After thousands of Jews prayed for rain at the Western Wall in late December, 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 received only 45 percent of its multiyear average rainfall for September through November, and only two light rainfalls in December. The dire situation led to emergency measures, both spiritual and physical. At the behest of Chief Rabbi David Lau, Jews and Christians around the world began adding special prayers for rain. 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. And he said, “Bring umbrellas because together we will tear open the gates of heaven.” Those leading the prayers included the chief rabbis of Israel—Rabbi David Lau and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef—and other prominent rabbis. God answered those prayers quickly. Israel’s Water Authority announced a few days later that approximately one inch of rain fell overnight in Israel’s Golan and Upper Galilee regions. The Kinneret’s water level rose .4 inches, bringing it to four and a half feet from the lower red line and 18 feet from the lake’s maximum capacity. In addition, approximately six inches of snow gathered on Mount Hermon’s upper slopes, and three inches fell on the mountain’s lower slopes. —Adapted from Breaking Israel News .
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