The religious observances of Judaism rely on the lunar calendar and the monthly arrival of a new moon is an occasion for special prayers and celebration. Rosh Chodesh, Hebrew for “head of the month”, is the monthly holiday that celebrates the arrival of the new moon, marking the start of a new month on the Jewish calendar. With this new moon we usher in Kislev, the third month of the civil year and ninth month on the Hebrew calendar.
It is said that each month on the Hebrew Calendar is attributed to one of the Tribes of Israel according to the order of their encampment in the Wilderness. The month of Kislev refers to Binyamin, the 9th tribe in the sequence of encampment and journeying (Bamidbar, 2:22-24), just as Kislev is the 9th month counting from Nissan.
Kislev is a special time of the year; Chanukah begins on 25 Kislev. The message of Chanukah is the eternal power of light over darkness—good over evil. Aside from commemorating the miraculous victory of the small Jewish army over the mighty Syrian-Greek empire, Chanukah also celebrates the miracle of the oil. When the Jews sought to light the Temple menorah after the war, they found only one small jug of pure oil. Miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, and the sages instituted the eight-day festival of Chanukah during which we kindle the menorah nightly.
As the secular calendar turns from November to December and the Hebrew calendar turns from Cheshvan to Kislev, the Florida Region of FJMC wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Chanukah.
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