6

The month of Cheshvan is called by many MarCheshvan. Are both correct or which one is more correct?

17

I don't know that I'd put money on this one, but I heard that the original name was warach-sheman (an aramaic version of yerech shmini) and that the dialect allowed for an interchange between the w (our vav) and the m sound, corrupting it further to marach-shewan.

After a search, I found a "What's the truth about..." on this subject which also talks more to the point of the question.

5

The actual name is Marcheshvan - it is derived from the Babylonian, as are all of the names of our Hebrew months (note that the current names on the Hebrew months only appear in Tanach in books that occur during or after the Babylonian exile). I do not recall the exact Babylonian version of it, but a simple Google search can turn up that info. All of the cute derashot about mar meaning drop or bitter are post-facto ideas that, frankly, I am not sure where they came from.

  • 1
    While that's true (as YDK pointed out, too), that doesn't invalidate derashos about the meaning of "mar." Consider that in our parashah we are introduced to King Amraphel, and Chazal (Eruvin 53a, cited in Rashi on the verse) explain that this is an epithet derived from "amar pol" - "he ordered [Avraham] to fall [into the furnace]." Now on a simple level, "Amraphel" probably means something completely different in Babylonian or Sumerian or whatever. But so what? That is the difference between peshat and derash - the latter seeks to uncover a deeper meaning of why the Torah recorded this name. – Alex Oct 14 '10 at 4:13
5

"Mar" also means "a drop" (as in Isaiah 40:15, כמר מדלי, "like a drop from a bucket"), so "Marcheshvan" also means "rainy Cheshvan" - it's the usual beginning of the rainy season in the Land of Israel.

Source: Pri Chadash, Even ha-Ezer 126:7

-1

MarCheshvan simply means bitter Cheshvan -- bitter because the month has no holidays in it. Both are correct, but MarCheshvan is used when announcing the new month.

  • their is no holiday in cheshvan because this month was saved for the third temple. It will be in CHeshvan that the third temple will be inaugurated. – Koachyah Oct 13 '10 at 2:02
  • 1
    Ophiuroid, Welcome to mi.yodeya, and thanks very much for this answer! I look forward to seeing you around. – Isaac Moses Oct 13 '10 at 20:29
  • 2
    Ophiuroid, what is your source for this? – Yahu Oct 15 '10 at 6:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .