Kislev (or Chislev) is the ninth month on the Jewish calendar, counting from Nisan. It is best known for the holiday of Chanukah, which 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 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.

In this month, we celebrate the redemption of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad Chassidism, who had been imprisoned on false charges by the czarist regime. These charges were reflective of spiritual charges brought against him for openly teaching the deepest insights of Torah. On the 19th of Kislev, he was freed, paving the way both physically and spiritually to continue teaching Chassidism. This day is referred to as the “New Year of Chassidism.”

Learn more about 19 Kislev.