Friday, November 16, 2012

Pillar of Cloud

(For more details about what's currently happening in the south please see our previous post).

Israel’s current operation against the Islamic terrorists in Gaza has been translated into English as “Operation Pillar of Defense.” This is a poetic translation which fails to convey the true meaning and purpose of Israel’s military operation.

The original Hebrew is עמוד ענן, “Amud Anan”, a phrase taken directly from the Torah.
When the children of Israel sojourned through the desert, a divine cloud, “a pillar of cloud” went before them in order to shield them from harm.

And the angel of G-d, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. —Exodus 14:19-20

Rashi, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040–1105 CE), a French rabbi who wrote commentaries on the Torah, the Prophets and the Talmud, explains:
They [the Egyptians] shot arrows and catapult stones at them, but the angel and cloud caught them.

Thus, the name of this operation is particularly appropriate as Israel defends itself from terrorist rockets and mortars — modern arrows and catapults.

Here is the prayer for the State of Israel that is appropriate at this time:
Our Father in Heaven, Rock and Redeemer of the people of Israel; Bless the State of Israel with the beginning of the blossoming of our redemption. Shield it with Your love; spread over it the shelter of Your peace. Guide its leaders and advisors with Your light and Your truth. Help them with Your good counsel. Strengthen the hands of those who defend our Holy Land. Deliver them; crown their efforts with triumph. Bless the land with peace, and its inhabitants with lasting joy. And let us say: Amen.

(adapted from an email from

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