Photo Credit: pixabay

{Originally posted to Rabbi Weinberg’s website, The Foundation Stone}

I often heard teachers complain to my parents that “His head is in the clouds.” Well, my head is in the clouds, more specifically in cloud computing. Please don’t ask me to explain what it is or how works, but it does mean that you don’t need a hard drive to backup your information. Everything exists somewhere out there in the ether. Computing is going to change yet again. Just when I finally got the hang of writing blogs, running a website, and sending out newsletters and e-mail, now I have to learn a whole new system. It’s getting to be a little too much. How are we to manage all of this change?

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If I’m having trouble managing these changes I wonder how the Children of Israel managed all the changes in their lives over the course of this week’s Portion: first they leave Egypt, then they turn back, only to find themselves stuck between the Egyptian army and the sea. The sea splits and then drowns the Egyptians. Moshe uses a branch of bitter wood to sweeten bitter water. God provides a magical water supply, and then they start receiving magical bread. They have to fight their first battle. It’s far too much change all at once for people who have been slaves until just a few days ago.

We are taught that their heads too, were in the clouds: “God went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them on the way.” (Exodus 13:21) Did they really need the cloud to guide them? Moshe was leading them, and I suspect that he knew exactly where to go. The cloud was not a GPS, it was a reminder of the benefit of having our heads in the clouds: The cloud was an invitation to extend their reach, to remind them that each time they experienced a life changing miracle they could live far beyond their perceived limitations. God wanted their heads in the cloud, unconstrained by the realities of this world, but as elevated as the first cloud: “A mist ascended from the earth and watered the whole surface of the soil. And God, the Lord, formed the man of dust from the ground.” (Genesis 2:6-7) From the first moments of man’s existence the dust, the physical, raised his eyes up toward the cloud to become an unlimited being.

Whether it’s learning about cloud computing or discovering a new insight into a verse, my head, heart and soul are in the clouds; They are constantly reaching for greater heights. I look to that cloud that led us through the desert, and through it to that first cloud, and reach for so much more. This is the cloud described as the Presence of God. It is still there for all of us willing to have our heads in the clouds.

Shabbat Shalom

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