Amud HaAnan, the Pillar of Cloud


When reading Parshat Beshalach, we come across a term that we have become very familiar with over the last few months: Amud HaAnan, the Pillar of Cloud.


In Shmot 14:19-20 we read: “The angel of Elokim moved from its position when it traveled in front of the camp of Israel, and went behind them. The pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and it stood behind them. It came between the Egyptian camp and the camp of Israel. There was the cloud and darkness for the Egyptians and the pillar of fire lit up the night. The camps did not approach each other all that night.”


Rashi states: To separate the Egyptian camp from the Israelite camp and to receive the arrows and projectiles of the Egyptians.


According to Siftei Chachamim, Rabbi Shabsi Bass Meshorer, The movement of the angel of Elokim and the movement of the pillar of cloud are described here as two separate events. First, upon arrival of the pursuing Egyptians, the angel of Elokim went from the head if the Israelites to their rear to protect them from the Egyptians. Later toward evening, when the pillar of fire would take over for the night, the pillar of cloud went from the front, to the rear of the Israelites in order to block the great illumination of the pillar of fire from the Egyptians.


Just as the “Amud HaAnan”, pillar of cloud, protected the Israelites from the arrows and projectiles of the Egyptians, so too did the IDF with God’s help,  in Operation “Amud Anan” hope to protect Israeli citizens from the rockets being shot from Gaza.


Many miracles took place the week of November 14, 2012. Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted about 421 rockets, 142 rockets fell on Gaza itself and 875 rockets fell in open areas.


The Operation Amud Anan was translated as “Operation Pillar of Defense” in order to make sure that the world knew that Israel was fighting for the sake of self defense.


On the other hand, the al Quassam Brigades had no problem calling their rocket attacks in Israeli cities and towns “hijarat sajil”, Operation Stones of Baked Clay.


May we see a true peace in the Land of Israel.