Thursday, January 11, 2007


The Gemora cites a braisa which rules that it is not compulsory to mention dew and winds in Shemoneh Esrei since the world cannot exist without them. If one desires to mention them, he may do so. The Gemora cites Scriptural verses that dew and wind are never withheld.

There are several different customs regarding the saying of tal during Shemoneh Esrei. It can be implied from Tosfos that in the winter season, they would say mashiv haruach u’morid hageshem u’morid hatal. The Ran writes that they would not say morid hatal in the winter. The Rambam in Hilchos Tefillah (2:15) rules that morid hatal is not recited during the winter season.

In regards to the summer season, the Tur (114) and the Rama write that it is the Ashkenazi custom not to mention tal at all. The Rambam cites the minhag Sfard that tal is mentioned during the summer months. The Gr”A states that this viewpoint can be found in the Yerushalmi.

The Bach explains the opinion of the Tur to mean that they would recite mashiv haruach u’morid hatal. The Beis Yosef disagrees and maintains that they would only say morid hatal. The Magen Avraham seemingly states like the Bach; however the Machtzis Hashekel claims that there was a printer’s mistake in the Magen Avraham and in truth, he holds like the Beis Yosef that mashiv haruach is not said in the summer time.

There are different customs regarding the request for dew. Some have the custom to ask for dew during the summer season and during the winter. It has become our custom to request dew only in the winter.

It is noteworthy that there are different customs regarding dew, wind and clouds even though the Gemora states by all three that one is not obligated to mention them but if one desires to mention them, he may do so. Why is it that we find different customs for each one?

The Ran answers that dew is something that is always desired. It is beneficial in the summer season and during the winter. It is for this reason that dew is mentioned throughout the year. This is in contrast to wind which is only preferred in the rainy season when it is required to dry the soil and that is why mashiv haruach is only mentioned during the winter and not in the summer. Clouds are not mentioned at all since the benefit received from them is not recognizable to the world. [The Ritva has a different approach in answering these questions.]