The Story Behind “Come, Rain” by Alden Solovy

Feb 21, 2017 by

The Story Behind “Come, Rain” by Alden Solovy

“Come, Rain” is not only a prayer for rain, it’s a metaphor for the blessings of love. Love waters our lives, our hopes, and our dreams.

It was a sleepless night. Cold. Blustery. I tossed and turned in a one-man tent at a campground overlooking the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee.

The rain came in waves, one storm following another with brief periods of calm. Between the storms, the jackals howled in the distance. Then the wind would rise and the rain would begin again.

In Israel, rain is considered a blessing, a tangible sign of God’s love and dedication to the covenant with the Jewish people. “If, indeed, you obey My commandments … I will grant rain for your land in season, the early rain and the late …” (Deut. 11, translation from Mishkan Hanefesh, Yom Kippur, p. 34). When the rains come, surely blessings will follow.

This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day

That night, unable to sleep, I put on my headlamp, sat up in my tent and took out the small black moleskin notebook I use for writing new psalms, meditations, and prayers. As yet another wave of rain blew over the campground, I began to write, welcoming the blessings of rain. I imagined myself as the ground – parched and barren – yearning for blessings. The rain would water the dry land. The rain would also water my aching heart.

It was a hard night. On one hand, I was off hiking and camping with dear friends. It was the second night of a charity hike supporting Tsad Kadima, a wonderful organization that provides education and other services for kids and adults with cerebral palsy. I was with my closest companions in Israel. On the other hand, I was feeling particularly lonely and distant from my family and other dear ones back in the States. I have an amazing life here. At the same time, I’m a world away from my daughters.

“Come, Rain” is not only a prayer for rain, it’s a metaphor for the blessings of love. Love waters our lives, our hopes, and our dreams.

The rain was relentless that night. I wrote “Come, Rain” in one draft. Like the rain itself, this prayer simply poured out. It’s one of two prayers for rain that appear in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. The other prayer, “For Rain,” is simpler, both in language choice and in message.

“Come, Rain” and “For Rain” can be used as meditations on changing seasons, either in personal prayer or communal worship. Several other seasonal prayers are also included in This Grateful Heart: one for each of the four seasons, as well as a “Harvest Prayer.”

Watch Alden Solovy recite “Come Rain” in Jerusalem. 

Alden Solovy is a liturgist, author, journalist, and teacher. He has written more than 600 pieces of new liturgy, offering a fresh new Jewish voice, challenging the boundaries between poetry, meditation, personal growth, and prayer. His writing was transformed by multiple tragedies, marked in 2009 by the sudden death of his wife from catastrophic brain injury. Solovy’s teaching spans from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem to Limmud, UK, and synagogues throughout the U.S. The Jerusalem Post called his writing “soulful, meticulously crafted.” Huffington Post Religion said “…the prayers reflect age-old yearnings in modern-day situations.” Solovy is a three-time winner of the Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism. He made aliyah to Israel in 2012, where he hikes, writes, teaches, and learns. His work has appeared in Mishkan R’Fuah: Where Healing Resides (CCAR Press, 2012), L’chol Z’man v’Eit: For Sacred Moments (CCAR Press, 2015), Mishkan HaNefesh: Machzor for the Days of Awe (CCAR Press, 2015), and Gates of Shabbat, Revised Edition (CCAR Press, 2016). He is the author of This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day, to be published by CCAR Press in 2017.

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