Traffic was terrible. We were on our way to Washington, DC for Shabbat and we were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. We would pick up speed for a few minutes, and then everything would stop again. We were all becoming agitated and grouchy.
We noticed that the man in the car to our right was constantly staring at us, so I responded as the mature man I am, and stared back. He began to laugh and gesture, “What?”
Noticing the Italian flag on the back of his car, when I lowered the window to speak with him, Debbie, who was driving, began speaking to him in Italian. We soon learned that he, as I, was born in Baltimore, and his grandparents came from Italy, as did Debbie’s. We were almost “Mishpacha,” family. Here we were making friends with someone else as we were driving. The conversation continued even when we picked up speed.
It was only when he moved too far away to continue our conversation that we realized that we enjoyed the conversation so much that we forgot to be annoyed by the traffic. Our running conversation distracted us from the exasperating traffic. At that moment I understood why the same cloud that was the manifestation of God’s Presence in the Mishkan, was used as the indicator that the camp had to move. The Cloud was our reminder that our conversation with God is not only when we are settled in our homes, and everything is stable and fine. Our conversation with God is a running conversation. It continues even “U’vilechticha baderech,” “When you are traveling in the way,” even when we are in annoying situations, even when everything seems unstable, even when we are aggravated.
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