What the Chell is Cheshvan?
It's a new Hebrew month!
For those who don't know, Jews follow a whole separate calendar based on the lunar cycle, with 12 distinct months in the year (like Gregorian, except we're in the year 5783). I say distinct, because each month has its own holidays and theme, and therefore its own unique energy.
Each first day of the new moon/Hebrew month is called Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month"), and it's a special day to contemplate the theme of the month and how it relates to your own personal life. There's even distinct prayers to say on this day!
On/around this day, women come together in what's called a Rosh Chodesh circle to reserve the time and space for having deep conversations and female connection around each month's theme. They're really cool and special - I used to run them years ago when I lived in DC. I really miss them! I'm writing this here to hold myself accountable and get back to them because they fed my soul.
I'm somewhat familiar with the Hebrew months. I know the big ones that have major holidays - Shevat, Elul, etc. but when I looked at the calendar this week (yes, I have a Hebrew calendar on my iPhone), I was like Cheshvan? What the hell is that? I've never heard of that.
Cheshvan is the second month of the civil year (after we celebrate Rosh Hashanah/the new year), and the eighth month of the ecclesiastical (biblical) year. If anyone can explain this to me in depth though, please email me.
It's known for being a "bitter" month because it's after the High Holidays. Insert joke here about how you can't be bitter when it's the month of pumpkin spice lattes and scary movies blah blah. And the 29th of Cheshvan is Sigd, an Ethiopian Jewish holiday celebrating the Torah.
Bitter?! This return to everyday life post fasting, communal feasting in huts, and praying all day doesn't have to be meaningless. It's a time to check in with yourself and make sure you're keeping the promises you made for yourself last month. And maybe eat some delicious Ethiopian food.
Didn't make any promises? That's okay! There's always time to do that. I suggest some journaling to start. At The Well is an incredible resource for the Hebrew months, women's circles, and thought-provoking questions. Or just respond to the prompts below. Actually... yeah, do that instead. I'm so excited to explore the Hebrew months with you.