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Thought for the Day: When You See a Rainbow

There is a bracha to make upon seeing a rainbow; yet one not supposed to go around telling everyone, "Hey!  There's a beautiful rainbow outside!  Come out and make a bracha!"  Why not?  We are usually pro bracha making; even use the expression to mean, "Let's have a bit to eat."  It's a nice way to remind ourselves to make a bracha before deriving benefit from this world.  Besides which, a rainbow is so incredibly beautiful, so it reminds us how kind HaShem is to us.  And have you ever seen a double rainbow?  Amazing!  Nifla'os ha'Borei!  It should be a Kiddush HaShem to see a rainbow!  So what's up?

The nusach of the bracha may help: "... Who remembers the covenant, is faithful/reliable concerning His covenant/promise and fulfills His word."  What's the promise and His word that we are thankful He is keeping?  His promise to remember that humans are frail creatures with big yeitzer hara's, so He won't be so fast to wipe us out again.  Basically, then, the bracha on a rainbow is a pre-dayan ha'emes.  Not the kind of bracha anyone is awaiting in gleeful anticipation.  When the situation arises, we make the bracha.  That's a rainbow.

But a rainbow is so beautiful?  Many people like the color red.  Many find flowing streams to be very serene.  Yet, any normal person who, rachmana latzlan, sees an auto accident is going to find the flowing streams of red blood flowing out of the victims to be beautiful.  The whole situation is so horrifying that it's impossible to separate the beauty of those flowing streams from the context of the death and suffering.  That's a rainbow.  The generation is so bad, that HaShem (so to speak) needs to put up a reminder not to destroy.  The sinners may not be feeling any pain because they are numb and in shock like the accident victim.  But those looking from the outside can be nothing but horrified.

So for whom, exactly, is the rainbow being brought out?  Obviously HaShem doesn't really need a reminder.  The S'porno says that the rainbow is a message to the tzadikie ha'dor (the righteous of the generation) to be informed of how dire the situation is.  The rainbow is a clarion call to them to increase their learning, to give reproof where necessary, and to turn the situation around.
Which is, perhaps, the real reason you shouldn't go running around telling people about the rainbow.  If you saw a rainbow, then it was for you.  Apparently HaShem feels you can help turn the situation around.  Increase your learning, give reproof where necessary.  I'll bet you know at least one Jew who could stand some improvement in his avodas HaShem and might listen if you approach him right.  Just do it.


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