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Sunday, February 28, 2010

R. Yosef Chaim's 'curse'

It is widely known among Jerusalemites that Rabbi Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld, who was the Jerusalem Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community's Chief Rabbi 80-100 years ago, placed a 'curse' upon our city that we should never have beautiful weather on the holiday of Purim. The reason for his 'curse' was to reign in wild behavior that he felt was getting out of hand even then.

Most years the 'curse' is not blatantly fulfilled. We have some clouds, some wind, some cold and maybe even some rain, but not enough to put too much of a damper on the festivities in a day when cars are much more commonplace than they were in Jerusalem a century ago. This year, however, Rav Zonnenfeld's 'curse' is being fulfilled with a vengeance.
Purim's weather is set to be rainy and cool, with thunderstorms accompanied by strong winds. Hail is possible, and the wet weather will spread throughout the day from north to south. Flooding is possible. Rain should weaken in the evening hours. There is still a chance of rain Monday morning, and Tuesday should be pleasant and warmer.
I put the word 'curse' in scare quotes, because after five years of drought, this has been an exceptional year for rain, but there is still room for plenty more in the Sea of Galilee and in the underground aqueducts. Besides, I will be thrilled if it pours Sunday night (as it has all day) - keeping all the kids from lighting off dangerous and illegal fireworks in the streets (which are mostly purchased from 'Palestinians') and then clears a bit on Monday so that my three youngest kids can wear their rain-sensitive costumes to deliver Purim treats to our friends.

By the way, the 78th anniversary of Rav Zonnenfeld's death is the 19th day of the month of Adar, which is this coming Friday.

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