Letters to the editor | Sept. 15, 2021

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Put the ‘Mar’ back into ‘Cheshvan’

Such a surprise to see published in a popular, often entertaining Jewish newspaper as WJW such a technical rabbinic subject such as the Jewish leap year (“Double our joy,” Aug. 26).

However, the letter to the editor “Look before you leap” by Bert B. Katz (Sept. 2) went even further.


Not wishing at this time to venture even more deeply into the subject, I at least must point out a very common misused title for one of the Hebrew months. Actually, the names of the months on the Jewish calendar are not Hebrew at all, rather Assyrian-Babylonian in their origin. Yes, there are a few Hebrew months mentioned in the Tanakh (Hebrew scripture), but they are not used.

Which month is the mistaken one? It’s the one mentioned by Bert B. Katz thrice in the letter: “Cheshvan” or “Heshvan” is more correctly “Marheshvan.” Even looking in a Hebrew dictionary refers the reader to “Marheshvan,” which is the official name of the month.

https://www.washingtonjewishweek.com/enewsletter/

I have successfully brought this matter to the attention of some synagogues and Jewish calendar publishers, but much is still needed to make the correction universal.

RABBI DR. SANFORD H. SHUDNOW
Chaplain, U.S. Navy (retired) / Silver Spring


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