It was the sixth day of the Creation. Adam, the first human being, had already been created, but the earth was dry and barren.
From the depths of his heart, Adam prayed to his Creator, seeking His help. At once, the skies clouded over, and rain began to fall. The first prayer of man had been answered.
This was man's first act. Let us try to relive it. We might imagine that what met Adam's first glance at his world was a beautiful, luxuriant Garden of Eden, brimming with life, color and beauty.
Not so. What met Adam's eyes was a bleak world of dry soil and barren rock. Not a leaf, not a blossom, not one flower, relieved the desolate expanse of brown soil and gray rock.
Adam felt lost. He needed help. But how? What should he do? He felt lost in his new world.
From the depth of his despair, without help or hope, Adam reacted just as his descendants were to do throughout the generations to come, all over the globe; in his moment of need, Adam lifted his eyes on high and poured out his heart in prayer.
His Creator answered him. Rain fell in abundance, and at once the earth gave forth a multitude of trees, flowers, bushes, vines, and verdant grasses. Adam's heart sang with gratitude to his Maker. His prayers had been answered!
History repeats this scene again and again. Each of us has many occasions to turn to G-d with a request, whether major or minor. Some pray each day, some each week, some only rarely, but, as the saying goes, "There are no atheists in a foxhole."
Everyone finds himself in a "foxhole" of some sort at one point in his life. It is then, when he is keenly aware of man's limitations, that he turns to the One who is beyond human liabilities, the only Source of Assistance who can improve his lot.
Like Adam, we give purpose to our existence by using the resources of this world constructively. Adam was so named because he was formed from the earth, adamah. Just as the soil brings forth rich produce, so, too, can Man produce rich fruits. Adam, whose very name comes from the soil, was created to bring the power of the soil to its full potential by plowing it, sowing it, and reaping the harvest of its produce.
Thousands of years later, we continue to cultivate the land. We plow, sow, fertilize and cultivate the soil, and harvest its produce, thus releasing the potential power of the fertile earth.
Likewise, we cultivate the tender souls of our children, to release the full potential buried within. And, like Adam, we sometimes find ourselves empty-handed, facing barren rock, or a bleak future. We feel helpless; we try this and we try that, but nothing improves. Overwhelmed, we feel at a total loss. There seems to be no hope, no chance of escape.
There remains but only one option: We turn to our Maker in prayer, for only He has the power to save us.
We, too, need rain; the entire world needs it. Therefore we pray for it three times a day. Rain has always been, and continues to be, the symbol of man's dependency on the mercies of Heaven.
The blessings which come from the Heavens to the soil below take the form of rain. In Hebrew, the word "rain" – geshem – derives from the word gashmi, – physical or material, as opposed to spiritual, ruchani. Rain represents the physical embodiment of Heaven-sent blessings.
When we turn to G-d and ask that He fill our many needs – good health for ourselves and our children, an ample livelihood, peace and security, we are actually seeking the material expression of Heaven’s blessings. May we prove ourselves worthy of receiving them in abundance.