Just as God envelops Himself in a cloud of mystery and invites each individual to penetrate it, so do we fashion our own clouds that prevent us from attaining closeness with God
The human clouds are formed by self-absorption.
What is the substance of the human clouds that hide God’s radiance?
1. For the politician, arrogance
2. For the investor, a rising or falling stock market
3. For the accountant, ways to avoid paying taxes
4. For the retiree, retention of the zest of youth
5. For the businessman, the pursuit of wealth
6. For the hostess, serving the perfect meal
7. For the grandparents, pride in their grandchildren
8. For the professor, a model class
Each one of us creates a cloud relative to our particular circumstances.
In and of themselves, these actions are noble, but they can form a cloud that separates us from God.
The cloud is thickest when we attribute our joys, our skills, our accomplishments, our accrued social honor and wealth to our own efforts, and we forget that there is a higher power that influences what we do and what we have. In short, when we look inward, instead of outward.
Rabbi Joseph Solveithick asked who has to destroy the cloud? Whose task is it to reveal God t o the world? Man in general and the Jewish people in particular. The text of Jewish mystical literature, the Kabbalah describes God as a King tied up in chains who cannot extricate Himself by his own efforts. It is we who have to unchain Him so that His revelation will be acknowledged by all. It is we who have to destroy the cloud that serves as a barrier between us and Him.
When God said to Avraham -“Go out of your land”, He meant, Now that you have discovered Me, you have to reveal Me to the world. “Go out into the world and tell them about Me”.
When a Jew reveals the essence of God, this is “zivug” -coupling, a unification of the divine and the human. It is a holy act.
The “kedushah” – holiness – spreads over the entire world and the individual is enriched in everything – thinking differently, acting differently, seeing differently, feeling differently, a release of tension, a sense of serenity.
In conclusion, Yom Kippur is the time when we become aware of the cloud surrounding God and the clouds that we have created that block our access to Him.
How do we remove these clouds? In three ways:
1. By becoming more conscious of the presence and assistance of God in everything we do.
2. By being thankful for His blessings,
3. And by being so self-aware as Jews that, in public and private, we sanctify God’s name – “Kiddush hashem” –by acting according to Judaism’s highest ethical and moral standards.