Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The month of Kislev has arrived, and as the smell of latkes and donuts, fill the air, we all wait anxiously for the end of the month, when we will celebrate Chanukah, the holiday of lights.

Most of our holidays begin in the middle of the month. The high holidays open the year with a month full of preparation and celebration. While the holiday of Chanukah is celebrated at the very end of the month and even ends in the beginning of the next month, Tevet. What significance does the month that a holiday falls out, have on us? What can we learn from these months and in what way can we grow from the fact that a holiday is celebrated in a specific month.

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Time and timing have an important role in the existence of the world. We remember special events by the date they occurred. We are all born on a certain date and we pay close attention to that date each time it comes around year after year. In the month of Kislev, we celebrate the holiday of Chanukah. This holiday falls out during the shortest and darkest days of the year. Chanukah lights up the darkness.

Where does one usually feel the darkness and sadness most? And were does one feel light and happiness most? In our hearts.

The word Kis in Hebrew means pocket. The word Lev means heart. There is an expression that says; “don’t wear your heart on your sleeve.” I think that expression warns us about being too sensitive and of not being too vulnerable, so that we won’t get hurt. However, as a special twist, this month is telling us to keep your heart in your pocket.

A pocket is a closed place, although one has access to their pocket. If one’s heart, so to speak, is in a pocket, then we have the choice to let in the light to that pocket, or let it remain alone and in the dark. Kislev is full of light, and is full of heart. During each special holiday, a person can receive energy from that specific time. During this month we have the ability to connect on a deeper level to our hearts and our feeling. We can be uplifted by the light and have it go straight into our hearts. By the fact that our hearts are more accessible to us, being in our pockets, we can control what we let in more easily.

When one can see something, they have better control over it. If you’re watching a precious item, and you know it’s in your pocket, your awareness is very acute. You might even keep your hand in your pocket, to feel it and make sure that it’s still there. This item is on your mind constantly and you will make sure nothing happens to this special item.

Having our heart in such close proximity means having the awareness and the ability to listen and feel, on a much higher level about what goes in and out of our hearts. Our heart are, thank goodness, always with us, however in the month of Kislev we have the choice of letting more heart into whatever it is we are doing. We are letting the “light,” which are the good and happy thoughts, and, the loving people, into our hearts. During this time period there is a power in the air that helps light up the dark days and spread light into the world.

The Maccabees, with only a few people, fought the Greek nation who were high and mighty and had many soldiers. But what the Maccabees had was that light, was that ability, to let in the goodness which is G-d and his Torah. They held onto their hearts and beliefs, and fought with all their might. G-d saw their determination and true desire to hold on to what was precious and good, so Hashem fought for them and made sure that they came out winners. We are winners when we stick to what we believe is right, even if we are a minority, as were the Maccabees.

The end of Chanukah comes out in the beginning of the next month, Tevet. A month in which we fast and remember the events that led to the destruction of the holy Temple. This too is of significant importance. The light that the Maccabees cherished and fought for, which is the light of the holy Temple and the Torah, that the Jewish people stand by, was later destroyed. We remember this tragic event specifically on Chanukah which is all heart and light. This is to remind us that the good and the bad are mixed together, and it is our work and duty to bring out the light and fight for the goodness to override the darkness.

So with a lot of heart, and positive energy, let us protect our hearts, and bring in the light and see the goodness in everything we do and in all that surrounds us.

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