Backman’s Corner: the month of Cheshvan

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By Eli Backman
For the Mitzpeh
@Mitzpeh

 

Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.

Do you remember the rush of excitement about going through college applications? Visiting schools? Finally being accepted to some and choosing which one is right for you?

You finally show up on campus as a freshman, and the school and everyone goes all out to welcome you…about 15 free meals, sushi, BBQ and more all in 48 hours! Classes start, of course, and you are late the first day trying to figure out how to  get across campus between two classes in the 2.5 minutes you have. You are meeting roommates, classmates and professors.

Suddenly you wake up one day in late September, look at the clock and say, “I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to have deal with this boring routine of everyday school and schlep to the same classes and talk to the same people. Blah…”

What happened? What changed? More importantly how do you make sure this does not happen to you? This is where the month of Cheshvan (the next month on the Hebrew/lunar calendar) comes into focus.  We just spent a whole month in the inspiration mode: High holidays, shofar, honey cake, fasting, bagels (or whatever you break fast on). Sukkah here, Sukkah there, Sukkah mobile, lulav shake, dancing on Simchat Torah. Wow, what a trip! How great, how cool, how much fun!

But then it all comes to an abrupt end.

Here is where we have a chance to see what the holidays really meant to us. We are able to see Judaism’s take on the mundane world and life. It is not all about the moments of excitement that Judaism is into, but even the boring regular routine moments of life. As a matter of fact, some would argue that it is even more about those moments. The creation of the world was to allow us to live in a place which has no inspiration and clear connection to G-d. Our goal is to find the connection and to make it inspirational and real to us in our daily lives.

If the holidays engaged and impacted us, then we would be playing out all of this inspiration throughout the quiet month of Cheshvan. Judaism wants us to understand that the message of what you do in your regular life is as important to G-d as all of the holidays! So G-d left this month quiet and without holidays for us, to have to learn that lesson and actually live that way.

You see, it is all about what we do in our own regular lives. So go out, smile, and turn today into a holiday!

Eli Backman is the rabbi at UMD Chabad and can be contacted at chabad@umd.edu. Backman’s Corner is a monthly column alternating between an opinion piece and an ‘Ask the Rabbi’ format.

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