Step Into the Fog: Finding God in Our Struggles

March 13, 2024

Have you ever really wanted to achieve something, but felt like something was stopping you? Do you find yourself grappling with religious and spiritual ambitions, hindered by a veil of uncertainty or doubt?

This feeling of being on the edge, wanting to do something great but not being able to move forward is something many of us experience. According to Rabbi Natan of Breslov, the Bible teaches us a profound lesson about this kind of struggle in the Torah portion of Pekudei (Exodus 38:21-40:38), the last Torah portion in the Book of Exodus. The very end of this Torah portion has a powerful message that still speaks to us today.

The Torah portion of Pekudei recounts the final stages of constructing the Tabernacle, the home for God’s presence among the Israelites as they traveled through the desert. Upon completion, a cloud descends, filling the Tabernacle with the Divine Presence:

This was a big moment, as it symbolized the completion and fulfillment of all of their hard work. Yet, intriguingly, Moses finds himself barred from entering by the very manifestation of God’s presence:

Moses, who conversed directly with God, who ascended Mount Sinai to receive the Tablets of the Law, is now obstructed by a divine cloud. What is the meaning behind this?

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, a famous Jewish teacher from the 18th century, explains this scene in a way that many of us can relate to. He says that the cloud blocking Moses is like the doubts and fears we often face when we’re trying to achieve something important. It feels like a fog that we can’t get through, making us feel stuck.

But Rabbi Nachman tells us to look at this fog differently. He says that it signifies God’s proximity, not our isolation. When we’re struggling or doubting, that’s not a sign that we are alone; it’s a sign that God is right there with us. The key, he suggests, is to go ahead and step into that fog. It might seem scary, but that’s where we’ll find ourselves surrounded by God’s support, helping us through our challenges. Just as “the Presences of the Lord filled the Tabernacle,” if you walk through the cloud you will notice that God is enveloping you.

This idea encourages us to change how we view the obstacles in our paths. Instead of just seeing them as things that stop us, we can view them as chances to grow closer to something greater. Having the bravery to keep going, even when we’re not sure of the way, can lead us to amazing places. It reassures us that navigating challenges is a vital part of our journey, reminding us that we are never alone—God’s guidance and support are always with us.

Achieving our dreams can be tough. There will be times when we feel lost or blocked by doubts. However, by remembering that these moments and trials bring us closer to something greater, we can find the strength to push through. And in taking that step into the unknown, we might just find exactly what we’ve been looking for.

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Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

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