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Cheshvan, the Shabbat of the Year

10/05/2021 12:33:17 PM


Amanda Orgel Ferguson, a Temple president of Congregation B’nai Israel in Little Rock Arkansas, wrote an article for about the significance of the month of Cheshvan (click here for the full article).  Tishrei, the month which houses so many holidays, is followed by Cheshvan a month with no holidays save Shabbat. In the article she shares the following teaching from her Rabbi Bruce Block:

My rabbi has explained that, after the Jewish month of Tishrei—which includes Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Sh’mini Atzeret-Simchat Torah—we have the month of Cheshvan, with no holiday other than Shabbat. Rabbi Block and I find great wisdom in this reality: We need a time of rest, symbolized by Shabbat, this Cheshvan, which significantly overlaps with October.

Now the article goes on to explain that they will be closing their Temple for a week to give their clergy a break.  Rest assured that Jodi, Stephanie and I are taking good care of ourselves this month and taking some much needed time.  I share this article, however, not to have you think about us, the professional staff, but to invite you to use Cheshvan to think about yourselves.  Give yourselves a break.

We are so busy in this world, and we erroneously equate taking a break often with being lazy.  Taking a break is not the same thing as doing nothing.  When we take a break, our body restores itself, our psyche recharges, and we create space for imagination and motivation.  Taking a break is a mitzvah.  Shabbat is a mitzvah.  Our tradition wants us to stop and take time to renew our souls.  After the heavy lifting of Tishrei you have earned a chance to breath.

When I meet with wedding couples, I advise them to take a moment during their wedding party to step out of the moment and just observe and take all that is going on around them in.  Shabbat is the weekly opportunity to step away from the party and just take in the beauty around you.  Cheshvan is the Shabbat of the year.  A month to step back from the party, catch your breath, and appreciate all that is going on around you.

Mon, December 5 2022 11 Kislev 5783