main postsRosh HashanahTishrei

Good Morning, World

On Rosh Hashanah we pray, hear the shofar, eat an apple with honey and bless each other with “a good and sweet year.” But what happens inside, in our deep, concealed dimensions? What happens not only inside us, but with God, as well?

Slumber and Awakening

First, let us remember what happened on Rosh Hashanah. “This is the day, the beginning of Your deeds, a memory of the first day.”[1] Rosh Hashanah is our birthday, the day of the creation of man on the sixth day of creation. This birthday is also our wedding anniversary: On the day that Adam was created, it was quickly concluded that “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a helpmate opposite him.”[2] God performs a surgical procedure on Adam and then brings him his wife, Eve.

A similar process, say the Kabbalists, takes place on every Rosh Hashanah in the upper worlds. Just as Adam fell into a slumber, on the night of Rosh Hashanah it is as if God Himself is in a slumber. This slumber, called ‘dormita’ ends when we blow the shofar. The shofar triggers an entire process in which God ultimately sits on the seat of compassion and inscribes us for a good and peaceful life.

A Helpmate Opposite Him

To better understand this, we will return to Adam. His slumber came after failed attempts to find a mate. He considers all the creatures that God created and does not find a suitable match. “And for Adam, he did not find a helpmate opposite him.”[3] It seems that at this point Adam feels despair and frustration. The slumber is not just an escape, for Adam did not go to sleep on his own initiative. It is God who brought the slumber upon him. This slumber is more of a “time-out” – forget the reality that you are experiencing and set sail on the wings of your imagination. Be open to change. And then, when you awaken, you will see what you have been searching for standing in front of you. Moreover, you will understand that this ‘other’ was with you all the time. She was a part of you. It was simply necessary to cut her away from you, so that you may connect to her face-to-face. “This time, a bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, this will be called woman.”[4]

Similarly, on Rosh Hashanah – and even more precisely, at the end of the previous year – God says, ‘Another year has passed and where are we holding? Where is My world? Is there anyone in My world with whom I can truly communicate, face-to-face? Does anyone want Me? Is there anyone here who wants My kingdom?’ Things look a bit dusty and passion-less. Everyone here is sleeping. Who can be My helpmate opposite Me?’

It is as if God brings a slumber upon Himself. As if He says, ‘I do not want to continue to enliven creation because I once wanted it or because of a dry sense of responsibility. I am stopping everything and going to sleep. Wake Me up when there is something to wake up for.’ All the vitality of last year has already expired and in the meantime, the world is holding its breath, hanging by a virtual thread. This slumber is full of anticipation. The old year is now behind us and we dream of a new, good year.

The Arousing Shofar

What can arouse God from His slumber? We can, with the simple sound of the tekiah when we blow the shofar. The tekiah is our call to God. It is still without words, without any details. It is an expression of the essence of the simple desire to connect. From our place, no matter how distant, we throw a long rope that manages to attach to the root of all roots – to God, when He is ensconced within Himself, in the slumber called dormita. “God said, ‘Say before Me on Rosh Hashanah malchuyot (kingdoms) zichronot (memories) and shofarot (shofar). Kingdoms so that you will make Me King over you. Memories so that your memory will rise before Me for good. And with what? With the shofar.”[5]

The tekiah is our message to God: There is someone here in this world who truly wants You, someone who wants You to be king upon him. And it is not a stranger, but rather, literally a “bone from Your bones” – for our souls are literally a part of God.

When this is the case, it is worthwhile for God to wake up. He is then willing to renew His kingdom and renew Creation. “God, the God of Israel is King and His kingdom rules all.”[6] Not because this is the way it was last year, but because now, everything is beginning anew, a new light of the new year. This light never existed before, for all the years since Creation are gone, they are no longer relevant. Now a new year is beginning, a year that awakens us from sleep and arouses us from slumber.


[1] Rosh Hashanah 27a:15.

[2] Genesis 2:18.

[3] Genesis 2:20.

[4] Genesis 2:23.

[5] Rosh Hashanah 16a,

[6] Rosh Hashanah morning prayers.

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