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Why was the word “mar” added to Cheshvan?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

  

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Mar has two meanings: “bitter” and “drop”—as in a drop of water.

The month of Cheshvan has a pretty bitter history for the world and the Jewish people, starting as far back as Noah’s flood which the Torah says began in Cheshvan, and continuing down through the ages. Cheshvan is also a month that is completely void of any joyous festivals or holidays—in stark contrast to its predecessor, Tishrei, which is filled with holidays (Rosh Hashanah etc.).

But “mar” meaning “drop” refers also to the rainwaters the world thirsts for during Cheshvan. Thus Cheshvan also corresponds to the constellation of Scorpio, just as the scorpion thirsts for water.

Source: Sefer Hatoda’ah

[Cheshvan, the challenge of living in the “real” world, outside the spiritual environment of Tishrei seems like a descent, a bitter pill. But it is only through this descent, this challenge, that we can reach the ultimate ascent—the “mar” in the sense of water.]

TAGS: mar cheshvan

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Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish New Year. An early autumn two day holiday marking the creation of Adam and Eve. On this day we hear the blasts of the ram's horn and accept G-d's sovereignty upon ourselves and the world. On Rosh Hashanah we pray that G-d should grant us all a sweet New Year.
Tishrei
The seventh month of the Jewish calendar. This month, which arrives in early autumn, has more holidays than any other month: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah.
Cheshvan
The eighth month of the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to October-November.
Noah
Tenth generation from Adam. Of all humankind, only he and his family survived the Flood which destroyed all civilization in the year 2106 BCE.