By Rabbi David Baum
Rosh Chodesh is supposed to be a happy time – but this month, is kind of bitter.Today is Rosh Chodesh Heshvan but the month is commonly called Marcheshvan.The month is related to an Akadian word which was the 8th month of the Babylonian calendar. There is a tradition in Judaism to emphasis the bitterness when we say Marcheshvan, Mar, the bitter, and then Cheshvan – the bitter. The rabbis say it’s bitter because there are no Jewish holidays in the month.But to be honest, as rabbi of a busy shul, maybe it’s good to have one month without a Jewish holiday!
There are other explanations for the name of the month, and I think it’s important to highlight them at this time.
The Pri Chadash (Even Ha’ezer 126:7) offers the only explanation that I have found for calling this month by the two-word name Mar Cheshvan.He suggests that the name Mar Cheshvan is based on the fact that it is the beginning of the…