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תפילת הודיה לשלג | Thanksgiving Prayer for Snowfall in Lands Where It is Needed, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer תפילת הודיה לשלג | Thanksgiving Prayer for Snowfall in Lands Where It is Needed, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer 2019-02-21 18:37:39 A prayer of thanksgiving for when it snows in a land needing snowfall (and ultimately, snowmelt). Text the Open Siddur Project Isaac Gantwerk Mayer Isaac Gantwerk Mayer Isaac Gantwerk Mayer Drought & Wildfire the Wet Season (Fall & Winter) eco-conscious 21st century C.E. 58th century A.M. global warming global climate change Prayers for Precipitation thanksgiving snow מודים Modim
Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)
הַנֹּתֵ֣ן שֶׁ֣לֶג כַּצָּ֑מֶר כְּ֝פ֗וֹר כָּאֵ֥פֶר יְפַזֵּֽר׃ (תהלים קמז:יו)
מוֹדִים אֲנַחְנוּ לָךְ עַל כׇּל־פִּתִּים וּפִתִּים שֶׁהִשְׁלַכְתָּ עֲלֵינוּ׃ (כמו תהלים קמז:יז)
טוֹב־אַתָּה וּמֵטִיב (תהלים קיט:סח). יָצָא הַקֶּרַח מִבִּטְנְךָ אָתָּה (כמו איוב לח:כט).
וְכֵן לְךָ לְבָדְךָ נוֹדֶה וּלְפָנֶיךָ נִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה׃
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה
רֹב הַהוֹדָאוֹת וְהָאֵל הַהוֹדָאוֹת׃ (תלמוד בבלי, ברכות נט ב על פי רב פפא)
O Giver of Snow like wool, and Scatterer of Frost like ashes,[1] Psalm 147:16. 
we give thanks to You for each flake and flake that You throw upon us.[2] as in Psalm 147:17. 
Good are You, and do good;[3] Psalm 119:68.  You send out the ice from Your womb.[4] as Job 38:29. 
And thus to You alone we give thanks, and we bow before You.
Blessed are you, Cause,
Abundant in thanksgivings and the God of thanksgivings.[5] Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 59b (Rav Pappa) 

In the area of the land of Israel, rain is precious and snow is rare. Incoming rain and snow are thus a sign of blessing rather than curse. This is why we pray for rain during the winter (the rainy season in a Mediterranean climate) and recite the Prayer of Rain every Shmini Atzeret at the most solemn moment of the festival. The Talmud records some notes (Berakhot 59b) on a blessing specifically recited during a rainfall, to give thanks for it. This thanksgiving prayer is not a common part of any traditions today, which means we pray for rain but don’t give thanks when it comes. This deserves to be fixed.

This text uses the discussion in Berakhot 59b as a starting point to create thanksgiving blessings for rain in a land where it is needed, as well as snow in a place where it is rare. Though many Jews these days live in areas where rain is common and year-round and snow is a regular part of winter, not all do – and large Jewish communities like those in Israel, southern California or Australia might pray for rain just as much as our ancestors did.

This text is meant to be be used as a personal blessing upon stepping outside and experiencing the weather. In Berakhot 59b Rabbi Abbahu says we recite the blessing for rain “when the groom goes out to meet the bride” – generally interpreted as when the raindrops hit puddles on the ground. But we could also interpret it as going outside to meet the weather and deeply sense its power and its beauty.

“The Cause” is used to translate the Divine Name YHVH, based on the philosophical idea of God as the Prime Mover and on the interpretation of the Name as a causative form of the copula – “causes to be.”


1 Psalm 147:16.
2 as in Psalm 147:17.
3 Psalm 119:68.
4 as Job 38:29.
5 Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 59b (Rav Pappa)

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2 comments to תפילת הודיה לשלג | Thanksgiving Prayer for Snowfall in Lands Where It is Needed, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

  • Avatar Nili Simhai

    Isaac, this bracha is stunning. Do I understand from your note that every word of it is a citation of an existing text? Or are there some lines that are yours?

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