Zohar (13th cent, Moshe de Leon) 2:184
Blow the shofar on the new moon, on the covering for our festival day (Ps 81:4)-
In order to break that covering, by which the moon is covered and can’t shine.
When [we] awaken the shofar [in our world] the sound issuing from it strikes the air, splitting firmaments until it rises to that mighty rock covering the moon.
Once Compassion has been aroused below [by us], so too above [in the Divine realm]]; another, supernal shofar is awakened, emitting a sound that is Compassion; and sound meets sound, Compassion meets Compassion. {Excerpted and Adapted from Pritzker Zohar, Dr. Daniel Matt]
Traditionally we hope and pray on the high holidays that we can somehow move god, who sits on a throne of judgement on rosh hashana, writing our fate in a book of life, to a seat, or stance of compassion by the end of yom kippur, so that no matter what we’ve done during the year, we’ll be forgiven.
But the Zohar, the 13th-century book of kabbalah, offers us a different image. The line from Psalms, Blow the shofar on the new moon, ends with these words: "on the covering for our festival day. " The Zohar takes this to mean that the moon, which is the symbol of the nurturing, compassionate feminine divine presence, is covered over - that is why the new moon is hidden. What’s covering the moon? all the things that tend to separate us and cover over our own hearts- judgment, fear, anger.
We blow the shofar “In order to break that covering, by which the moon is covered and can’t shine.”.
In the mystical imagination, the sound of the shofar is the voice of compassion. When that sound reaches the heavens, there is a divine, supernal shofar that emits the sound of compassion in response, Our sound meets divine sound, Our Compassion meets divine Compassion. are awakening our compassion- breaking, or maybe softening, the covering on our own hearts. And when we do that, the mystics imagine a divine, supernal shofar is sounded in response, so by Yom Kippur which the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, when the moon is close to full, we experience in the almost full moon divine compassion shining through. We're not waiting for, but are actively making this happen by letting our own compassion shine through.
Amanda Gorman, Compass (excerpt)
Lost as we feel, there is no better
Compass than compassion.
We find ourselves not by being
The most seen, but the most seeing.
We watch a toddler
Freewheel through warm grass,
Not fleeing, just running, the way rivers do,
For it is in their unfettered nature.
We smile, our whole face cleared
By that single dazzling thing.
How could we not be altered.
Consider the first two lines of the poem.
  • What has been your “compass” in the past year (ie, what has informed your thoughts, feelings, and actions- fear, hope,etc)?
  • What guidance or direction are you seeking for the year to come?
  • What might it mean for compassion to be a compass for you?
What “covers over” your ability to access compassion?
  • Is there a “single dazzling thing” that alters your perspective and elicits compassion?
How does the suggestion that “We find ourselves not by being "the most seen, but the most seeing” resonate (or not) with you?
  • How do you yearn to be seen?
  • What situations or people (including yourself!) might you see differently?
וְהַהוּא סִטְרָא אַחֲרָא, קַיְּימָא קְלִיפָא תַּקִּיפָא, דְּלָא יָכִיל לְאִתָּבְּרָא, בַּר בְּהַהוּא עֵיטָא דְּקוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא יָהִיב לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, דִּכְתִּיב תִּקְעוּ בַחֹדֶשׁ שׁוֹפָר בַּכֶּסֶה לְיוֹם חַגֵּנוּ. בְּגִין לְתַּבְרָא הַהוּא כִּסֵּה דְּאִתְחֲפְיָא סִיהֲרָא, וְלָא נָהִיר.
וְכַד מִתְּעֲרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְתַתָּא בְּשׁוֹפָר, הַהוּא קַלָּא דְּנָפִיק מִשּׁוֹפָר, בָּטַשׁ בַּאֲוִירָא, וּבָקַע רְקִיעִין, עַד דְּסַלְּקָא לְגַבֵּי הַהוּא טִנָרָא תַּקִּיפָא, (נ"א סטרא אחרא) דְּחָפֵי לְסִיהֲרָא, אַשְׁגַּח, וְאַשְׁכַּח אִתְעֲרוּתָא דְּרַחֲמֵי, כְּדֵין הַהוּא דְּסָלִיק וְקַיְּימָא לְעֵילָּא, אִתְעַרְבָב. כְּדֵין הַהוּא קַלָּא קַיְּימָא, וְאַעְבַּר הַהוּא דִּינָא, וְכֵיוָן דִּלְתַתָּא אַתְּעָרוּ רַחֲמֵי, הָכִי נָמֵי לְעֵילָּא, אִתְּעַר שׁוֹפְרָא אַחֲרָא עִלָּאָה, וְאַפִּיק קָלָא דְּאִיהוּ רַחֲמֵי, וְאַתְעָרְעוּ קָלָא בְּקָלָא, רַחֲמֵי בְּרַחֲמֵי, וּבְאִתְעָרוּתָא דִּלְתַתָּא, אִתְּעַר הָכִי נָמֵי לְעֵילָּא.
וְאִי תֵּימָא, הֵיךְ יָכִיל קָלָא דִּלְתַתָּא, אוֹ אִתְּעָרוּתָא דִּלְתַתָּא לְאַתְעֲרָא, הָכִי נָמֵי. תָּא חֲזֵי, עָלְמָא תַּתָּאָה, קַיְּימָא לְקַבְּלָא תָּדִיר, וְהוּא אִקְרֵי אֶבֶן טָבָא. וְעָלְמָא עִלָּאָה לָא יָהִיב לֵיהּ, אֶלָּא כְּגַוְונָא דְּאִיהוּ קַיְּימָא. אִי אִיהוּ קַיְּימָא בִּנְהִירוּ דְּאַנְפִּין מִתַּתָּא, כְּדֵין הָכִי נַהֲרִין לֵיהּ מִלְעֵילָּא. וְאִי אִיהוּ קַיְּימָא בַּעֲצִיבוּ, יַהֲבִין לֵיהּ דִּינָא בְּקָבְלֵיהּ.
כְּגַוְונָא דָּא, (תהילים ק׳:ב׳) עִבְדוּ אֶת יְיָ' בְּשִׂמְחָה. חֶדְוָה דְּבַּר נָשׁ, מָשִׁיךְ לְגַבֵּיהּ חֶדְוָה אַחֲרָא עִלָּאָה. הָכִי נָמֵי הַאי עָלְמָא תַּתָּאָה, כְּגַוְונָא דְּאִיהִי אִתְעַטְּרָת, הָכִי אַמְשִׁיךְ מִלְעֵילָּא. בְּגִין כָּךְ מְקַדְּמֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאַתְעֲרֵי בַּשּׁוֹפָר קָלָא דְּאִיהוּ (רזא דרחמי) כָּלִיל בְּאֶשָּׁא וּמַיָא וְרוּחָא, וְאִתְעָבִיד חַד, וְסַלְּקָא לְעֵילָּא, וּבָטַשׁ בְּהַאי אֶבֶן טָבָא, וְאִצְטְבַּע בְּאִינּוּן גַּוְונִין דְּהַאי קָלָא, וּכְדֵין כְּמָה דְּאִתְחַזִיאָת, הָכִי מָשִׁיךְ מִלְּעֵילָּא.
וְכֵיוָן דְּאִתַּקְנַת בְּהַאי קָלָּא. רַחֲמֵי נַפְקֵי מִלְּעֵילָּא, וְשַׁרְיָין עָלָהּ, וְאִתְכְּלִילָא בְּרַחֲמֵי, מִתַּתָּא וּמִלְּעֵילָּא. וּכְדֵין אִתְעַרְבָּב סִטְרָא אַחֲרָא. (אסתכל וחמי בנהירו דאנפין) וְאִתְחַלָּשׁ תֻּקְפֵּיהּ, וְלָא יָכִיל לְקַטְרְגָא. וְהַאי אֶבֶן טָבָא, קַיְּימָא בִּנְהִירוּ דְּאַנְפִּין, מִכָּל סִטְרִין, בִּנְהִירוּ דִּלְתַתָּא, וּבִנְהִירוּ דִּלְעֵילָּא.
אֵימָתַי קַיְּימָא בִּנְהִירוּ דִּלְעֵילָּא, הֲוֵי אוֹמֵר בְּיוֹמָא דְּכִפּוּרֵי. וּבְיוֹמָא דְּכִפּוּרֵי אִתְנְהִיר הַהוּא אֶבֶן טָבָא, בִּנְהִירוּ דִּלְעֵילָּא, מִגּוֹ נְהִירוּ דְּעָלְמָא דְּאָתֵי, (ואתערבב ההוא דלטורא) וּכְדֵין מְתַקְּנִין יִשְׂרָאֵל לְתַתָּא חַד שָׂעִיר, וּמְשַׁדְּרִין לְהַאי מַדְבְּרָא תַּקִּיפָא, דְּאִיהוּ שַׁלְטָא עָלֵיהּ.
תִּקְע֣וּ בַחֹ֣דֶשׁ שׁוֹפָ֑ר בַּ֝כֵּ֗סֶה לְי֣וֹם חַגֵּֽנוּ׃
Blow the horn on the new moon,on the full moon for our feast day.