Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
"We are already in the month of Shevat," writes Rabbi Itamar Haykin. "Most of our yearly rain should have fallen by now, yet the clouds remain empty. The natural springs, streambeds, and reservoirs are dry. The land is parched. A year of drought is upon us.
I miss the rain. I raise my eyes to the heavens each day, but then hope turns to disappointment. I adhere to the traditional belief of my forefathers, that the relationship between heaven and earth depends upon the relationship between one person and the next. So when the heavens are closed and bereft of rain, I sense this as a rebuke, an indication of our being closed to one another. If only we could be like rain, which does not make distinctions between one person and the next but blesses and gives joy to all, without exception.
If I had the power, I would issue the following decree: for a moment, stop this crazy running around; for just a little while, silence the din. Stop the endless bickering for just one second. Let's set aside a day for a ta'anit dibbur, a day of abstinence from speech. Or at least a day when we do not say anything derogatory about anyone else. A day of soul-searching, of contemplation and reflection. Not for the farmers or the level of the Kinneret, but for us.
A day for looking within and entreating help from above: 'Hearer of prayer, give dew and rain for a blessing upon the earth, and saturate the entire world from Your abundance, and fill our hands with Your blessings and the precious gift from Your hands. Protect and save this year from every bad thing, from every kind of destruction and calamity, and make this year one of hope and lasting peace.'"