Waiting for Rain Reflections at the Turning of the Year

About the Book

In Israel, the High Holiday cycle marks the transition from summer to the rainy season.

In Waiting for Rain, the acclaimed teacher Bryna Levy offers a compelling collection of meditations that examine the biblical and liturgical readings associated with the High Holidays, from Rosh Hashanah to Simhat Torah. Based on a series of lectures given in Jerusalem at Matan – the Women’s Institute for Torah Studies, and known as “The Hoshana Rabbah Lectures,” Levy’s readings of the traditional texts echo the natural and spiritual tenor of this season.

Waiting for Rain joins the field of biblical interpretation known as parshanut ha-mikrah. It offers fresh insights into traditional rabbinic interpretation, together with the author’s perspective as a modern Orthodox woman bible scholar. Levy explores the psyches of the biblical characters and addresses issues such as our connectedness to others, the tragedy of wasted opportunity, confronting evil, the denial of death, faith and doubt, personal and communal responsibility, universalism versus particularism, the challenge of leadership, sin and atonement, and the efficacy of prayer. The result is a highly personal approach to the meaning of the High Holidays that resonates with our own modern lives. Stories about heroes and heroines, love, faith, hope, and dreams make this book a moving and engaging source for study and reflection as well as an excellent companion to the traditional High Holiday prayer services.


Waiting for Rain is an elegantly written guide to the liturgical themes for the High Holy Days . . . This is a book not only for the High Holy Days, but also for appreciating the beauty and poetry of Jewish liturgy.
—Jewish Book World
Waiting for Rain is filled with beautiful prose, and spiritual and intellectual insights… those looking to refresh their spiritual souls will find much ‘water for thought’ at Levy’s well.
—The Reporter

Bryna Jocheved Levy

Visit Bryna Jocheved Levy's website

Bryna Jocheved Levy is a senior lecturer in Bible at Matan – The Women’s Institute for Torah Studies, where she is also the founder and director of the graduate program in Bible, a joint program with Hebrew University. Levy has an M.A. in Biblical Interpretation from McGill University and, in 1987, was the first woman to be awarded a Ph.D. in Bible from Yeshiva University. She is one of the most esteemed Bible teachers in Israel and a leader in the movement for women’s Torah study.

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