Sandstorms and the Cloud of Mystery

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, 4/3/2003
Where is God in the desert of Iraq?

Our God is YHWH, the One Who Breathes.
The Holy Wind that Breathes all life,
Who breathes all peoples and all life-forms.

The Holy Wind is breathing in the desert.

Our Torah teaches:

The messenger of God
that had been walking in front of the army of Israel
Walked on and went behind them.
The pillar of cloud moved ahead of them
and stood behind them,
coming between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel.
Here was the Cloud of Darkness,
Yet it gave light throughout the night.
The one army came not near the other army all the night.
(Exod. 14: 19-20)

What is the CLOUD OF DARKNESS, and how does it stand between the armies?

We saw it; it is no myth, this Cloud of Mystery.

The wind of God mixed air with Mother Earth, and sandstorms blew. The armies could not see to kill each other.

The Darkness in these sandstorms kept the light of life alive in the eyes of human beings who had been sent to kill and die.

The sandstorms blew,
machines grew gritty
with the dark so thick
you could not help but feel it,
the armies downed their weapons
because they could not see.

We pray, we plead, we yearn, we act:

May the dark storms of sand continue to separate the armies.

May the Dark Cloud of Mystery continue to keep the light of life alive.

May we affirm and heal the Mystery of life.

May we open our eyes to the darkness that keeps us from killing and saves us from dying.

Blessed are You, Holy Wind Who breathes life and spirit into all the world, Who shapes light and creates dark, Who makes shalom and creates the whole.

Barukh attah Yahh elohenu ruakh ha'olam, yotzer ohr u'voray choshech, oseh shalom u'voray et ha'kol.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Director
The Shalom Center


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