In the United States in 2010, I began hearing people say their brachot/blessings and mix the sound of the ” ך ” in the word Melech, with the sound of the “ ה ” in the word HaOlam. It started to bother me when I heard this frequently at Shabbat tables and while davening at various synagogues. I decided to speak up publicly about it to a few groups, and surprisingly it was well received, so I continued to talk about it.
Later that year, upon my arrival to Israel for the first time, I participated in the Isralight Inward Bound 10 day Program in the Old City, Jerusalem. At the conclusion of the course, I moved to an apartment share in Katamon for an additional 3 weeks and during that time I decided to extend my trip for an additional month and moved into Nachlaot, Jerusalem. I felt at home in Nachlaot.
Once I moved from the Old City, I traveled throughout Israel and swam in the Mediterranean, Kinneret, Dead Sea and Red Sea, never associating the Melech HaOlam with rain. As this was my first time in Israel, I also never realized how serious an issue the lack of rain was, until I saw the low water level at the Dead Sea. I decided to refrain during my travels in Israel from speaking about the pronunciation of Melech HaOlam, however I again heard the same mixing of the sounds here as well.
Two weeks into my return to New York, I was driving in my car to the Upper West Side of Manhattan to attend a class at the Reis’s. The moment I parked on West End Avenue and turned off the engine, the lack of rain and the Melech HaOLam connection began merging.
Things were happening fast and not being so familiar with the gematria I first called my friend Zwe Padeh and couldn’t reach him and then I called my friend Tzvi Merling and asked him for the gematria of the word Melech. He quickly replied 90, and then I asked what about the word HaOlam? He said 151, however at that moment I saw the ” ה “ in HaOlam was closed and appeared to be a “ ח “ so I added 3 to the numerical value of 151 in HaOlam and that became 154, then I saw that the two letters causing the issue were the ” ך “ which is 20 and the ” ח “which is 8 for a total of 28, which I then added to the 90 and the 154 for a grand total of 272. I then asked Tzvi what word also had the numerical value for 272, and he responded with Ra’av (famine). At that moment I knew I was close to getting this and then I asked him for the gematria of Eloheinu. And there I saw it in an instant! Eloheinu is 102. The three words Eloheinu Melech HaOlam when pronounced correctly = 343, Geshem! Rain!