Monday, October 17, 2011

Clouds of Glory

It didn't seem possible under natural law, that many millions of people, from infants to elderly, on an hour's notice, from all over the district of Goshen in Egypt, could arrive to their point of departure in the city of Ramses. But this was what the Jews had to do on the night of Nissan 15, 2448.

By then the Jews were quite accustomed to astonishing miracles; In fact, a whole year went by where with every passing month a new and fabulous miracle would occur to break the back of Egyptian control over Jewish servitude.

Sure enough, another miracle now swept in - in the form of friendly clouds, serving as "flying carpets" upon which all Jews were taken aboard.

These "Clouds of Glory" not only transported the Jews, and their possessions, from their residences, to Ramses, but, from there, took them all to their next encampment site, Sukkot, a distance of 120 kilometers, again at breathtaking speed.

Under the leadership of their redeemer, Moses, miracles seemed to have become a daily phenomenon.

These miraculous clouds proved to be even more miraculous. A week later they shielded the Jewish masses against the artillery of the Egyptian army chasing from behind.

The clouds were 7 in number. Like walls around the multitude, four clouds from four sides engulfed them; Another cloud, beneath their feet, straightened out the path they would walk, and killed snakes and scorpions in its way; And a seventh one hovered above them to protect them against the sun, while proving shade.

These clouds had even more roles to play over the 40 years they would accompany the Jews in the desert, until the Jews entered the Holy Land. It was then the Jews were commanded, "In huts shall you sit for seven days ... so your generations will know that in huts I placed the Jewish people when I took them out of Egypt." (Lev. 23: 42-43) And, in the words of the Alter Rebbe in his Shulcan Aruch, "These were clouds of His glory that engulfed them to shade them and protect them against heat stroke or dryness; And as a model of this we were commanded to make shaded huts (sukkot) so we remember His miracles and wonders, and thus must we direct our thoughts when sitting in the sukka to remind us of the exodus from Egypt."

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