SymbolsThe idea behind Cheshvan’s emptiness is that it’s a month reserved for the Messiah’s arrival. The month’s kabbalistic symbolism and pivotal event (The Great Flood) heavily imply this.
The concept of the Messiah is an extremely difficult one to grasp, and it may even be taboo to speculate what it’s for and how the event will happen. However, there are a few universal characteristics associated with it.
It will be a panacea to suffering that is endemic to our world, particularly war, disease, and hunger. It will also follow some sort of calamity itself.
The mabul (flood) reflects these ideas, although frankly, quite brutally: in the Garden of Eden, life used to be a paradise, where food was abundant, the idea of murder hadn’t been born, and immune systems evidently could allow someone to reach their thousandth birthday. Eventually, several “catastrophes” started to occur, including hatred for humanity and disrespect for the Earth. In this primordial stage, redemption meant that the planet did not achieve salvation, but annihilation. Following the destruction, you have the first real mention of mercy in the Torah, whereby God promises not to unleash chaos on that scale anymore, and also finds devotion to placate anger. Noah and the altar he built post-flood feature on the bottom right.
Tribe: Menasheh (top middle, represented by grain). The etymology of ‘Menasheh’ is ‘to forget [my suffering]’, which is an obvious allusion to the aforementioned idea of forgiveness and redemption. His tribe’s symbol is grain, which is seen being replenished by new rains, a growth-centered force vs. the destructive storms of the mabul. The clouds and rain read ‘mashiv ha’ruach u’morid hageshem’ (‘who brings the wind and unleashes the rain), a verse added in Cheshvan during prayers to bring in the new seasonal rains.
Zodiac: Scorpio (עקרב) (focal point, middle). The Kabbalah notes that the only creature with venom more toxic than the snake’s belongs to the scorpion. As such, it will be the one to vanquish the original serpent, who caused everything to go awry. As neither of the creatures are literal, this metaphorical battle nods to the earlier idea of replacing the actual carnage (as in the mabul) with merciful salvation of the upcoming Messiah. Other parts of the image borrow from this fight, including David (whom the Moshiach descends from) against Goliath (bottom middle and middle-left), the haughty Tower of Babel (middle-left) against Noah’s humble altar, and just a general barrage of hostile sea creatures teeming in the flood waters (top left) opposing heavenly gates. Fun fact: the numerical value of ‘Moshiach’ is the same numerical value of ‘nachash’ (snake).
The month’s letter: Nun (נ). The heavenly gates can be seen adorned with a nun in the top right corner. Although each month has a special Hebrew character, in Marcheshvan it is emphasized. Its numerical amount (50) represents the 50 gates of understanding the spiritual world. Moshe was reported as only having attained 49, and he will achieve the 50th alongside the Messiah when they arrive. It is interesting to note that Moshe’s survival as a baby, lifetime as a leader, and death, all heavily featured water, stressing a singular source for mercy and punishment. You can see a baby Moshe being carried by a Nile into the gates, and a staff-hit rock bursting forth with water on the left side of the gate.