It is always a problem to learn to manage ourselves in situations or in places to which we are not used to. I mean the fact of adapting to the new. To war situations, unforeseen situations, changes in our economy, changes in our environment.
Those who have migrated to new horizons know what I am talking about. Those who have lived in countries with unstable economies or governments, of course they understand it too.
It is as if we needed some time to adapt, some need more time, others less, to locate ourselves in the place, in the situation, in the relationship with the people around us.
And that often makes us anxious. Many times we want things to come out NOW. We want to see results AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, or manage to define situations in record time.
Pekudei teaches us that everything has a time, and a training.
And that training in new situations or places requires a plan.
Imagine being in the desert. Any of us lacks such an experience in his life, but suppose you have to get to a certain place while in the desert... where to go???? Obviously you can guide yourself by sunrise and sunset, or by the position of the stars (???), but, let's see... you're in the middle of the desert!!!
Bnei Israel found itself in THAT precise situation. A huge group of people who escaped from Egypt; of the place they felt safe. Towards an uncertain land. It was at that precise moment that the Creator intervened. In the training or preparation of this people. He had a plan.
The KadoshBaruj Hu appeared in the shape of a cloud in daylight or as a fire at night and placed himself in the camp.
When the cloud was still between them, they had to stay there as long as the cloud (the Creator) wanted. And when the cloud moved, they had to move after it in search of a new intermediate destination. The same thing happened at night with the column of fire .
It didn't matter if the place they were staying at was beautiful and pleasant. If the cloud moved, camp had to be broken. Or, the other way around, it didn't matter if the place they were in was horrible or uncomfortable; if the cloud or the fire remained motionless...they must stay.
It sounds like dependency, but if we see it from a distance, we can understand that it seemed to be a kind of training for life. The people had to adapt to the situation that fell to them. Organize and re-organize.
They had to confront each other, too, in making major or minor decisions every time they had to reassemble their belongings or fight against the apathy that sometimes causes well-being.
It would seem to be a good plan.
They needed to learn thatwe can't always handle life. That we must learn and adapt to handle the game that we are being shuffled. Making decisions, which sometimes may sound narrow or huge, but which shape and transform our existence and that of those around us. And above all, learn that there is always someone above us telling us when to break camp, one way or another. When should we settle down and deal with the vicissitudes that come our way. When should we learn in coexistence to program new projects or straighten existing ones and continue building. Learn from respect for the other, from mutual respect, to reach a successful conclusion.
Interesting. It was definitely an interesting plan.
This Shabbat, for now, the cloud is installed for us at Beth El, in Utica, in our homes, with our families. They are one of those pleasant, welcoming places that lead us to settle down; sometimes to fight us for projects or for attitudes. But let's get on with the plan. Because the end of the road, we do not know what it is, but surely it will be pleasant for us. And the best thing is that it will not be an END. It will be just a stop, a moment, an oasis in the long journey that we have to enjoy as a community.