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God’s Presence

“I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day, when it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May…” begins one of our favorite songs by the Temptations, “My Girl.” Such a sweet song, reminds us that sunshine always lingers behind the darkest clouds, especially when we feel love in our hearts.

In this week and last week’s Torah portion, clouds actually represent the presence of God. Rather than clouds covering up happiness, clouds are the reminder of God’s presence. The Hebrew word for cloud, “anan,” is a mass that clouds over, that may make it difficult to fully see. If we change one Hebrew letter of “anan,” the word becomes “ayin” which means “eye.”

How can having a “cloud over us,” be closely related to seeing? Are we able to depend on God when it is hard to see clearly and difficult to find clarity. Over the last few months, we have all experienced times where the future seems uncertain, and perhaps we are addressing this cloud by different names such as a “plague.”

This week a massive plume of dust from the Sahara Desert may cover the Southeast. While part of our country is in this haze, will they be looking for the presence of God or some extra Kleenex?

Perhaps if we look to the cloud as a precursor to happiness and hope, and the cloud as our signal to hold onto God as our covering or our sukkah of peace,” we can open our minds to the idea that clouds hold the presence of God.

When our people were reassured of our covenant with God in the Noah story, the rainbow appeared to us coming out of the clouds. Our symbol of hope was connected to the clouds. In last week’s Torah portion, the clouds followed us all day to remind us of God’s presence.

The reference to God’s presence as clouds, is not just as a single cloud but also as a mass, as a pillar, and as the place from where the rainbow extends. I always feel the presence of God when we are together as a community. We, as a congregation, can pray together, hold hands, feel hope; perform acts of kindness through social action and social justice.

Even though we have had the opportunity to be “together” virtually, I am sure you are, as I am, looking forward to actually “being together.” As we await for the time we can be together, let us remember that even the darkest cloud is the symbol of God’s presence in our lives. May you look up at the clouds and know that there is always sunshine in our community and the clouds are a signal of hope and God’s presence in our lives.

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