him ten times. He didn’t want to come but you bothered him so much, over and over again.
Hakadosh Baruch Hu is bothered so much by us for this great gift of rain and when it finally comes, so what do you hear from people? “Uch! It’s nasty weather today.” That’s why we have to learn from the Mohammedans. Mohammedans never criticize the weather. We have to learn from them. You don’t criticize the weather. Rain is good! It’s very good! It doesn’t mean you have to go out into the rain and get wet. Ice cream is also good, but you shouldn’t dive into a tank of ice cream. But if you’re inside the house, looking through the window, you have to give a compliment to Hakodosh Boruch Hu. “Ah! משיב הרוח ומוריד הגשם מכלכל חיים בחסד – Hashem is supplying the living with all the things they need, מכלכל comes from the word כל. It means He gives כל; He gives everything.
What does he give you? He gives you milk. Milk is water. A cow is a machine that is able to eat green grass and colorless water and turn into white milk. So milk is water and butter is water and fruits are water and soft drinks are water and beer is water. Everything is water. So that’s what it says, משיב הרוח ומוריד הגשם – He brings down the rain, מכלכל חיים בחסד – and He supplies everything to those who are alive. And He does it with chesed; not just He pours down rain. If Hakodosh Boruch Hu would open up the sky and let the rain come down in one torrent, it would smash the houses. It would squash people. Instead He does it b’chesed. It comes down in fine drops. It does no harm; and it’s b’chesed because all good things come from it.
And so it doesn’t make sense. Every day we praise Him for rain, משיב הרוח and then when the rain comes, we forget to be grateful? So that’s our job tonight. Tonight we’re studying that; at least once in our history, once in our lives, there’s one place in Brooklyn, maybe one place in the whole America, maybe in the whole world; it’s the one place where people are sitting like philosophers and they are studying the chasdei Hashem; they’re studying rain and it’s little details. At least once in history, Hakodosh Boruch Hu should see we appreciate it a little bit.