Scorpion.Significance of the Month
Cheshvan, the eighth month of the Jewish calendar, is often referred to as Mar Cheshvan ("Bitter Cheshvan") because it has no holidays. In Israel the rainy season, which marks the onset of winter, begins in Cheshvan. Holidays
There are no holidays in Cheshvan. However, two tragic events occurred during this month. Kristalnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, and the beginning of the Holocaust, was on 15 Cheshvan 5699 (1938). In 5756 (1995), Yitzhak Rabin, the Prime Minister of Israel, was assassinated on 12 Cheshvan. Women to Celebrate
The Matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah - The weekly Torah readings during the month of Cheshvan focus on the stories of our Matriarchs and Patriarchs.Famous Women's Yahrzeits
Rachel our Matriarch - 11 Cheshvan. The favorite wife of Jacob and mother of Joseph and Benjamin. Rachel is buried in the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem.Hannah Senesh
- 20 Cheshvan 5705 (November 6, 1944). A paratrooper in the British Army, Hannah helped to organize Partisan efforts in Yugoslavia and Hungary. She was captured by the Nazis who tortured and killed her. Hannah wrote poetry that is often read and sung in Holocaust memorial services.
Rachel Yanait Ben-Tzvi - 24 Cheshvan 5740 (November 14, 1979). Rachel Yanait Ben Tzvi immigrated to what was then Turkish Palestine as a young pioneer in 1908. She became one of the leading activists in the Zionist movement and the Haganah (the pre-state, Jewish military organization) and married Yitzhak Ben Tzvi, who was later elected second president of Israel. Text Studies
Hannah and Prayer - In this month of celebrating the matriarch, learn about another Biblical woman who has had a profound influence on us. Our way of prayer is modeled after Hannah, Samuel the Prophet's mother. Chana's Prayers, Our Prayers
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version 4.0 or higher.]Activities
Celebrating the Mundane - Cheshvan is best known for its lack of holidays. How do we find meaning in the ordinary? Discuss this question and create ways to celebrate the ordinary.
In her memoirs, Rachel Yanait Ben-Tzvi describes her first trip to Jerusalem a short while after arriving in the country:
Light-drenched memories of my first days in Jerusalem fill my heart. I board the train to Jerusalem, and from the first moment, I am enveloped in an indescribable feeling of exaltation. In the same train car with me sits an Orthodox Jew of the old settlement of Jerusalem in his traditional dress, and next to him an Arab, resplendent in black with a red tarbush on his head, his entire bearing signifying his importance. . . . Suddenly a Jew sitting behind me addresses me: "Why are you so happy?" he asks, "The Effendi asks why you are so happy." He explains the reason for my happiness to the Effendi, that I am going up to Jerusalem, and everyone knows that a Jew's heart is happy when he goes up to Jerusalem. (Rahel Yana'it Ben Tzvi, Anu Olim)
Have each woman write a description of his or her favorite place and then discuss what makes a person happy. Conversations
Jewish Women Role Models - During this month when we read about the matriarchs, discuss your Jewish women role models and how they have influenced you.
Peace - Yitzhak Rabin, the late Prime Minister of Israel who was assassinated during the month of Cheshvan, left a legacy of peace. Discuss your definition of and vision for peace.