We have entered the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. One of the unique things about Cheshvan is that there are no holidays, festivals, or observances. This month is also known as MarChesvan. One explanation for this alternative name is that mar in Hebrew means bitter, and reflects the sadness and harshness we feel during a month with nothing to celebrate. This is especially true after coming out of the holiday rich month of Tishrei, where we observe Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah! Wow!
The month of Cheshvan brings a palpable shift in energy. The intensity of the High Holy days has waned. Liturgically we now pray for rain, rather than dew. On the Gregorian calendar, daylight savings falls during this time. The days grow colder and darker.
True, the month of Cheshvan does not have any designated festival days–marked times on the calendar to experience holiness. Maybe we feel sad about that. However, the potential for holiness exists within every day, within every moment. During this “empty” time on the Jewish calendar, we have the opportunity to create our own holy moments, our own special connections. Rather than plug into a prescribed holiday with all its rituals and details, we take on the challenge of finding the holy within the mundane. As such, we transform the regular into something sacred. This makes Cheshvan potentially one of the holiest months of the year.
Each day of Cheshvan is ripe with this kind of potential. May MarCheshvan be a month of peace and clarity. In this clear and peaceful time, may we experience many marvelous, holy moments.