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    In the wilderness – B’midbar

    There is a theological cliché that says one is never so close to God as you are on a mountain.

    There may be truth in the cliche, but in this week’s sidra the Torah has a different view – that you’re never so close to God as you are B’midbar, “in the wilderness”.

    A wilderness is a fright and a mess, but in the midst of the wild you see little flowers peeking out cheekily with their notes of colour, you see perfectly formed leaves with their greenery intact, you see birds flitting around and chirping whilst building their nests.

    In this tohu vavohu, where is God? He is in the emergence of life, in the joy of living, in the creation of order amidst chaos.

    God is also there in the cacophony of civilisation, when the world is mixed up and screaming, when Divinely-sourced ideas and emotions come forth and hold their own.

    This doesn’t mean that we should deliberately devastate Nature and turn it into a wilderness, but if a wilderness happens to exist, we need never despair.

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