Sunday, 13 November 2016

Visiting Israel During November

Question: I will be visiting Eretz Yisrael during Cheshvan / November. Do I say vesen beracha or vesen tal umattar?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 117:1) writes that in Eretz Yisrael we begin saying vesen tal umattar (prayer for rain) in the beracha of barech aleinu from the seventh of Cheshvan. In chutz la’aretz, we do not begin saying it until the sixtieth day of the tishrei season. As this season begins on the seventh of October, we begin saying vesen tal umattar during maariv on the fourth or fifth of December (See Taanis 10a). We continue saying this until Pesach.
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 117:5) writes that one who forgot to say vesen tal umattar after this time must do so in the beracha of shema koleinu. Failing that, they would have to repeat the shemone esrei.
The Mishna Berura (117:5) quotes different opinions as to what someone visiting Eretz Yisrael during this time should do.
The Pri Chadash (OC 117:2) and Pri Megadim (Mishbetzos Zahav OC 117:1) write that providing one is planning on returning within the year, they should follow their own community. Thus, one paying a short visit to Eretz Yisrael would continue to say vesen beracha until the fourth or fifth of December.
The Chida (Birkei Yosef OC 117:5), however, writes that those visiting Eretz Yisrael should say vesen tal umattar.
While R’ Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss (Minchas Yitzchak 10:9) and R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yechave Daas 1:73) agree with the Chida, R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo, Tefilla 8:21) and R’ Moshe Sternbuch (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:55) maintain that one who is staying in Eretz Yisrael until after the fourth or fifth December should say vesen tal umattar. One paying a shorter visit should recite it in shema koleinu (See Rivevos Ephraim 4:255).
In conclusion, the Ishei Yisrael (23:37) writes that if one plans on returning before the fourth or fifth of December, they should not start saying vesen tal umattar early. If one does not plan on returning until afterwards, they should say it in shema koleinu. Many sefardim will say vesen tal umattar even if only paying a short visit.

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