Rosh Chodesh Kislev began at sundown Nov. 16 and ended at nightfall Nov. 17. It’s a month of dreams, miracles, and the polarized forces of darkness and light. The zodiac sign is Sagittarius; Hebrew letter, samech; tribe, Benjamin; sense, sleep; and controlling organ, belly.
As we watch the months and seasons change, we can see the elements of the Hebrew calendar come to life with their challenges in our own time. The content of the story changes but the energies repeat themselves. Kislev always reflects the extreme darkness and light, but in various circumstances.
This year, in 2020, the presidential election has just occurred with each side believing that a miracle would be required for their side to win. People are polarized with the energies divided between darkness and light.
In our history, Adam and Eve displeased Hashem by disobeying the rules set forth that would ensure everlasting life, peace, bounty, harmony and beauty. It appears as if many of those violations are occurring in today’s world. We have divided ourselves. We have missed the mark. We are responsible for our transgressions.
New York’s Chabad Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin explains that G-d created the world and hid the light. The light was given to Adam and Eve when they were created on Friday night and they basked in it for 36 hours until they were exiled. The hidden light became the 36 candles used on the Chanukah menorah throughout the holiday. It is our job to reflect that light and to increase it in the darkest of times.
He also explains that after the exile, the light from the moon was diminished. This only occurred because there was separation. When the Messiah arrives, the power of the sun and the moon will be equal, again. The energies of the moon are feminine, while the sun’s are masculine. As we desire equality, it requires a unity and balancing of the feminine/masculine within ourselves and each other.
The major holidays, including Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot, fall during the first 15 days of their respective months, when the waxing moon moves toward its peak. Chanukah, on the 25th day of Kislev, occurs during the second half of the month, at the waning moon. This darkness coincides with winter solstice, Dec. 21, in which we experience the shortest day of the year, with the least light.
The first half of each Hebrew month is the revealed light and the second half, the concealed, yet essential, part of the light that can’t be seen.
The zodiac sign of Sagittarius is the archer, good-hearted, just, peace-seeking intellectuals known for speaking their truth. The bow and arrow represent war, like that of the Maccabees. Raskin suggests that when the bow is drawn across our hearts, guided by Hashem, we can release the arrow to go farther and on course.
Samech, the Hebrew letter, is a closed circle in which glows the infinite power of G-d’s light. It also resembles the womb.
Benjamin is the tribe. He was the only son of Jacob born in the Promised Land. There are polarized emotions surrounding Benjamin because the world was given a gift in his birth, but we lost his mother, our matriarch, at the same time. Rachel was said to have desired children so much that she considered herself dead without them. There is the light and the darkness that as she became a mother, she lost her life. Rachel’s compassion for others was unparalleled. It is the reason that she, even though aware of her father’s trickery in swapping her sister for her at her wedding to Jacob, didn’t interfere as not to create suffering and humiliation for her sister.
The sense is sleep. Sense isn’t used as one of the five senses but rather as levels of consciousness. It’s in our sleep that we receive restoration and healing. Hashem watches over us and we awaken refreshed, to perform good deeds.
Belly is the controlling organ this month. It houses the “guts” that let you trust or distrust information that you hear.
Meditation focus: G-d is concealed in the world. What acts can you perform this month that radiate G-d’s light?