The Gemarah explains that Mashiv ha'Ru'ach u'Morid ha'Geshem is only mentioning rain and that we don't ask for rain till we start saying v'Sein Tal u'Matar. If that's the case then why do we say Tefilas Geshem on Shemini Atzeres? Shouldn't we say it when we start sayingv'Sein Tal u'Matar?
Jeffrey Waldman, Far Rockaway, United States
Tefilas Geshem, in spite of its name, is not a direct prayer for rain.
Indeed, the text of the Tefilah section (that is recited in Eretz Yisrael) does not contain the word 'Geshem'. It belongs to the 'Mazkirin Gevuros Geshamim' that precedes the rain season, and should be understood to mean 'on the merit of the Avos, don't hold back/grace us with rain - when the rain season arrives.
Be'Virchas Kol Tuv