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Rosh Chodesh: Chesvan
Chesvan is the second month of the Jewish calendar counting from Rosh Hashanah (the eighth month from Nisan). Cheshvan is the only month in the Hebrew calendar that does not have any holidays or special mitzvot.
Which is it Chesvan or Marchesvan? Mar means “bitter” because it comes after the holiday-rich month of Tishrei, the month of Marcheshvan is devoid of any holidays and it is during this month that Sarah (and Rachel) passed away. However, some think there is a positive side to the meaning of ‘Mar’ as the Hebrew word mar also means “a drop of water,” as in the verse “like a drop (mar) from a bucket” and during this month Jews in the land of Israel on the 7th of Chesvan add a prayer for rain ‘give dew and rain’. Thus, we say mar as a prayer for rain. If we reflect more about the importance of the gift of rain (water) as a day when rain falls is as great as the day on which heaven and earth were created. There is no life without water.
It is believed that the month of Chesvan is the anticlimax of the previous month of Tishri where we had so many holidays and spiritual experiences. Now we are invited to take a kind of ‘spiritual’ vacation, as we enter Chesvan and begin to experience real-life, reality begins and we return to the daily “mundane” grind. This will be a good time to take the inspiration and all that we gained in the month of Tishri and integrate it into our lives, learning how to balance the spiritual and the physical elements of our life in unison and harmony.
Presented with the challenging times were are currently living it seems appropriate to use this month to recharge our souls with positive energy to carry us through the heavy months of winter.
Sarah Blau in her article ‘Back to normal’ writes, “A small town in Russia had the answer. At the closing of the final holiday of the month, Simcha Torah, the rebbes in the city of Lubavitch would proclaim, Ve-Yakov halach le-darcho (“And Jacob went on his way”). Jacob’s journey was symbolic of every Jew’s return to “normal life.” The name Yaakov (Jacob) has roots in the word eikev, or “heel.” The heel connotes lifelessness, serving as a fitting metaphor for the routine and the regular.
How should one go about the transition from holiday to workday? “In His way,” in G‑d’s way. The eleven remaining months of the year are the majority of one’s life, and they are meant to be utilized for both function and purpose. G‑d’s intention is that we infuse the delight of “vacation” into our everyday activities, bringing meaning and holiness to every aspect of our lives. Amen.
Weekday Morning Shacharit Service: https://zoom.us/j/93902401402?pwd=dGlOR2dEcGs1RVc0OVFwdkFtOVo5UT09