Israel, some 2,100 years ago: Choni HaMe’agel prayed, and as a result, it started to rain after a three-year drought.
Choni lived in the times of Shimon ben Shetach and Yehoshua ben Pesachaya, during the time when the Chashmonaim ruled the land of Israel.
In Maseches Taanis we read about how he got the rain to start: He drew a circle on the ground and stood inside it, and said before Hashem:” Master of the Universe, Your children have turned their faces toward me, as I am as a member of Your household. Therefore, I take an oath by Your great name that I will not move from here until You have mercy upon Your children and answer their prayers for rain. Rain began to trickle down, but only in small droplets. He said: I did not ask for this, but for rain to fill the cisterns, ditches, and caves with enough water to last the entire year. Rain began to fall furiously. He said: “I did not ask for this damaging rain either, but for rain of benevolence, blessing, and generosity.”
Sources: Megillas Taanis chapter 12; Taanis 19a.
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