The Four Winds
Our Sages teach that four winds blow each day from the four directions.1
The east wind blows from morning until noon. This brings with it many breezes which bring healing to the world, under the direction of the angel Micha'el.
The west wind blows from noon until nightfall. It brings along breezes which give beauty to growing things, under the direction of the angel Rafa'el.
One may ask that since the east wind brings healing, it should be under the direction of Rafa'el, since he is the angel of healing. But this teaches that everything is in G-d's hand. It is He wo sends sickness, and He who provides a cure. One shold not depend on any angel, since angels cannot do anything without G-d's permission.
The expected angel is therefore not in charge of the wind associated with healing. One should set his eyes on high, and repent according to the teachings of the Torah. If he has merit, G-d will then send His angel to heal him.
The south wind blows from the beginning of the night, and it brings along many earth breezes which warm its coldness. All these are under the direction of the angel Uri'el. This wind is very harmful to the sick, but in general, it is beneficial for the world. This is also the time when the wicked in purgatory are judged, since everyone is asleep and there are none to pray for them.
The north winds blow from midnight to daybreak, bringing along many breezes. Strongest of all the winds, it is beneficial for the sick, and for this reason, they feel better in the morning. G-d makes it blow before the righteous in Gan Eden, and they smell the sweet fragrance of its trees and herbs.
When the wind blows very strongly, one who hears it should say the blessing:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', א-לקינו מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרֵאשִׁית
Baruch Atah Hashem Elokeinu Melech ha’Olam Oseh Ma’aseh Bereishit.
Blessed are You, Hashem, King of the Universe, Who Makes the Works of Creation.
After the north wind blows, the heavens and their host, together with the angels, begin to sing praise before G-d. They are joined by the righteous in Gan Eden.
King David was able to determine the precise moment of midnight. He kept a harp hanging over his bed, and when the north wind would blow on it at midnight, it would wake him up. He would then recite psalms of praise to G-d.
Our Sages also taught us that when the east wind blows, all the other winds are still.2 The north wind also blows with the other daily winds, and without it, the world cold not endure them. Since the north wind is teperate, neither too hot nor too cold, it offsets the effects of the other winds. [Meam Loez, Bereishit, Vol. 1]
1. Zohar Chadash 13a
2. Gittin 31a