Cheshvan is a month with no holidays, which makes it “Mar Cheshvan,” or bitter Cheshvan to some (there’s also the reading of the Flood — but we’ll save that for another time). For me, I think it’s a great time to breath and take stock after the whirlwind of high holiday season. In Cheshvan we’ve finished with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah and all the days in between!
In thinking about how to best use the “time off” in Cheshvan, I thought it seemed like the perfect month to explore one of the myriad of Jewish practices that we haven’t adopted into our lives. If you’re Orthodox, there’s even room for you to explore some of the more modern adaptations of traditional practices. For the rest of us, I’m guessing there’s plenty of practices we’ve heard about, thought about, and maybe even studied — but really haven’t tried out for ourselves.
To act as a guide to these practices and where to even begin, I highly recommend The Rituals & Practices of a Jewish Life: A Handbook for Personal Spiritual Renewal. I first read this book a couple of years back and decided to read it again a few weeks ago. I find it to be a very good guide to Jewish practice, and especially for how to even get started with many of these practices that can seem like a life commitment or nothing.
If even this seems overwhelming, then pick one of these two:
- Weekly Shabbat
- Daily Prayer