|← Tishrei Marcheshvan (מַרְחֶשְׁוָן) Kislev →|
The Great Flood, which according to Rav Robert Miller wiped out the
world, started in Marcheshvan.
|Number of Days:||29 (sometimes 30)|
Marcheshvan (Hebrew: מַרְחֶשְׁוָן, Standard Marḥešvan Tiberian Marḥešwān; from Akkadian waraḫsamnu, literally "eighth month"), sometimes shortened to Cheshvan (Hebrew: חֶשְׁוָן, Standard Ḥešvan Tiberian Ḥešwān), is the second month of the civil year (which starts on 1 Tishrei) and the eighth month of the ecclesiastical year (which starts on 1 Nisan) on the Hebrew calendar.
In a regular (kesidran) year Marcheshvan has 29 days, but because of the Rosh Hashanah postponement rules, in some years an additional day is added to Marcheshvan to make the year a "full" (maleh) year. Marcheshvan is an autumn month which occurs in October–November in the Gregorian calendar.
Given the Akkadian etymology, it seems likely the מ and the ו were switched at some point in time, since w-r-ḥ is the Semitic root for "moon" (and thus also "month"), and š-m-n is the Semitic root for "eight". Also, מ and ו are labials. 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.
The Ethiopian Jewish community celebrates Sigd on the 29th day of Marcheshvan (50 days from Yom Kippur, analogous to counting 50 days from Pesach to Shavuos), as recognized by the Israeli Knesset July 2008.
The Hebrew Bible, before the Babylonian Exile, refers to the month as Bul (1 Kings 6:38). In Sidon, the reference to Bul is also made on the Sarcophaugus of Eshmunazar II dated to the early 5th century BC.
Events in Marcheshvan
7 Marcheshvan - 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 
Bahab - According to most minhag, on the first Sabbath of Cheshvan, a prayer is recited on behalf of all those who are going to fast on Bahab. Bahab, or in Hebrew בהב stands for 2, 5, 2, which means Monday, Thursday and Monday. On the Monday, Thursday and second Monday after the Sabbath, the minhag is to fast and/or recite penitential prayers called Selichot. According Minhag Ashkenaz, the second Monday of Bahab is the Monday before Rosh Chodesh Kislev, the Thursday is the Thursday preceding that, the first Monday is the Monday preceding that and the Sabbath, in which the prayer is recited is the Sabbath preceding that. Bahab is also observed at the beginning of Iyar.
Marcheshvan in Jewish history
11 Marcheshvan - Yartzeit of Biblical Matriarch Rachel (Rachel Imeinu)
- giving birth to Benjamin (Binyamin), youngest son of Biblical patriarch Jacob (Yakov Avinu), and Israelites Leader of one of the 12 Tribes of Israel. Before she died, Rachel named her son Ben Oni ("son of my mourning"), but Jacob called him Ben Yamin (Benjamin). Rashi explains that Ben Yamin either means "son of the right" (i.e., "south"), since Benjamin was the only one of Jacob's sons born in Canaan, which is to the south of Paddan Aram; or it could mean "son of my days," as Benjamin was born in Jacob's old age.
12 Cheshvan - (1995) - Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin
- Yitzhak Rabin is the only Prime Minister of Israel to date to have been assassinated. The 12th of Cheshvan is now marked annually in Israel as a national memorial day.
15 Marcheshvan - (165 BCE) - Yartzeit of Matityahu (Mattathias)
- Mattityahu was the son of The Kohen Gadol Yochanan. When during the 2nd century BCE the Seleucids-Syrian Greeks under Antiochus IV Epiphanes tried to forcefully hellenize The People of Israel, Mattityahu started a revolt in the city of Modiin. After his death, his sons, The Maccabees led the uprising to a victory establishing an independent Jewish state. This victory is celebrated every year on the festival of Hanukkah.
16 Marcheshvan - (1938) - Kristallnacht/Pogromnacht
- Pogrom considered to be the start of the Holocaust
17 Marcheshvan - (2105 BCE) - Great Flood began
- The rain started on the 17th of Marcheshvan 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 Marcheshvan - (960 BCE) - First Temple completed
- King Solomon completed the building of the First Temple (it was not inaugurated until the following Tishrei however)
18 Marcheshvan - (1990) - Assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane
- Rabbi Meir Kahane, American-Israeli rabbi, Jewish leader and former Knesset member, was assassinated in New York by Egyptian terrorist El Sayyid Nosair. Founder of the American Jewish Defense League and the Israeli Kach party.
23 Marcheshvan - (137 BCE) - Hasmonean holiday
- In Talmudic times, Marcheshvan 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 Marcheshvan - (2104 BCE) - Flood ends
- On the 27th of Marcheshvan 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 (one pair of each unclean kind and seven pairs of every clean kind) that were on Noah's ark. A 'kind' is more broad than a 'species', for instance, wolves and dogs are of the same kind. On this day, God is said to have commanded Noah to "Come out of the ark" and repopulate, settle and civilize the earth.
- Orthodox Union
- Genesis 7:2-3 ESV