Shofar on the New Moon
Tiku va-chodesh shofar—
Make a tekiah on the month with the shofar
when it’s hidden/bakesseh
on the day of our chag [Sukkot] — Psalm 81:4
The moon is the image of the growth arc this time of year. It begins with Rosh Hashanah, the new moon, the first of Tishri. The new moon is barely discerned; that’s the nature of what we draw into the world — every Rosh Hashanah — something entirely new, dimly discerned, but something Godly.
It’s ba-kesseh, hidden, on Rosh Hashanah and is somewhat hidden until Sukkot, when it becomes fully plumped, like the moon.
Something new, there is so much hope in that. Every Rosh Hashanah we draw something new into the world. Like the moon, on Rosh Hashanah, the new moon of Tishri, we do not discern it. The newness, the wisdom that we draw into the world, begins to plump just as the moon. Through Rosh Hashanah, during the deep inner work of ten days of teshuvah-transformation, through the atonement of Yom Kippur, still not fully realized, plumping with the moon but still not entirely revealed until Sukkot.
On Sukkot, the newness that we draw into the world is fully expressed. Like the full moon of Sukkot, the fifteenth of the month Tishri, that which was partial, unexpressed, hidden, not quite actualized, becomes visible and realized with the full moon of Sukkot. Sukkot is the culmination of the growth arc that we celebrate during these Days of Awe.
From the kitchen
wisdom will rise
from the dinner table
the true peace
from the hidden sources of wisdom
knowledge will plump like the moon.
This could be the year.
R. Eleazar said, “this day is called
‘the concealing [keseh] for the day of our feast:
tiku va-chodesh shofar, bakesseh, l’yom chageinu [Psalm 81:4]
Because the moon is still covered and does not shine. Through what then will it shine? Through teshuvah and the sound of the shofar, as it is written, “Blessed is the people that know the trumpet sound, because, O God, they shall walk in the light of your countenance” (Psalm 89:15). On this day the moon is covered, and it does not shine until the tenth day, when Israel turns with a perfect teshuvah, so that the supernal Mother gives light to her. Hence this day is called the day of atonements (kippurim), because two lights are shedding illumination, since the higher lamp is illuminating the lower. For on this day the moon receives illumination from the supernal light and not from the light of the sun.
Zohar, 13th c.
100b – 101a
Every Rosh Hashanah new light issues from Ein Sof into the attribute of Malkhut for the entire year, to give life to the worlds Beriah, Yetzirah, and Assiyah (the three lower worlds), to nourish them, to sustain them. This light and life force contains the life force of the world, the year, the soul of the entire year, however, on Rosh Hashanah, it is still in a state of “bakesseh.” [Psalm 81:4, Tik’u va-chodesh shofar bakesseh l’yom chageinu”, Blow the shofar in the new moon, in the time “appointed” on the day of our festival, the world bakesseh means also “hidden” as well as the time “appointed”] On the new moon, what we seek is still hidden and obscured.
On Yom Kippur, it comes forth as revelation in the higher realms, and on Sukkot it is “of our festival” there is more revelation at the level of makif, and on Shemini Atzeret it comes to the level of penimi, inwardliness, and that is the meaning of the gathering on Shemini Atzeret. And after that it flows through malkhut day by day in a revelation below in the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Assiyah. And this is how the most high chesed from the level of keter is drawn into the kindnesses of atik and malchut on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and from malkhut into all the worlds.
From Kuntres Uma’ayan
R. Shalom Dov Ber Schneersohn, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe
A Blessing On the New Moon
Master of Mirrors,
let me see with the unclear mirror, the dark images,
the images that are only discerned at night,
God of the light and the dark,
release me from distractions,
bind me with invisible fibers to the deep story —
the right words, not the simple words
not the easy ones not even the sweet words
I want the true ones.
God of the right and wrong
don’t sweet talk me, draw me into the deep.
Carry me not in your pocket but sling me like a satchel
over your shoulder.
Let the truth plump like the moon,
the dark moon, the dark candle,
the candle at the hearth with all its shadows,
it’s the moon, it’s the moon, the dark candle,
the reflected dark dark dark —