of coming days of note in the Torah calendar
16 Marcheshvan-7 Kislev 5775
9-29 November 2014
Attributes of the month of Marcheshvan: Ruling permutation of the letters of HAVAYAH: VAV KEH KEH YOD, contained in the initial Hebrew letters of the words of the verse OOd'vash Hayom Hazeh YKVK, "and honey. This day HaShem..." (Deut 26:15-16). The month's corresponding letter is: NUN; Human attribute: SMELL; Body Part: INTESTINE; Tribe: LEVY; Constellation: AKRAV (Scorpio, the Scorpion).
The sum of the mathematical value of the Hebrew letters of Marcheshvan (Mem 40 + Reish 200 + Chet 8 + Shin 300 + Vav 6 + Nun 50 + 1 for the kolel + 6 units for each of the Hebrew letters of the name) is 611, the same as that of the letters of the word Torah (Tav 400 + Vav 6 + Reish 200 + Heh 5 = 611). This is a sign that we should increase our Torah study during the long nights of the winter.
Saturday night-Sunday 8-9 November / 16 Marcheshvan
Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (1925-94) the greatly loved original "singing rabbi".
Monday 10 November / 17 Marcheshvan
Today is the third of the BeHaB fasts that are observed after the festival of Succot. The fast is observed from dawn to nightfall. Even for those who do not fast, today is an auspicious day for Teshuvah.
Monday night-Tuesday 10-11 November / 18 Marcheshvan
Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Meir David Kahane (1932-90, HY"D) and of Rabbi Yisroel Dov Ber Odesser (1888-1994), known as the "Sabba" (elder) because of his exceptionally long life. He originated the "Na Nach" movement of Breslover Chassidim and founded Keren Yisroel Dov Odesser for printing and distributing the books of Rebbe Nachman at subsidized prices.
Friday night-Saturday 14-15 November / 22 Marcheshvan
Shabbat CHAYEY SARAH
Torah Reading: Gen. 23:1-25:18. Haftara I Kings 1, 1-31. Since today's parshah records Abraham's purchase of the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron from the Canaanites, many in Israel have the custom of spending this Shabbat in Hebron.
Thursday 20 November / 27 Marcheshvan
Yom Kippur Katan ("Small Day of Atonement") observed in preparation for the coming Rosh Chodesh, New Moon of Kislev on 22-23 November. Some have the custom of fasting from daybreak until nightfall and offering special penitential prayers.
Friday night-Saturday 21-22 November / 29 Marcheshvan
Shabbat Mevorchim KISLEV
Torah Reading: Gen. 25:19-28:9. Haftara: special reading for when eve of Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbat: Samuel 20:18-42.
Today is Shabbat Mevorachim, when we bless the coming month of Kislev following the synagogue Torah reading. Rosh Chodesh will be on Saturday night-Sunday 22-23 November. The molad (junction of the sun and the moon) is on Shabbat November 22 at 09:46 and 17 chalakim) a.m.
Attributes of the month of KISLEV: Ruling permutation of the letters of HAVAYAH: VAV YOD KEH KEH, contained in the initial Hebrew letters of the words of the verse Vayar Yoshev Ha'aretz Hakena'ani, "and the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw ..." (Genesis 50:11). The month's corresponding letter is: SAMECH; Human attribute: SLEEP; Body Part: KIVAH-Stomach ; Tribe: BENJAMIN; Constellation: KESHET (Sagittarius, the Archer).
Saturday night-Sunday 22-23 November / 1 Kislev
Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) Kislev
Ya'aleh VeYavo is introduced in the Saturday night evening prayer and the Sunday morning and afternoon Amidah prayers of Rosh Chodesh and in the Birchat HaMazon Grace after Meals. "Half" Hallel is recited after the morning Amidah prayer, then the special portion for Rosh Chodesh (Numbers 28:1-15) is read in the Synagogue followed by the Mussaf Additional Service. It is appropriate to celebrate Rosh Chodesh with festive meals on Saturday night (Melaveh Malkah) and on Sunday and Monday, and fasting is forbidden.
Tuesday 25 November / 3 Kislev
In Second Temple times today was celebrated as a festival because the Hasmoneans cleared the Temple courtyard of Greek idols.
Wednesday 26 November / 4 Kislev
On this day Zechariah received his prophecy that the fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months mourning the destruction of the Temple will turn into festivals "...and have love for truth and peace" (Zechariah chapters 7-8).
It is propitious to give Tzedakah today, just as it is a mitzva to give charity on the eve of the festival of Succot, because today is the first of the three days that climax on 6 Kislev, which has the potential of a festival celebrating the giving of the Torah (see entry for 6 Kislev).
Wednesday night-Thursday 26-27 November / 5 Kislev
Yahrzeit of Rabbi Shmuel Eidels, the Maharsha (1555–1631), famous Talmudic commentator.
Friday night-Saturday 28-29 November / 7 Kislev
Torah reading: Gen. 28:10-32:3. Haftara: Hosea 12:13-14:10 (Optional addition: Micah 7.18); Sephardi ritual: Hosea 11:7-12.12.
Just as the festival of Shavuot falls 50 days after Pesach, so it would have been fitting for Shemini Atzeret to be celebrated today, 50 days after Succot, except that this would have been burdensome to Israel, who needed to return home from the Succot pilgrim festival in Jerusalem before the onset of the rains. For this reason the Torah placed the actual celebration of Shemini Atzeret one day after Succot. Nevertheless, today has the potential of a festival akin to Shavuot, time of the Giving of the Torah, and is propitious for ascent in Torah and service of G-d.