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Orach Chaim 117:1 says that we begin Tal Umatar in Eretz Yisrael on 7 Cheshvan.

See also Aruch Hashulchan 117:2 where he mentions the reason for first beginning on 7 Cheshvan is to give the Olei Regalim time to get back home before the rains.

Chabad.org says

The Jews of ancient Israel made three pilgrimages to Jerusalem each year, for the holidays of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. Now, the official rainy season begins on Shemini Atzeret, when the Jews were about to start their journey back home after the festival of Sukkot. As much as they wanted the rain, they chose to delay their supplications in the interests of a safer and easier trip.

That is how the practice of delaying the prayer for rain began. In Israel, the prayer was begun only 15 days after Shemini Atzeret (the 7th of Cheshvan), allowing enough time for even the Jews living near the Euphrates to return home This custom is followed by Jews living in Israel until today.

Question:

As we are concerned about the rains, why don't we stop saying Tal Umatar from Rosh Chodesh Nissan to allow the Olei Regalim to arrive for Pesach without the rains? Why do we say Tal Umatar up to Pesach?

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  • Taanit 4b is clear that hazkara without sheila is only an option if you're going to get to the sheilah eventually. What you are proposing would be hazkara to no end
    – Double AA
    Oct 10, 2021 at 20:25
  • "This custom is followed by Jews living in Israel until today." The custom actually stopped for many years after the destruction of the Temple and the cessation of the festive pilgrimages. That's why in tefillat geshem there's an ancient poem containing "Emunim Genon Bam Shoalei Matar" since it was written to introduce sheila as well.
    – Double AA
    Oct 10, 2021 at 20:27

1 Answer 1

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Thanks to Joel K for this link

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Aurbach Zatzal answers that when the people come for Sucos they are wearing summer clothing and can't handle the rain, and therefore we delay until 7 Cheshvan, however whe they come for Pesach they are wearing winter clothing and can handle the rain.

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal answers that to stop requesting the Bracha and Shefa of Tal Umatar early is inappropriate, however to give time to those tha were Oleh Regel to get home is an appropriate reason to start later

שכן חמור יותר להפסיק בטרם זמן מלהימנע להתחיל

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky Shlita says that when one goes to the Bais Hamikdash they can handle the rain on the way, however on the way back it is bothersome.

וכן רמזו בפסוק: "בבית אלוקים נהלך ברגש"- 'ברגש' ר"ת "ברד רוח גשם שלג", כלומר כאשר הולכים לבית אלוקים- אפשר ללכת גם כאשר יורדים גשמים ושלגים, משא"כ כשחוזרים

Rabbi Gamliel Rabinowitz Shlita says that on the way to the Bais Hamikdash there is a protection of Shlichai Mitzva are not hurt, however on the way back there are those who say this protection does not apply.

לעליה לרגל לא חששו שיהיו בדרכים גשמים, ואף שיכולים למעוד מהגשם, משום ששלוחי מצווה אינם ניזוקים (פסחים ח, ב). אולם כשחוזרים מירושלים לבית, הרי איכה מ"ד דשלוחי מצווה אינם ניזוקים, דווקא בהליכתם אבל לא בחזרתם (פסחים שם), ולכן לא חששו שיינזקו מהגשם על הדרכים ולכן לא מבקשים עד ז' חשון, שיוכל כל אדם לחזור לביתו בשלום" .

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