One is the tragic inability of Israelis, Religious Israelis especially, to live with any type of complexity. Everything is a matter of all or nothing at all. Moreover, that 'everything' is extremely rigid. We have set the minimum standard of religious observance so high, so strict and so sub-group specific, as to exclude myriads of Jews from the Torah, and to drive many others out. There is no room for struggle. There is no room for variation, even if the Torah does allow for it. There is only judgement, לחומרא.
Another is our obsession with externals. We are obsessed with how things look. We give absolutely no time or thought to the content of our observance. The obsession with externals means that we have failed to develop the tools to deal with the outside world. We possess neither courage to explore, nor the humility to put on the brakes. I am not saying that everyone can do it. I am not saying that everyone can succeed. I am saying that if we teach courage and humility, many more can come closer (or stay) under the wings of the Shekhina.
Speaking of the Shekhina, where is the Ribbono shel Olam in Srugim? Where is the Ribbono shel Olam in our prayers (whether quick or slow)? Where is the Ribbono shel Olam in our inter-personal relations? Where is the Ribbono shel Olam in the idolization of Torah Learners and Rabbis? The answer is, apparently, nowhere. We read about Hester Panim ( Deus Absconditus ) in last week's Parsha. We complain about Hester Panim in our lives, in politics, in the economy. Who, though, is hiding from whom?
It's almost Yom Kippur. The sanctity of the day is already tangible. It's in the very air we breathe. The words of the Kotzker are perhaps a cliche, but cliche's are there because they are true.
וואו געפינט זיך דער בורא עולם? וואו מאן לאזט עם אריין
Where is God? Where you let Him in.
It is of all this that I hope to speak on Hoshana Rabba.