Has the cloud evaporated from your inner/outer home?

  • ilan hermann
Rav Yochanan said of G-d himself: "Wherever you find His (G-d’s) greatness there you find His humility." At the end of the week’s Torah reading, it narrates about the house of G-d, the Mishkan, in the inaugural raising up of this auspicious edifice. Resting on the Mishkan was the Divine cloud, which bore such intensity, that the place was unapproachable. Similarly, the Haftorah describes Solomon’s Temple, how the Divine cloud that resided in and on it, was of such potency, that “no kohen could enter”.

It seems that prior to man’s entry into the house of G-d, the light is glorious, bright, stunning. When man enters, the light is diminished. Man is of course mortal, flawed and prone to error and sin. The cloud, expressing the G-dly force in its undiminished state, must be removed, as its purity is incongruent with man’s imperfect nature.

This theme plays such a fundamental role, it is most poignantly brought to bear at the very beginning of the Torah. G-d is ever present in the Garden of Eden and then Adam doing his thing results in the dislocation of the Divine presence from that space. 

Perhaps the explanation of what is being conveyed can be understood using the analogy of a newly-wed couple. As they enter their home on the first night of marriage, the energy is potent, pure and pristine.

Each is like an angel in the eye of the other - perfect, without imperfection. But, they are not angels and, as personalities interact, and as characters check, the impression of perfection is lost.

The initial light that was so bright, that inhabited the space, is diminished and evaporates. More accurately, “the perception” of light that each had, is disappointed and dissipates.

But, what is now introduced, is a real, engaging, personal encounter with two souls and bodies and the light that emerges through their relationship, while not as flashy and bright, is real, meaningful and has depth.

G-d doesn’t want relationships with perfection, with angels, or humans who think they are perfect.

When He removed His light, it was to invite something He cherishes far more than sporting radiance; a relationship with His creation, both in a communal sense and with every person individually.

This is the meaning of: "Wherever you find His greatness there you find His humility.” That the intense light is visible (greatness) and then set aside (humility) to invite a relationship and that is the real expression of “greatness”.

So, when the light feels like it is gone or distant, don’t get reduced to depression, sadness or dejection. Rather, understand that a process is at play, that you in your flawed, human capacity, you are being called to something far greater than superficial light, whose external glimmer may be blinding, but the depth of which is shallow.

The same is of course in our interpersonal relationships.

So, embrace yourself with all the imperfections that make up your whole and recognise that as you, you have been invited to create the ultimate home, shining a greater light than any that suggests “perfection” and let that, inspire you to climb. 


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