About the Jewish Calendar

Grant Dew and Rain: ותן טל ומטר

Excerpted from Or Hadash: A Commentary on Siddur Sim Shalom for Weekdays by Reuven Hammer

This phrase is found in 1 Kings 17:1 as part of Elijah's curse of the wicked King Ahab: “...there will be no dew or rain except at my bidding.” The presence of dew and rain would be the very opposite, a great blessing. In the summer, when there is no rain in the Land of Israel, we ask only for blessing. Since there is dew in the summer – on the first day of Pesah we recite a special prayer for it – Louis Ginzberg suggested that originally the phrases were תן טל לברכה, “grant dew as a blessing” (for the summer), and תן מטר לברכה, “grant rain as a blessing” (for the winter).