This week we will begin the Hebrew month of Marcheshvan, or Cheshvan for short. I was reminded of this sitting at my twin nephews’ B’nei Mitzvahthis past weekend. The rabbi led us in a prayer anticipating Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan. And, as is quite typical of us rabbis after the month of Tishrei and all the important holidays that take place, he made sure to emphasize that there are no holidays in the month of Cheshvan. This, of course, is a true statement, but not completely. That is because we still enjoy Shabbat four times in Cheshvan. We still embrace significant opportunities for sacred time, like any other month in our Jewish calendar.
Every year I have been a rabbi, I hear of the High Holy Day fatigue that descends upon my community. This year was no different, and, as my colleagues and I often infer with our own appreciation for a “holiday-less” month, we enjoy a bit of a respite, too.
But then again, I don’t want to imply that, in this “holiday-less” month of Cheshvan, Shabbat is any less important an opportunity to make our Jewish lives matter--that we should just take a break from making Jewish meaning. Building up our Jewish muscles so that we’re less worn out by the Holy Days of Tishrei requires a little more practice when it’s not Tishrei. As Cheshvan comes along, the very first month after Tishrei gives us wide-open space to engage a little more than we have before. So, in the spirit of stretching our spirits and strengthening our souls just a little more than we have in the past, maybe come to Share Shabbat this month or some other Shabbat experience one more time than you might have come before. Come study Talmud one more time than you might have done previously. Be a part of our upcoming Fall Retreat Nov. 16-18 at OSRUI and enjoy an incredible immersion experience about tikkun olam (healing the world). Maybe engage in our important social justice work just a little more than before. Or check out Sisterhood or Brotherhood for the first time. We look forward to welcoming you!
Happy Cheshvan! May we stretch and strengthen ourselves just a little more toward a life of added blessing. May we lift our lives with a love of Torah and reverence for the Holy One. And may our Jewish practice in this month ahead, in its great openness, inspire us just a little more to fulfill the longings of our hearts to be a force for good and to bring light to the world.
Make it a day of blessing and be a force for good!