The Tribe associated with Kislev is Benjamin
The name: Benjamin בנימין in the חשן – Kho-shen
the Breastplate of the High Priest was incised
on the ישפה Yashpeh, or jasper,
which was rainbow colored.
The banner of Benjamin in the desert travels
showed a wolf,
preying on its spoil, emanating ferocity,
according to the Blessing of Jacob to the Tribes
in Parshat Vayechi:
“Benjamin is a fierce wolf” בנימין זאב יטרף
In addition the Tribe was known to be
skilled in archery, which relates to
Zodiac sign or מזל of the month:
Sagittarius or Keshet קשת
(the archer’s bow and also a rainbow)
which will be discussed below.
Whereas Moshe`s blessing to the Tribe
in Parshat VeZot HaBracha
relates to the Tribe’s future location
(actually a small protrusion
into the boundary of Judah)
upon which the Holy Temple
in Jerusalem would stand
and of course connects
with the miracle of the Lights of Chanukah
and the service of the Temple, which
is celebrated this month.
לְבִנְיָמִן אָמַר יְדִיד י-ה-ו-ה יִשְׁכֹּן לָבֶטַח עָלָיו
חֹפֵף עָלָיו כָּל הַיּוֹם וּבֵין כְּתֵפָיו שָׁכֵן
“About Benjamin he said:
May God’s beloved
dwell securely with Him
(in the Bait HaMikdash).
May the Divine Presence cover
(and protect) him forever
and dwell among the high places”
In the painting above the “gestalts”
of all the ideas may be discerned,
as well as in the video art version below.
The Hebrew letter that permeates Kislev – כִּסְלֵו
is the ס Samech and even the month in Hebrew
can be read “completely Samech” כולו ס
The name of the letter Samech implies “support” – סוֹמֵךְ
having trust and confidence in Divine providence,
hence it is shaped like a circle
representing God’s Infinite light
as suggested in the video art below:
In this video there is an unexpected phenomenon
(which I found so disturbing I thought to erase it)
of the short appearance of swastikas
rapidly swallowed up by the Samech circle
and relates to the fallen letter Nun of Mar-Heshvan,
which symbolizes the Destruction and the Galut,
so much so that
in the prayer acrostic of Ashrei (Psalms 155)
said three – four times each day
the phrase beginning with Nun is omitted.
Instead the letter is subsumed
into the following phrase:
סוֹמֵךְ י-ה-ו-ה לְכָל הַנֹּפְלִים
“God supports all the fallen”.
Reflecting on this,
we can sense the power of the Samech
that even during the Holocaust,
God’s “support” was present
and the destruction was not totally irreversible
which seen in retrospect is
the greatest miracle of all:
נ+ס Nun + Samech = Ness נס
The Ness experience can be found in
why we celebrate
the holiday of Chanukah
which is the subject of my series of video art:
We should also include the Holiday of Yod Tet Kislev
the miraculous release of the first Rebbe of Chabad
Harav Schneur Zalman from jail and a death sentence,
a watershed event for the promulgation of chassidus.
The Archer’s Bow and the Rainbow
As mentioned above
the Zodiac sign or מזל of the month:
Sagittarius or Keshet קשת
(the archer’s bow and also a rainbow in Hebrew)
both semi-circles but if combined together
(at least graphically) we get again our infinite circle,
symbolizing the Encompassing Light אור מקיף.
The bow and the more ethereal rainbow
can be considered the complements
of sleeping and dreaming
the Attribute for this month.
(There are 10 Dreams
described in Pentateuch,
all of them occur in the Parshas
read during the month Kislev!)
Falling asleep is like shooting an arrow
and releasing the tension on the string.
And if we are worthy, our dreams
will be on target and with rainbow colors,
even the Ultimate Dream of the Redemption:
בְּשׁוּב י-ה-ו-ה אֶת שִׁיבַת צִיּוֹן הָיִינוּ כְּחֹלְמִים
When God will restore us to Zion
we will be like Dreamers.
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