Thursday evening begins the month of Kislev. Kislev is related to the word Kislah, which means hope and confidence. Kislev is the darkest time of year, but it encourages us to stay hopeful and confident, even when we are moving through dark or difficult times.
During Kislev we celebrate Hanukkah, a time when the holy temple was reclaimed and re-purified after being desecrated, and a single cruse of oil miraculously brought eight days of light instead of one. This reminds me that there is always the possibility to begin again and reclaim our inner holiness and light, even when things seem bleak. It might require some effort, but we should never give up. We always have the choice to re-dedicate ourselves to nurturing our inner light in order to be of service to ourselves and others.
What might help you to stay hopeful and steadily move towards more light in your life?
There is some beautiful imagery in this week’s Torah portion about the powerful act of looking up or raising the eyes. Isaac has recently lost his mother, and is undoubtedly grieving. He looks up and sees his bride-to-be Rebecca for the first time, arriving on camel. Rebecca raises her eyes and sees her husband-to-be Isaac and though I imagine she might be nervous to meet her husband for the first time, she immediately descends from her camel. They seal their marriage which also brings comfort to Isaac in his sadness.
Looking up from our emotional challenges (sadness, fear, etc.) and taking in the present reality can require the courage to step outside of our comfort zone. Thinking of our own lives, is it time to boldly act as Isaac and Rebecca did, or maybe just watch, take it in and embrace a new perspective?
I am a Rabbinic Chaplain in the Jewish Renewal tradition who brings a light-filled and joyful Judaism to others who want to experience the beauty of Jewish spirituality.