Rosh Chodesh (New Month) Kislev!

This post is dedicated in memory of Etya Sarah bat Yitzchak ha-Levi. May it be an aliyah for her neshama. 

Kislev (כסלו) is the month of Chanukah. The miracle of Chanukah reflects the active trust of the Maccabees in God that drove them to stand up and fight against the Hellenistic kingdom (and its culture). The name Kislev derives from the Hebrew word kesel (כֶּסֶל), which means either “security,” or “trust.”

The name of the second letter samech implies "support." The experience of feeling supported corresponds to the trust and confidence in Divine providence associated with Kislev. The letter samech is shaped like a great circle, representing God’s right arm embracing (and supporting, from beneath) with great, infinite love.

The Bow
Kislev's Zodiac sign is Keshet (Sagittarius, the Bow) which means both an archer’s bow and a rainbow. This relates clearly with the theme of Chanukah as the archer’s bow of the Maccabees. It symbolizes their active trust in God to fight against the Hellenistic culture that ruled the world at the time. Though the Maccabees themselves were members of the tribe of Levi and part of the priesthood, in the Bible, the art of archery and the bow are ascribed to the tribe of Benjamin in particular, the tribe of the month of Kislev.

Tribe of Benjamin
The tribe of Benjamin is the one most gifted with the art of the bow. The Holy Temple in Jerusalem was built in the part of the Land of Israel belonging to Benjamin. Moses prophesied this in his blessing for Benjamin, “To Benjamin he [Moses] said, ‘[Benjamin is] the beloved of God, He [the Almighty] shall dwell trustfully over him; He hovers over him all the day, and between his shoulders He rests." Here we explicitly see that Benjamin symbolizes both trust and rest, the sense of the month of Kislev.
Of all the tribes of Israel, Benjamin was the only one born in the land of Israel. The land of Israel is the place where one most clearly experiences Divine providence. 

The gift of Sleep depends on the tranquility and restfulness that comes from feeling trust and security in God. At the end of Leviticus, we find the blessing, “And you shall dwell securely in your land. And I shall give peace in the land, and you shall lie down without fear....”
Benjamin’s talent and prowess with a bow—the ability to shoot and hit his target—depend upon a most tranquil inner spirit. In fact, the whole process of aiming, shooting and hitting the target can be described as being almost asleep. The archer’s tranquility comes from the realization that it is God that guides his arrows to their intended targets. A tranquil personality is one with little inner friction and tension. The sense of sleep suggests the ability to release stress, as one lies quietly confident in God’s support.
When one possesses complete trust in God one dreams the future in positive. Good dreams at night reflect good thoughts throughout the day, especially the optimistic attitude and consciousness of  “Think good and it will be good.”

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