On April 17th this year, Jews around the world will read an excerpt from our Torah as part of the day's morning prayer service. That excerpt will be about the Biblical episode of the splitting of the Sea that occurred within the Biblical story of the Jewish Exodus (Sh'mot, 14:26-31).
I want you to consider something that appeared in a Hollywood film about that Biblical episode. The film is called, "The Ten Commandments". I want you to look at a large dark cloud that appears in the film. I will then ask you to compare that Cloud to another, more recent large, dark Cloud.
The Hollywood film stars Charlton Heston as Moses. What you'll see in a moment is short, only 2:25 long. It's an excerpt from the movie.
This short clip shows the scene where the Sea splits for the Jewish people, Heston looks especially 'Biblical' (as Hollywood might define it). The other actors you'll see--including, briefly, Yul Brynner and Edward G Robinson--look wooden. So do the extras in the film.
The movie was made in 1956. Perhaps a 61-year old movie looks dated. Perhaps actors that long ago always look corny.
Ignore it. The actors aren't the reason I'd like you watch that 2:25 minutes. I want you to watch what Hollywood suggests is a Biblical 'Pillar of Cloud'. The Pillar of Cloud seems to be a fictionalized version of what the Bible describes (Sh'mot, 13:21-22).
Watch, then I'll comment:
In this movie, that Pillar of Cloud is fiction. It's a 'special effect' from a different generation of movie-making. Last December, however, I wrote about a different Pillar of Cloud ("A storm in Israel: is it miracle or windy mirage?", tuviabrodieblog, December 7, 2016). In December, 2016, the Pillar of Could I described wasn't fiction. It was real.
As you might remember from that December essay, this modern Pillar of Cloud appeared just outside the northern border of Israel. You'll see it again in a moment. It appeared at the Syrian side of the Israel-Syria border, at a place where the armies of Syria and Israel have been trading shots for some time.
Watch how this modern Pillar of Cloud behaves. It's noisy. It's extremely large. Does it remind you of that Cloud in the Hollywood film?
The video below is 0:44 in length:
As you can see, this Pillar of Could didn't just appear at the border. It sat on the border. It shut out the Syrian side of the border. It hid what was in Syria from what was in Israel.
It didn't enter the Israeli side of the border, where the soldiers were standing. It blocked the border.
In its own way, it stood just outside Israel remarkably like a Biblical Pillar of Cloud. Was it Biblical in nature?
What does that modern Pillar of Cloud mean? Does it give us a hint of what the Hand of HaShem can do in the natural world to protect the Jewish nation?