“וַיהוָה הֹלֵךְ לִפְנֵיהֶם יוֹמָם בְּעַמּוּד עָנָן, לַנְחֹתָם הַדֶּרֶךְ, וְלַיְלָה בְּעַמּוּד אֵשׁ, לְהָאִיר לָהֶם–לָלֶכֶת, יוֹמָם וָלָיְלָה”
“And YHVH went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.”
The Zohar tells us that ‘went before them by day’ is for Abraham, Right Column, Chessed, ‘in a pillar of cloud’ is for Isaac, Left column, Gevurah and ‘to lead them along the way’ is for Jacob, Central column, Tiferet. ‘by night in a pillar of fire to give them light’ is for King David, Malchut.
The Zohar explains that God wanted them to go during day and night to show them that he protects them. Another reason is to fulfill the promise he made to Jacob in Genesis 46:3,4
“וַיֹּאמֶר, אָנֹכִי הָאֵל אֱלֹהֵי אָבִיךָ; אַל-תִּירָא מֵרְדָה מִצְרַיְמָה, כִּי-לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל אֲשִׂימְךָ שָׁם”
“Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation.”
“אָנֹכִי, אֵרֵד עִמְּךָ מִצְרַיְמָה, וְאָנֹכִי, אַעַלְךָ גַם-עָלֹה”
“I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again.”
“וַיֹּאמֶר לְאַבְרָם, יָדֹעַ תֵּדַע כִּי-גֵר יִהְיֶה זַרְעֲךָ בְּאֶרֶץ לֹא לָהֶם, וַעֲבָדוּם, וְעִנּוּ אֹתָם–אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת, שָׁנָה”
“Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.”
“וְגַם אֶת-הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר יַעֲבֹדוּ, דָּן אָנֹכִי; וְאַחֲרֵי-כֵן יֵצְאוּ, בִּרְכֻשׁ גָּדוֹל”
“But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come out with great wealth.”
Even if the road is long, hard and painful, we should be certain that God will keep his promises. We should remember that we are slave to the material world and must follow its rules to keep the body alive. It’s not easy but when we remember God’s promises delivered through the prophets we can have comfort.
My personal favorite God’s promise is also my goal to be part of the fulfillment of the prophecy from Isaiah 25:8
“בִּלַּע הַמָּוֶת לָנֶצַח, וּמָחָה אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה דִּמְעָה מֵעַל כָּל-פָּנִים; וְחֶרְפַּת עַמּוֹ, יָסִיר מֵעַל כָּל-הָאָרֶץ–כִּי יְהוָה, דִּבֵּר”
“He will swallow up death forever; and the YHVH GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for YHVH has spoken.”