|← Tishrei Marcheshvan (מַרְחֶשְׁוָן) Kislev →|
The Great Flood, which according to the Bible
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 and tradition
- 10 Marcheshvan (circa 2105 BCE) - Noah and his family enter the ark
- 11 Marcheshvan - Death of Rachel while giving birth to Benjamin (Binyamin).
- 12 Cheshvan (1995) - Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin; now a national memorial day.
- 15 Marcheshvan (165 BCE) - Death of Matityahu (Mattathias), who began the Maccabean revolt in the city of Modiin.
- 16 Marcheshvan (1938) - Kristallnacht/Pogromnacht
- 17 Marcheshvan (circa 2105 BCE) - Great Flood began
- 17 Marcheshvan (circa 960 BCE) - First Temple completed by King Solomon (it was not inaugurated until the following Tishrei however).
- 18 Marcheshvan (1990) - Assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane
- 23 Marcheshvan (137 BCE) - Hasmonean holiday commemorating the removal from the Holy Temple of altar stones which were defiled by the Greeks.
- 27 Marcheshvan (circa 2104 BCE) - Great Flood ends (Genesis 8:14).
Note: the date for 27 Marcheshvan may not be accurate, because the Great Flood lasted 40 days and 40 nights; sources from the Genesis flood narrative say the rains flooded the world for 150 days, and then receded in 220 days.