Thursday, November 12, 2015

Kislev: The Month of Dreams

The Month of Dreams

Keshet [bow] is the Hebrew name for Saggitarius. At dawn during Kislev a constellation reminiscent of a bow appears on the horizon - the Keshet, identified by our Sages as the sign of this month.

The bow was used in the past to shoot missiles, such as arrows, at the enemy. In the Midrash, the bow symbolizes the projection upwards of the scorpion from the brambles into which it had been cast. Projection implies shooting upwards from below. In the words of R' Bachyei:

"After the soul has received its judgment in purgatory, it will be projected up from there much like an arrow from the bow. That is the reason for the proximity of Akrav [Scorpio] to Keshet, as alluded to by our Sages who said "They descend to Gehinnom yelling and crying... and rise".

Source: Gad Erlanger "Signs of the Times"

The Month of Kislev according to The Book of Formation [Sefer Yetzirah] - Kislev is the ninth of the twelve months of the Jewish calendar.

Kislev is the month of Chanukah--the only holiday in the Jewish calender which spans, and hence connects, two months: Chanukah begins on the 25th day of the month of Kislev and concludes in the month of Tevet [either on the 2nd or 3rd, depending on the number of days in Kislev].

The name Kislev derives from the Hebrew word for "security" and "trust." There are two states of trust, one active and one passive, both of which are manifest in the month of Kislev. The miracle of Chanukah reflects the active trust of the Maacabim to stand up and fight against the Hellenistic empire and its culture. Kislev's sense of sleep reflects the passive trust that G-d's providence always guards over Israel.

In the tradition of Chassidut, the 19th day of Kislev, the day of the release and redemption of Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the author of the classic text of Chassidut, the Tanya [the disciple of the Magid of Mezerich, the successor of the Ba'al Shem Tov] from prison [where he was placed for the dissemination of the innermost mysteries of the Torah] is referred to as "the New Year of Chassidut" (implying that it is through the spiritual channel of this day that the inner wisdom of Chassidut and the power to integrate this wisdom into one's daily life is brought down into this world).

The foundation of the way of Chassidut is absolute trust and faith in G-d's omnipresence and the omnipotence of His Divine providence.

Color: Blue-Violet

Letter: samech

The word samech means "to support". The experience of feeling supported corresponds to the trust and confidence in Divine providence associated with the month of Kislev, as described above. So do we find expressed in Psalms: "G-d supports (somech) all the fallen and lifts up all the bent over;" "Even when he falls he will not be let to fall to the ground, for G-d supports (yismoch) his hand."

The shape of the samech is a circle, which represents the all-encompassing omnipresence of G-d and His providence. The "great circle" of G-d's Infinite light is explained in Kabbalah and Chassidut to reflect His "right arm" which embraces (and supports, from beneath) with great, infinite love all of reality, as is said: "And from beneath, the arms of the universe."

Mazal: keshet [Sagittarius--Bow]

The bow of Kislev is the bow of the Maacabim. It symbolizes their active trust in G-d to fight against the empire and culture that then ruled the earth. Though the Chashmonaim themselves were from the Priestly tribe of Israel, the "art" of the bow is ascribed in the Bible to the tribe of Benjamin in particular, the tribe of the month of Kislev.

The Kohanim [and Leviim] are not considered as one of the twelve tribes in the correspondence of the tribes to the months of the year [according to the Arizal]. As an all-inclusive manifestation of the Jewish soul, the Kohanim contain and reflect the spiritual source of each of the twelve tribes of Israel. This is especially so with regard to the tribe of Benjamin, for in his portion was the holy Temple wherein the Kohanim served. Thus the relation of the Kohanim to Benjamin is similar to that of soul to body. The Kohanim fight the holy war embodied in the bow of Benjamin.

The bow of war of Kislev is actually projected [shot] from the bow (the rainbow; in Hebrew both "bow" and "rainbow" are identical--keshet) of peace [between G-d and Creation] of the end of the previous month of Cheshvan, as explained above. The two bows [semi-circles] unite together to form the complete circle of the samech of Kislev.

Tribe: Benjamin

Sense: sleep

The sense of sleep is the tranquility and restfulness that comes with trust and security in G-d and His Divine providence. So do we find in the blessings at the end of Leviticus [26:5-6]: "And you shall dwell securely in your land. And I shall give peace in the land, and you shall lie down without fear...."

As the word "sense" [chush] is cognate to "quick" [chish], the sense of sleep implies the ability to sleep well but quickly [as is told of great tzadikim who required very few hours of sleep per day].

The very talent of Benjamin to shoot straight at his target depends upon a most tranquil inner spirit. He shoots and hits almost asleep. G-d carries his arrow to its intended destination. A tranquil personality is one with little inner friction and tension. The sense of sleep entails the ability to release stress, confident in the support of G-d.

The sense of sleep entails as well the sense of dreaming. In accord with our faith in Divine providence, especially manifest in relation to the connection between the weekly Torah portions and the annual cycle of months and their events, all of the dreams of the Torah are contained within the portions that are read during the month of Kislev.

When one possesses complete trust in G-d one dreams good dreams of the future. Good dreams at night reflect good thoughts throughout the day, especially the optimistic attitude and consciousness taught by Chassidut [whose New Year is the 19th of Kislev]: "Think good, it will be good."

Source: HaRav Yitzchak Ginsburgh

Also see:  Kabbalah of Dreams


Anonymous said...

Beautiful picture, reminds me of the girl in the movie 'Titanic' :"My heart will go on".


Anonymous said...

A while back I got an idea from a Rabbi on one of these blogs about praying 15 Psalms a day for Israel. I thought it a good idea and expanded it to include Israel, 'H's people in the land of Israel and 'H's people around the world. And a couple of individuals I know. And I get to cycle through the book of Tehillim in 10 days.

I came to an interesting section, two words actually, in Tehillim 78, here...

57 But turned back and acted treacherously like their fathers;
They turned aside like a treacherous bow.

And I asked the question, what is a 'treacherous bow'?

Later that (same) day I came upon your post, Kislev: The Month of Dreams

And the first sentance, Keshet [bow] is the Hebrew name for Saggitarius. At dawn during Kislev a constellation reminiscent of a bow appears on the horizon - the Keshet, identified by our Sages as the sign of this month. קֶשֶׁת

Same word... So combining the question, your post and the word I was thinking treacherous month as in treacherous Kislev.

Then the events in Paris unfolded...

Thanks for your work!


Devorah said...

That is a great example of how things work......''The path you choose to follow is the way you will be lead''. In other words, if you seek the truth, it will come to you. I often find answers before I have even started to look for them. They seem to arrive when needed. Thanks for sharing.