[Seph. Heb. khesh-vahn; Ashk. Heb. khesh-vahn; Eng. khesh-vuhn, hesh-]
Cheshvan (Hebrew: חֶשְׁוָן, Standard Ḥešvan Tiberian Ḥešwān), short for Marcheshvan (Hebrew: מַרְחֶשְׁוָן, Standard Marḥešvan Tiberian Marḥešwān; from Akkadian waraḫsamnu, literally "eighth month") is the second month of the civil year and the eighth month of the ecclesiastical on the Hebrew calendar. In the Bible it is called Bul (). It is an autumn month of 29 days, except in "complete" years, in which it has 30 days (see Hebrew calendar: Modern calendar). Cheshvan usually occurs in October–November on the Gregorian calendar.

Given the Akkadian etymology, it seems likely the מ and the ו were switched at some point in time, since y-r-ḥ is the Semitic root for "moon" (and thus also "month"), and s-m-n is the Semitic root for "eight". Since then, the first two letters מַר (mar) have been reinterpreted as the Hebrew word for bitter, alluding to the fact that the month has no holidays or fasts.

Interestingly, the Ethiopian Jewish community celebrates Sigd on the 29th day of Cheshvan (50 days from Yom Kippur, analogous to counting 50 days from Pesach to Shavuos), as recognized by the Israeli Knesset July 2008.

Events in Cheshvan

7 Cheshvan - V'tein Tal u-Matar ("Deliver Dew and Rain"), a prayer, is added to the Shemoneh Esrei prayers in Israel. If no rain has fallen by the 17th of the month, special prayers are added for rain

Cheshvan in Jewish history

3 Cheshvan - (1850) - Death of Rabbi Israel of Ruzhin

7 Cheshvan - (1933) - Death of Rabbi Meir Shapiro

  • The death of Rabbi Meir Shapiro of Lublin, who founded the daily "page a day" regimen of Talmudic study which is known as Daf Yomi.

9 Cheshvan - (1327) - Death of the Rosh, Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel

  • Rabbi Asher died in Toledo on Cheshvan 9 on the Hebrew year, 5088 (1327 BCE).

11 Cheshvan - (1797) - Death of Rabbi Nachum of Chernobyl

12 Cheshvan - (1995) - Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin

17 Cheshvan - (2105 BCE) - Great Flood began

  • The rain started on the 17th of Cheshvan of the Hebrew year, 1656 (2105 BCE), flooding the entire earth. Only Noah and his family is said to have survived, in the ark (Noah's Ark) he built (by Divine command), and a pair of each animal species.

17 Cheshvan - (960 BCE) - First Temple completed

  • King Solomon completed the building of the First Temple (it was not inaugurated until the following Tishrei however)

18 Cheshvan - (1990) - Assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane

23 Cheshvan - (137 BCE) - Hasmonean holiday

  • In Talmudic times, Cheshvan 23 was commemorated as the day on which the stones of the altar which were defiled by the Greeks were removed from the Holy Temple.

27 Cheshvan - (2104 BCE) - Flood ends

  • On the 27th of Cheshvan of the Hebrew year 1657 (2104 BCE) "the earth dried" (Genesis 8:14), which finished the 365-day duration of the great flood which is said to have wiped out all life on earth except for the eight human beings and the animals (two of each species) that were on Noah's ark. On this day, God is said to have commanded Noah to "Come out of the ark" and repopulate, settle and civilize the earth.


* Chabad: This Month in Jewish History

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