not exactly imagining shapes in the clouds

There are two ways in which the word ענן - cloud is used on Yom Kippur. The first is that HaShem tells us that he will make our sins like clouds. (מחיתי כעב פשעיך וכענן חטאתיך – I've erased your crimes like a mist and your transgressions like a cloud)

Secondly, in the Torah section we read on Yom Kippur, HaShem says, "In the cloud will I appear on the Kaporet (cover of the ark of the covenant)" (בענן אראה על הכפורת)

When we connect the two, it becomes clear that our past transgressions can be turned into a vehicle through which we can see HaShem. (through kaparah (repentance and rectification) which has the same root as kaporet.)


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