Weekly Chasidic Story #844 (s5774-22 / 26 Shevat 5774)
The King, the Jews, the Rain
This may read like a tale from several centuries ago, but the reality is that this episode took place recently, in early 2014.
Connection: Current Events!
The King, the Jews, the Rain
The first stages of winter in Morocco this year were unusually warm and dry, and as the days and weeks progressed, so did the worry that this could be a year of drought leading to serious famine, for the agriculture of Morocco (like many other countries in the Mideast) is dependent upon the winter rains.
The King of Morocco, however, Muhammad the Sixth, knew well the address to turn to in the season of such troubles: the synagogues of the Jews. He sent an official royal request to the head of each Jewish community in Morocco, asking them to convene a special assembly in their synagogues for the express purpose of praying for rain. In response, the members of CCIM-"Council of Israelite Communities in Morocco"-hurried to compose a letter that was dispatched to all the Jews in the country.
"In light of the request of his Royal Highness, the King, there should take place in every synagogue [at the same time] a special prayer assembly to plead with the Master of the Universe that He should provide plentiful rain throughout the kingdom."
It was decided that this prayer should take place in the synagogues
on Shabbat, the tenth day of the Jewish month of Shvat in the year 5774 (Jan.
11, 2014), just before reading the weekly Torah portion called Beshalach. In
every synagogue in the land that Shabbat, the Jews gathered and prayed with
mighty devotion that the Al-mighty should release the rain upon the land.
The following week, important government officials in every city with a Jewish community met with the leader of the community in his city by order of the King to thank them in his name for their congregation's prayers. *
How did King Muhammad VI know to ask the Jews to help? Answer: He simply followed the family tradition. His father, Hussein II, often turned to the Jews for their prayers in times of need, and he enjoyed a warm relationship with a number of different Jewish community leaders. Although only a fraction of the Jewish population remained in Morocco after 1948 (about 3000 out of approximately 350,000) Hussein II believed that even this greatly reduced number was a source of blessing for the country. Indeed, on the eve of Yom Kippur each year, he would send personal representatives, wearing the fancy robes of royal emissaries to their synagogues to request a blessing for the King.
Yaakov ("Jackie") Kadosh, head of the Jewish community
of Marrakesh, testified to Sichat HaShavua, one of Israel's most popular Shabbat
weekly publications, that the current King also has this great appreciation
for the Jews in his kingdom.
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