Cloudy with a chance of...
Ever have a few days or weeks where everything seems to be one big fog; where you go through the motions of being alive but your mind is just not there? How about a bout of things seeming so dark that you simply cannot imagine there being a light on the other side?
Some of these cloudy periods last longer than others, and sometimes they require medical and therapeutic intervention. But whatever the cause of the gloom and fog, once we do come out of it, the relief is so great that we feel we can now take on the world and all its problems, perhaps even more than before the funk.
Nothing really changed in us other than the cloud having been lifted, the world is the same and perfection might still be far off, but when that happens it uncovers our true selves. It was all there from the beginning, but we needed the cloudiness and darkness to make us realize the potential we were missing out on. Were it not for the darkness that preceded the revelation, we would not appreciate the light and we might not see it as potential for reaching great heights.
An example of this is found in the Torah, in the description of events after the Tabernacle was erected in the desert. The Jewish people had donated generously towards its construction, and the craftsmen worked for months to make it conform to the exact requirements commanded by G-d, and now they were finally ready to experience the divine presence residing among them. The Jews were looking forward to Moses communicating with G-d on their behalf in the Tabernacle. After finally being forgiven for the sin of the golden calf—with the divine presence in Tabernacle being an expression of G-d’s forgiveness—they were ready to put it all behind them.
But before that could happen, a large cloud enveloped the entire structure. Just as Moses was about to begin communicating with G-d in His new home, it suddenly disappeared. After all the efforts exerted, and the promise of having a direct conduit to G-d, it was all gone, concealed by a dense fog that even Moses seemingly couldn’t penetrate. Imagine the devastation and despair it caused.
But at the very same moment, G-d called out to Moses from within the cloud and instructed him to enter through the fog. Hearing G-d’s voice, Moses was assured that not only did the cloud not represent darkness, but what had seemed to be a concealment moments before turned out to be the source of the revelation.
The same is true for all episodes of darkness we experience in life. The fog and the gloom that envelop us can seem overwhelming and certainly undeserved, and we often cry out to G-d demanding to be extracted from the various predicaments we find ourselves mired in.
And G-d hears our cries, calling out to us: Come to Me, in the cloud! Not only should the cloud not prevent us from recognizing our potential, but we are promised that our greatest strengths will come as a result of experiencing the darkness. The call of G-d, the revelation we all hope and pray for, is right there waiting for us to push through and come out of our funk. And when we do, our true potential for greatness can become a reality.
Just as this is the case with each individual, it is certainly so with our collective funk as a nation, the exile we Jews find ourselves in today, and for the last two millennia. We pray that G-d answers our prayers and sends Moshiach, bringing about the ultimate revelation of G-dliness and redemption of the Jewish people — may it happen today!