2 Kislev 5765
Becoming Baalei Bitachon
By Brocha David, Michlala
The names we give each month (i.e. Tishrei, Cheshvan, Kislev, etc) originated in Galus Bavel. Each name is meant to be a lesson as to the unique spiritual potential of that month. What is the meaning of the name “Kislev”?
The root of Kislev is kaf-samech-lamed, “kesel,” which in various pesukim is used to mean trust:
“Ki Hashem Yihiyeh BeKisli” (Mishlei 3)
“Veyasimu Be-elokim Kislam” (Tehillim 78)
Based on this, Rav Tzadok HaCohen teaches that the avodah of Kislev is Bitachon, “Vinireh she-eisek chodesh zeh she-kol echad meyisrael yihiyeh lo mivtach oz ba-Shem”. When Kislev arrives we have at hand a propitious opportunity to take strength in Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Although clearly a person can strengthen his bitachon at any time, during Kislev we get an extra boost from the spiritual energy of this month- the segulas hazman of Kislev.
The theme of bitachon is echoed in other areas connected to Kislev as well. Each of the twelve Shevatim is parallel to one of the 12 months and the Shevet of Kislev is Binyamin. When Moshe blessed Shevet Binyamin he said, “Yedid Hashem yishkon lavetach alav…” In the nachalah of Binyamin the Beis Hamidkash was situated, a bayis filled with Hashem’s shechina. Reb Tzadok HaCohen teaches that in Kislev we each have to look inside ourselves and recognize that deep down we too are connected with and surrounded by the shechina.
According to the Sefer Yetzira, every month is connected with a letter of the Aleph Beis and a specific human ability or action (e.g. walking, talking, thinking, etc). The letter connected with Kislev is “samech” and the action is “sleeping.” Samech, Chazal tell us, represents “someich”, as in “someich Hashem lekol hanoflim”, the One we can always be “someich” on. We can rely on Him unfailingly, He is always there supporting us.
Sleeping also connotes a form of letting go. We humans are not omnipotent – we have limited strength. At a certain point we need to sleep to gather the strength to continue. Sleeping reminds us that we don not have unlimited power, we are mortal. Hashem, however, never sleeps, “hinei lo yanum velo yishan shomer yisrael”!!! If you’ve ever seen a security guard asleep on the job, you know just how precious this guarantee is! Hashem’s powers are not limited in any way. He is always watching over us and we can depend of Him for everything.
These days in Yerushalayim the bus stops are swarming with security guards. At peak times, in busy places, you are likely to find one (or more!) at every stop. While of course we most appreciated deeply the hard work and efforts of these guards, we have to remember that they are just that – efforts, the hishtadlus we do. The outcome is in Hashem’s hands. The guards are called “Anshei Bitachon”; we strive to be “Baalei Bitachon” (or as someone recently remarked to me “The guards should be called Anshei Hishtadlus because that’s exactly what they are!). How often do we stop and remind ourselves of what we know to be true, “Im Hashem lo yishmar ir, shav shakad shomer”!
On the pasuk in Shir HaShirim, “Ani yisheina velibi air”, the Midrash Rabba explains that Hashem is called the “heart” of Bnei Yisroel. “Ani Yisheina mei-ha-geulah vilebo shel Hkb”h air le-gealuni” We look to Hashem during the dark of the galus knowing that everything s in His hands. We are sleeping. He is not. On Chanuka we relive the victory over Yavan, the victory that we won against all odds – the many in the hands of the few. Chazal compare Yavan to choshech, darkness – the dark of the night when we sleep but Hashem does not. The dark of the night is when we need our bitachon more than ever, “ve-emunascha baleilos”.
Chanuka provides the light that relieves the overpowering darkness, the bitachon to resolve our doubts. We are reminded that Hashem is indeed close by. As Rav S. R. Hirsch writes (collected writing, Vol. 2 Kislev 2) “The teaching of Shem… portrayed G-d in His infinite sublimity and sovereignty but at the same time pictures His infinite, omnipresent, blissful proximity. This sublime and merciful “One” whose word created the world whose well guides the universe, who nourishes every creature from worm to seraph. He is closer to you than anyone else, His kingship with you is unmatched”.
May we merit feeling that closeness and filling the world with the light of Chanukah!