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Monday, 15 December 2014

Does G-d have a cloud hanging over your head?

Daf Yomi Yevamos 72

Rabbi Avigdor Miller tells the story of a businessman who reappeared in Brooklyn after a hiatus of many years living out on Long Island.  His kids were reenrolled in Yeshiva Mesivta Chaim Berlin and initially struggled in their Talmud studies but eventually managed to catch up to their peers.
“Why’d you come back?” Rabbi Miller asked the man.
“I’m ashamed to say my business went under,” the man replied miserably.
Rabbi Miller finishes his story explaining that while this man was distraught at his economic woes, the Almighty had in fact sent him a hidden blessing – in those days, there no yeshivas on Long Island and now his children would once again have the opportunity for a good Jewish education. 

The Book of Joshua states: For all the people who left (Egypt) were circumcised but the generation of the wilderness was not circumcised.
The Gemara asks:  Why were they not circumcised in the wilderness?
One answer is that they were weak due to the travelling.
Another answer is that the northern wind did not blow for them, as the Beraisa teaches: For the entire duration of their forty year sojourn in the wilderness, the northern wind did not blow for them.
The Gemara asks: Why not?
One answer is that they were shunned for the sin of the Golden Calf.
Another answer is so that the Clouds of Glory would not disperse. 

You can imagine how the Children of Israel must have felt for forty years.  Every time they looked up, they saw clouds.  They yearned to see the sun, but the wind never arrived to blow the clouds away and let the sunlight in.  It’s easy to get bitter after all those years of longing for the sunshine. 

But the wind didn’t blow in order to maintain the protection of the Clouds of Glory above and around them.   The Clouds not only protected our ancestors against the harsh desert elements, they shielded them from enemy attack and kept their clothing fresh, laundered and physically growing as they grew! 

Very often we simply don’t understand how the Almighty is protecting us with those clouds hanging over our heads.  We think that He is just shunning us, but ‘every cloud has a silver lining’!   That cloud may be your salvation and protection from the burning desert sun!

Everybody wants to be rich.  But is wealth always a blessing?  I know a number of people whose kids haven’t amounted to much because they were born with a silver spoon in their mouths.  They never had to work hard in life and so instead they turned to sorrowful and decadent lives, leaving their poor parents reeling in despair.  Sometimes it’s life’s struggles that keep us on the straight and narrow, like the businessman whose kids gained a Jewish education due his deficient financial situation.

Stop looking at the cloud above your head as a burden and a sign of G-d’s lack of Providence.  The Almighty knows exactly what He’s doing.   He loves you and cares about you beyond your wildest imagination.  But sometimes He needs to cover you with His Clouds of Glory in order to protect you.  You may not see or appreciate why the cloud is here today or sometimes, even for many years, but when you maintain your faith in the Almighty, all will be good.

There’s an old Chasidic saying that goes, ‘G-d sends people many tests and challenges in life.  Some people get the test of wealth; others get the test of poverty.  Personally, I’d prefer the test of wealth!’   May the Almighty always shine His countenance upon you and send you His blessing in a revealed manner and may you utilize the sunshine to accomplish great things materially and spiritually!  

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