published in “Eynayim”
“The forecast” father shouted and all of us, mother, me and Michal my sister ran to the television to see what the newsreader would say in the middle of winter. The rain had not come and we were really waiting for it and in the meantime there had only been a few drops and mother says “it’s really terrible” because the plants are waiting, and the ground water, and the Sea of Galilee are sad, the air in the town needs cleaning and anyway how is it even possible without the blessed rain.
Exactly one week ago, during the social studies lesson, the teacher told us about Honi HaM’agel who lived two thousand years ago. Then too it was a year of drought and the sages asked Honi who had special powers and could do miracles that he pray to the heavens and perhaps following the prayer the blessed rain would fall. Honi drew a circle and stood inside it and swore that his foot would not leave the circle, not even the slightest bit, until rain would fall, and thus it was.
And I have been thinking about that for several days. Even in the evening before I go to sleep and mother asked “Why aren’t you falling asleep?”.
I said to her “Because I am thinking, but I can’t tell you about it yet”.
And the next day, when I came home from school, after lunch, I took some orange chalk with me and I said to father and mother “Bye”
“Where are you going?” they asked.
“I’ll be in the entrance to the building” I said “not very far away”.
And mother asked “Are you going down to play?” “Before you’ve done your homework?”
“I’m not going down to play, I have something important to do. More important than a game or homework”
“Yes, I am going to bring the rain”.
“That sounds wonderful” father said “that is really important” mother said, “But how exactly are you going to do that?”
“I’ll draw a circle, I will stand inside it, I will not move, I will not tread outside of the lines, until it rains” I said and I went downstairs.
In the entrance area, on the grey floor tiles, not far from the grass, I drew a circle. I stood inside it and declared loudly “I am waiting for the blessed rain”. I waved my arms to the sides so that I would be able to feel the drops as soon as they fell.
I could see our neighbour Ruchama walking at the end of the road. She had two baskets in her hand. I hoped that the rain would fall before she managed to get back to the building because she was walking slowly, and I whispered “Quick rain, you’ve only got two minutes” because between 2pm and 4pm she doesn’t let us plan outside and now I would not be able to avoid her. I must not move.
Ruchama stood just a step away from me. She flared her nostrils, took out her glasses and put them on her nose. I stood and didn’t move. I almost stopped breathing. After a moment she shouted “Who put a scarecrow here in the entrance? Shame on you” and went home.
I stood like that for an hour or perhaps two. I was hungry and thirsty. Father brought me a sandwich and Michal my sister brought me orange juice.
“When are you coming in?” Michal asked.
“In a while, As soon as the blessed rain falls”.
“And how long is a while?”
“That’s a difficult question” father answered “Come on Michal, we will go for a walk” and he said to me “We will come back to visit again”.
By the time father and Michal returned it was getting dark and mother shouted to me from the balcony “Eyali, you must come up”.
“In a while Mum” I said.
“It’s night-time dear”
“Yes, but I promised not to move”
“It’s late now, you can return to your circle tomorrow”
And the truth was that I was a bit sick of standing there and I was cold. I went home and on the table a surprise was waiting for me. Father and mother had prepared chips for me on a big plate “you deserve it” they said “how lucky we are to be blessed with such a wonderful child”.
The next day, after school I returned to the circle, but this time I called Shachar to come with me, because it’s boring standing like that alone. Shachar joined me and it was much more fun.
Father and Michal came to visit and brought us orange juice and some sweets and a draughts board which we put down outside of the circle and we sat down to play, without going out of the lines, really.
A short time later we felt drops, we clapped with excitement and lifted our heads to the sky and discovered and Mrs Gamliel from the third floor was watering her plants.
And there was no rain, not even a bit. When Schacher’s mother came to visit, Shachar went back home with her and said that perhaps, perhaps he would come again tomorrow.
Shachar did not come back the next day, I went down alone, the same as always after school and after lunch and I was already very angry at the rain. Honi HaM’agel did not stand for so long, it wasn’t fair and just before I gave up, just a few minutes before, I suddenly saw lightening in the sky and then heard loud thunder and then a flood started. Well not really a flood but definitely blessed rain. Father and mother shouted to me from the balcony “Eyali, Eyali, thank you”.
And even Ruchama, the neighbour, who usually is angry came down and gave me a noisy kiss and said “Bless you, what you have done is wonderful”.
“The forecast” father shouted. Mother, me and Michal my sister sat opposite the television to watch the rains “that surprised everyone” the presenter said.
I smiled. It really didn’t surprise me.