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Wisdom for the month of Cheshvan. By Laya Lurie

Wisdom for the month of Cheshvan. By Laya Lurie

Wisdom for the month of Cheshvan. By Laya Lurie


Cheshvan is the second month of the year . It is also called ‘Mar –Cheshvan, and is refered to as ‘Bul’ . Some commentaries explain that the name ‘Bul’ is derived from the word mabul-flood.

This is the month that the rain begins, which is connected to what we read about Noah and the flood. It is also the beginning of autumn, the grass and fields wither, and plowing and planting begin in Eretz Yisrael.

Mar’ means 2 things : “drop of water” – which reflects the hope that the month is blessed with bountiful rains.
“Bitter” – referring to the fact that there a no festivals or chagim during the month of Cheshvan.

We are told, that in Messianic times, Cheshvan will be ‘rewarded’ and the Third Temple will be inaugurated in this month.

Some people also refer to this month as ‘Ram’ – exalted – which are the same letters as Mar (bitter) but are inverted.

Part of our work of this month is to turn a potentially ‘bitter’ month into a very joyous and exalted one.


How do we do this?

Cheshvan is a month of real spiritual and personal transformation. It’s a time of integration and reflection, as we think about the rollercoaster ride that we went on during the month of Tishrei. All our emotions and senses were peaked as we celebrated the New Year, 10 days later – Yom Kippur- a solemn, serious day of fasting , Succot, Shmini Atzeret, and culminating in the joyous festival of Simchat Torah. The intensity of the ups and downs is reflective of the range of emotions we may go through in the year – it all happens within the month of Tishrei- and then there is complete quiet….

Cheshvan is that month that we re-enter our normal routine of life, and the work to consolidate and integrate and restart our year with a fresh, new approach and let go of ‘the old’ and feeling inspired to make the changes in ourselves and our lives.

It corresponds to the astrological sign of Scorpio – which is one of the water signs, and the energy of the month relates to deep, intense, underwater,underground exploration – going beneath the surface.

This is the month of challenges and spiritual opportunities to let go of the past, leave things that don’t work for us- behind, shed parts of ourselves – and identify with the leaves that are turning brown and falling off the trees. It is connected with ‘loss’ and a sense of falling.

The Hebrew letter connected to the month of Cheshvan is ‘nun’- associated with the word ‘nefilah’ – falling. The Kabbalah teaches that often there needs to be a descent in order to ascend, and often because of a descent a person can rise higher than before.



This month of healing is through the sense of smell which is the most refined and spiritual of all the senses. Smell is the one sense that was not involved in the sin of Adam and Eve (Chava) in the Garden of Eden. It is the sense that is like the intuition of the soul and is sensitized and heightened this month. Fragrance is connected to the soul and through smell we learn about the essence of things.

The Hebrew tribe associated with the month of Cheshvan is Menashe – who was Joseph’s first born son. The letter’s of the word Menashe, – when rearranged, spell ‘neshama’ which means ‘soul’ or ‘neshima’ which means breath. Both are connected with the sense of smell, connecting to our intuition, and our soul’s purpose in this world.

May this Cheshvan be the month of real transformation and integration for ourselves and Klal Yisrael.

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