The Prayer for Rain and Climate Change

Studies have shown that climate change has increasingly affected our mental health. Those already experiencing challenges have been most vulnerable, but few have not felt the stress that results from climate-induced catastrophes. The discomfort caused by the abnormally extreme heat and lack of rain has led to a rise in substance use to cope with stress; increases in hospital and emergency room admissions for people with mental health or psychiatric conditions; and an increase in suicide. Whether you’re affected directly by a hurricane, forest fire or other disaster, or you are constantly reading or hearing about them, studies have found there is an increase in anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation and more.

We need a natural climate for our mental and physical health, and Shemini Atzeret provides a ritual to honor and commemorate this need in the form of a prayer for rain. But we must remember we are tasked with doing our part in keeping the world we were given safe and healthy. At the beginning of the Torah, when humankind was created, we were tasked with caring for the world. 

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