Art by Rivka Korf Studio
Rosh Hashanah is the only holiday that begins on the first of the month, when the moon is hidden. The Alter Rebbe explains that this alludes to the concealment of Divine Chochmah, the "wisdom" with which the world was established. When the moon is hidden, at the end and beginning of each year, this wisdom is also hidden and withdrawn to its source, to be Divinely reawakened and re-energized.
The intensity of the light that is elicited into the world below has the potential every year to be greater than that of the preceding years; the level of intensity is determined by the strength with which we call it forth. On Rosh Hashanah, we affect this light through blowing the shofar and praying. This cycle of renewal is based, kabbalistically, on the slumber into which G-d put Adam on the first Rosh Hashanah, during which the mochin — the supernal intellectual attributes — were withdrawn, just as the human intellect is withdrawn during sleep.
Similarly, as our intellect and strength are revived by our daily prayers, the supernal wisdom is also affected. The blast of the shofar awakens us to pray with more intensity. May we be mindful, as we hear the shofar blast, that our intense prayers can draw this wisdom down to us as the year begins. But we do not have to wait for Rosh Hashanah to access and accrue this intellectual wherewithal.
We count the years on the first of Tishrei, but our prayers count every day.
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