Month of Kislev
Kislev is the ninth of the Jewish months and the third month of the Jewish year*.
The astrological sign of Kislev is the bow (Sagittarius). The first rainbow ever seen was in the month of Kislev. The rainbow was the sign that G-d showed Noah after the flood, representing the covenant which G-d made with the world that no matter what, He will not bring a flood to destroy the world again. The rainbow also alludes to the final victory of light over darkness with the coming of Moshiach.
The bow and arrow also represent the battle of the Maccabees against the Hellenistic empire - the few against the many - and the trust that G-d would assist them and grant them victory. The Maccabees did indeed win and were able to rededicate the Holy Temple in Jerusalem on Chanukah which we celebrate in the month of Kislev.
Trust and Tranquility
The root of the word Kislev is K.S.L. which means trust. Chanukah is associated with the Sphere of Netzach, the sphere of endurance and victory which comes through casting one's trust to Divine Providence and assistance.
The faculty of the month of Kislev according to the book of Yetzirah is the faculty of sleep. This alludes to sleep as an expression of inner security and peace.
[Exercise: Use the power of this month to identify the fears and limiting beliefs that stand in the way of you experiencing confidence and tranquility. See what "stories" you have that justify your insecurities and ask yourself if you would be willing to give them up on behalf of your inner peace.]
The letter that governs the month of Kislev is "Samech", which means support. Samech is shaped like a circle, representing the all-encompassing presence of G-d and His infinite light which embraces every person.
The two main events that are celebrated in this month are the holiday of Chanukah and the 19th of Kislev - the New Year of Chassidus. Kislev is the third month from Tishrei (first month of the Jewish year), similar to Sivan which is the third month from Nissan (first month of the Jewish calendar). Just as Sivan is the month of the giving of the Torah, so too is Kislev the month of revealing the inner dimension of Torah.
Since this month is a time for the revelation of a new dimension - the soul of the Torah, there is also an aspect of the miraculous in Kislev. The most known miracle is the miracle of Chanukah that happened with oil. In Kabbalah oil in general, and especially olive oil, represents the innermost mystical aspects of the wisdom of Torah - where intellect meets the Divine. In this month we celebrate the redemption from the dark, cold air of skepticism and the confines of logic to the warm, lit-up air of faith and the unlimited possibilities of super-logic: the Divine revealed.
The 19th of Kislev is the day on which the Torah of Chassidus came out victorious over all its opponents. This occurred with the liberation of the follower of the Baal Shem Tov and founder of Chabad Chassidus, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, from prison. This liberation began a process of revealing and spreading the wellsprings of Torah to the furthest places physically and spiritually, which will culminate with the coming of Moshiach.
Chanukah begins on the 25th of Kislev. We celebrate Chanukah for eight days. On the eve of the first day we light one candle, then add one candle each night, all together lighting 36 candles. The light of the Chanukah menorah (candelabra) is very special. The Kabbalists teach us that this light is a radiance of the primary Divine light that was shining in the world at the beginning of creation for 36 hours - until the sin of Adam and Eve. With this light Adam could see from one end of the world to the other. When the sin occurred this light was concealed and hidden in the Torah. The menorah alludes to the wisdom and light of the Torah. The word Chanukah means dedication and training. Every year on Chanukah we train ourselves to be present to the special light of creation which will be fully revealed when Moshiach comes.
Transcending the Physical
Even though Chanukah was a time of physical victory and salvation, we mainly celebrate the spiritual victory. We celebrate the power of the soul much more than the physical power of the body. Using one of the meanings of the word Chanukah, which is training and education, we train the Jewish child from an early age to develop and rely on his spiritual strength, the key for endurance and success.
The time of Chanukah is a special time for praying to be blessed with a child, especially on the last day of Chanukah, also known as Zot Chanukah.
The transformation of darkness to light - from oppression to liberation - imbues the time of Chanukah with great joy which, like a miracle, transcends all limitations. We gather our families together to tell once again the story of the miracles of light.
*See the Ask Chana section for more details.