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DEW ().

—Biblical Data:

Moisture condensed from the atmosphere and gathered in small drops, specially upon the upper surface of plants. In Palestine dew "falls" in cloudless nights during the summer, and refreshes the vegetation, which without it would suffer. The westerly winds sweeping across the sea in the late summer months deposit this moisture in the form of mist like fine spray upon the summer crops; hence, "the dew of Hermon that cometh down upon the mountains of Zion" (Ps. cxxxiii. 2, Hebr.). Dew and rain are closely related to each other in Hebrew literature as sources of fertility and of regeneration of life (Micah v. 6 [7]). In the rainless season "the dew assuages the heat" (Ecclus. [Sirach] xviii. 16, xliii. 22); it is therefore as precious as rain (Gen. xxvii. 28; Deut. xxxiii. 13, 28; Zech. viii. 12), and the withholding of it, as of rain, is a curse (II Sam. i. 21; I Kings xvii. 1; Hag. i. 10). The summer dew is so copious as to saturate the fleece of wool (Judges vi. 37 et seq.) or the hair of the wanderer (Cant. v. 2). Suddenly it falls (II Sam. xvii. 12), and gently (Deut. xxxii. 2; Prov. xix. 12); it lies all night (Job xxix. 19), and rises and disappears in the morning (Ex. xvi. 14; Hos. vi. 4). Dew as the vivifying power is used as a simile of God (Hos. xiv. 6 [5]); it also symbolizes freshness (Ps. ex. 3: "the dew of thy youth") and resurrection: "A dew of herbs is thy dew, and the earth shall cast off the spirits of the dead" (Isa. xxvi. 19, Hebr.).

—In Post-Biblical Literature:

According to Enoch lx. 20, "the spirit of the dew dwells at the ends of the heaven, close to the chambers of the rain, and its course is in winter and in summer." Winds coming from the middle of the twelve portals bring beneficial dew of prosperity; from other portals, hurtful dew accompanied by locusts and other calamities (Enoch lxxvi. 8 et seq.). This is also in accordance with rabbinical tradition: "In the sixth heaven, Makon, there are treasuries of hurtful dews and of beneficial dewdrops" (; Ḥag. 12b). "Between Pesaḥ and Shabu'ot a prayer is offered that God may preserve the people from the hurtful dews" (Lev. R. xxviii., with reference to Jer. v. 24). The two loaves of bread offered on Shabu'ot are waved to and fro in symbolical petition to the Ruler of heaven and earth and of the four winds to keep off the unpropitious winds and dews (Suk. 37b; Lev. R. l.c.).

Only on account of Israel does dew come as a blessing upon the world: on account of Jacob, who studied the Torah, or for the sake of Job, whose doors were kept wide open for the needy (Gen. R. lxvi.). "God promised Abraham under an oath never to let dew cease to bless his descendants, and therefore Elijah could not stop its fall by his words" (Yer. Ta'an. i. 63d; compare Bab. 3a, b). According to Samuel bar Naḥmani, dew comes as a heavenly gift and by the merit of no man (Yer. Ta'an. l.c.; Ber. v. 9b, after Micah vi. 6). On the other hand, the opinion is expressed that since the destruction of the Temple no dew of unmixed blessing falls (Soṭah ix. 12), and this on account of the cessation of the heave-offering and the tithes (Shab. 32b).

Dew of the Resurrection.

But the "dew of the Resurrection" is also stored up in 'Arabot, the highest heaven (Ḥag. 12b). By this dew the dead are revived (Yer. Ber. v. 9b; Yer. Ta'an. i. 63d, with reference to Isa. xxvi. 19). In Ḥag. 12b, Ps. lxviii. 10 (9) is referred to: "Thou didst send a plentiful rain to revive thine inheritance" (Hebr.). This verse is construed to allude to an incident at the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. "When God appeared amidst the trembling of the earth on Sinai, life fled from the people of Israel and from all the living people in the land of Israel; and the angels said: 'Dost Thou desire to give Thy Law unto the dead or unto the living?' Then God dropped the dew of Resurrection upon all, and they revived." Regarding the Prayer for Dew and the liturgical poetry of Kalir for the first day of Passover, which contains many allusions to the dew of Resurrection, see Ṭal, Prayer for.

Bibliography:
  • Cheyne and Black, Encyc. Bibl. s.v. Dew.
E. G. H. K.
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