Over the weekend, Israel was soaked with precipitation across the country, with heavy snow in the north and non-stop rain in many central and southern areas.
While the winter weather conditions did inconvenience many in Israel, the precipitation is being hailed as a divine blessing on the land. The Sea of Galilee, Israel’s main water reservoir, rose four precious centimeters over the weekend, though Israel’s Water Authority reported it still remains 4.2 meters below full capacity.
Heavy snow on Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights blanketed the mountainous region in 60 centimeters of snow. The Hermon ski resort was forced to close due to the extreme weather but is expected to open later this week.
The snow in Israel’s north is a storehouse of water that, in the spring, will work its way down to the Sea of Galilee, helping to fill the national water reservoir.
Rain, seen by some as a meteorological phenomenon with no spiritual significance, is an essential part of Jewish prayer throughout the year. Weather is often seen as the natural aspect of God (Elohim) displaying displeasure or approval of man’s actions.
The weather in Israel has certainly been exceptional this year, leading many to speculate on the divine message hidden in meteorological reports. Since the High Holidays, Jews have been praying for rain in Israel and despite unusually cold winter weather, it has not been accompanied by the usual precipitation the arid region so desperately needs.
The capital city, Jerusalem, was drenched with 85 millimeters of precipitation, but the cold weather was not quite enough to turn that into snow. Coastal Tel Aviv received a meager 37 millimeters of rain, and Kiryat Gat, 50 kilometers south, was soaked with 85 millimeters. Be’er Sheva, the metropolitan center of the Negev desert, received just 27 millimeters of rain.
Temperatures are expected to rise over the next few days, accompanied by strong winds, but the blessed rains are expected to continue in northern and central Israel.