This past Shabbat JCB met at Remson Beach in Bayville. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate and we concluded our prayers while running to escape the torrential rains. Nonetheless the clouds provided us with a majestic tapestry. The most splendid of all sites appeared in the cloud filled heavens--rainbows. We recited the tradition's blessing for a rainbow: "Blessed are You Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, who remembers the covenant, is faithful to His covenant, and fullfills His word." Unlike the other blessings for nature that praise God's creative powers--for making the great sea, for creating beautiful trees, for giving pleasant fragrance to fruits.... this blessing sees instead of the beauty and majesty of nature a sign of the promise made to Noah after the Flood. The rainbow is not about the colors painted across the sky but the promise God made to all of humanity: the world will continue forever, the world will never be destroyed. The rainbow stands against the darkest moments of history. My teacher, Annie, a Holocaust survivor, arrived after the group had recited the blessing. When I pointed to the sky's rainbow I asked if she would like to recite the tradition's blessing. She took my prayerbook and read the blessing. I responded with a heartfel Amen. Thank You indeed! Thank You God for keeping Your word and for sustaining our world. On Annie's lips the meaning of this blessing became even clearer.
"From the place where we are right flowers will never grow in the spring." Yehuda Amichai