Seasons of the Moon

Seasons of the Moon - Chesvan

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Seasons of the Moon

The Month of Cheshvan
Chesvhan 5756 / October - November 1995


The month of Cheshvan, is also called MarCheshvan, or 'bitter' Cheshvan. One reason for the 'bitterness' of Cheshvan: Out of all the months of the year, Cheshvan alone has no Yom Tov, no festival of its own. Really, there should have been a festival to inaugurate the First Temple, which Shlomo Hamelech (King Solomon) completed during Cheshvan, after seven years building. However, Hashem did not command its inauguration until the following Tishrei - twelve months later. But Cheshvan will eventually lose its bitterness, because it is in the month of Cheshvan that the third, and final, Beis HaMikdash (Temple) will be inaugurated. In a way, Cheshvan is a parable for the whole history of the Jewish People. When we look at our history, it seems fraught with bitterness, rejection and hardship. But in the end, the bitter bite of the scorpion will be transformed to the greatest sweetness, when all the nations will come to realize who the Jewish People are and who they have always been.


The Cesium and Rubidium atom clocks at the U.S. Naval Observatory Time Center are accurate to one second in 300,000 years. But three thousand years ago, Moses, had no such time-piece. However, somehow Moshe knew the exact length of the lunar month - 29.53059 days - an accuracy which was literally out of this world! In the reference work Astronomy and Astrophysics (Loudolt Bornstein Group vol. a Sec 2.2.4 Spriugr, Berlin 1965) the precise length of the lunar month is listed as 29.530589 days! How did Moses have a figure so accurate that it took science three thousand years to come to the same number? That number was given to Moses by Hashem and was passed down from Moses to Hillel II, the last prince of the House of David. When Hillel II sanctified all the new moons from his day until the the final redemption, he had to know the exact length of the lunar month to within a fraction of a second, for even a small error would, over millennia, amount to a visible error. This was in fact the case with the calendar of Julius Caesar, which by the year 1582 had wandered so far that Pope Gregory XIII erased 10 days from the calendar, with the result that the day after the 4th October 1582 was called the 16th October! There have been approximately 41,000 new moons since the time of Moses, but from Mount Sinai onward, the secret of the exact length of the lunar month has always been known to the Jewish People, because Moshe Rabbeinu had a clock that was literally 'out of this world'...


People often ask me - how can you be so sure that there will be a third Temple? After all, the second one has been in ruins for nearly two thousand years! - What does your bank manager do when you ask him for a loan? - He gets out your file and he sees that the previous times he gave you credit, you always paid back on time. You are a model customer! (Aren't you?) So he signs your loan application with a smile. I tell people it's the same between us and Hashem. Everything that the Torah predicted has happened. So when Hashem asks us, as it were, for a small loan of faith, that eventually Mashiach will come and the Temple will be rebuilt, we look at His 'credit rating' and we see that He is a 'model customer'! Have a good month!
Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair


The eleventh of Cheshvan is the yartzeit (Yiddish - lit. 'year's time'), the anniversary of the passing away of 'Immah' Rachel - mother of the Jewish People. The place of her grave has been known through the ages, to be on the Bethlehem road, a few miles south of Jerusalem.

Immah Rachel weeps
She stands on the Bethlehem Road
and cries
for her children
Refusing to be consoled
Long lines, destined for Babylon
- exile on the Bethlehem Road.
Refrain your voice from weeping and
your eyes from tears, for the children
shall return to their boundary said
Immah Rachel weep again
for us -
for how long may we
come to pour out our hearts to Our
where you cried for your children,
on the Bethlehem road
cry for us.
Immah Rachel weep.

  • THIS MONTH'S SIGN - Bnei Yissaschar, Sefer HaTodah;
  • A SMALL LOAN OF FAITH... - Rabbi Nota Schiller;

This publication is available via E-Mail
Seasons of the Moon is written by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair and edited by Rabbi Moshe Newman.
Designed by Y.A. Sinclair and Kevin Berman
Production Design: Lev Seltzer

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