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Browse Zemanim: Sukot: The Start of Marheshvan

Contributed by: Rabbi Haim Shaul

The coming month of Heshvan is referred to as "Marheshvan". The word "Mar" means drops of water. The reason why we add this prefix of "Mar" is that this month is the beginning of the rainy season in Israel and so we added "water" to the name of the month.

However, we could have used a more common word like "Mayim" which everyone recognizes as meaning water, so why use the word "Mar"?

"Mar" has another connotation meaning bitter (most people mistakenly think this is the only meaning of the word) and we use this term for a few reasons.

Even though rain is a necessity of life which we pray for daily and without it life could not exist, still heavy rainfall causes great inconvenience and damage, which we have seen in the last few months in Florida.

Also since this month is devoid and lacking any festival, unlike the month of Tishri which precedes it, it is relatively speaking "bitter".
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