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I recall that the cloud protected the people from all possible harms - weather, wild animals etc.

Was it effective against human attacks - arrows, cannonballs(kidding), etc? Could non-Jews penetrate it, like the Trojan horse?

Because throughout the Torah, no story mentioned it and the people always behave so fearfully as they are not protected at all.

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    "the people always behave so fearfully as they are not protected" where does this always happen? – Double AA Jul 21 at 1:35
  • I rem seeing that magic did not work because the clouds blocked the sun and magic needs sunlight ,need to find source – sam Jul 21 at 2:10
  • I think the cloud was either a) a metaphor that the Jews (Moshe) knew where they were going or b) a volcano somewhere in the distance that Hashem used as a signal to guide us. See Exodus decoded film. Or it could have been a miracle. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks says that sometimes the Torah was written in poetic language. If Sacks is right than the cloud may not have protected us against the Egyptians necessary. Yet it could have scared them away for a time. When that failed (because they poured into the Sea of Reeds) Hashem allowed the laws of nature to take its course and the sea collapsed. – Turk Hill Jul 21 at 4:38
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    @TurkHill - If Sacks is right... - Sacks is not right. – chortkov2 Jul 21 at 8:38
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    @Gary It's not the same cloud!! – Alaychem Jul 22 at 6:36
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Rosh Hashanah 2b-3a

For it is written [in connection with the latter], ‘After he had smitten Sihon’; and when Aaron died Sihon was still alive, as it is written And the Canaanite the king of Arad heard. What was the report that he heard? He heard that Aaron had died and that the clouds of glory had departed, and he judged that it was now permitted to attack Israel; and this is intimated in the verse, And all the congregation saw [wa-yiru] that Aaron was dead, [commenting on which] R. Abbahu said, Do not read wayiru, but wa-yerau [and they were seen], [the next word being translated] in accordance with the dictum of Resh Lakish; for Resh Lakish said, Ki has four significations — ‘if’, ‘perhaps’, ‘but’ ‘for’.

(Soncino translation)

It thus appears that the clouds prevented them from being attacked.

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The cloud was an effective barrier during קריעת ים סוף

וַיִּסַּע עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן, מִפְּנֵיהֶם, וַיַּעֲמֹד, מֵאַחֲרֵיהֶם.
וַיָּבֹא בֵּין מַחֲנֵה מִצְרַיִם, וּבֵין מַחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל, וַיְהִי הֶעָנָן וְהַחֹשֶׁךְ, וַיָּאֶר אֶת-הַלָּיְלָה; וְלֹא-קָרַב זֶה אֶל-זֶה, כָּל-הַלָּיְלָה

According to Rashi, your joke on cannonballs is actually serious (Shmot 14,19)

להבדיל בין מחנה מצרים ובין מחנה ישראל ולקבל חצים ובליסטראות של מצרים

"(The cloud) separated between Israel camp and the Egyptians, (To) receive arrows and ballista projectiles of the Egyptians".

According to the midrash (מדרש תנחומא חומש שמות (פרשת בשלח) פרק יג סימן ג) It's the same cloud that killed the vermin and prevented other harms.

About the the "wrapping clouds", they were also able to block enemies, according to Rashi: (Shmot 25, 19):

"כל הנחשלים אחריך" - חסרי כח מחמת חטאם שהיה הענן פולטן"

"(Amalek could pick off) all the people that fell behind (the camp, because) they were defenseless due to their sins because the cloud expelled them out"

So, Amalek could not get in the cloud. Not even sinners Jews could get in!

  • Thank you. it appears that you refer to a different cloud altogether. The could that went in front of the people and absorbed the arrows was seemingly different from the cloud that allegedly wrapped the people around. – Al Berko Jul 22 at 10:07
  • @AlBerko You almost got me, but I'm right, that's the same cloud. I edited my answer with proper sources. – Alaychem Jul 22 at 10:57
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    Except ballistae weren't invented yet. Rashi (or whoever he's quoting) is just using a contemporary weapon as an illustration. – Double AA Jul 22 at 11:23
  • @DoubleAA True, also ballistas are heavy siege weapons, you don't bring them to a pursue. – Alaychem Jul 22 at 11:45
  • Sure, which means even according to Rashi it's not serious. – Double AA Jul 22 at 11:46

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