1. It’s Month #9 and #3

The Jewish year has (at least1) two “heads,” Nissan in the spring and Tishrei in the fall. Counting from Nissan, this is the ninth month, and counting from Tishrei—when we observe the High Holidays and the joyous festival of Sukkot—it is the third.

2. Kislev Can Have 29 or 30 Days

The Hebrew months generally alternate in length. One has 29 days, the next has 30, etc. The exceptions are Kislev and the preceding month of Cheshvan, which can (a) both have 29; (b) both have 30; or (c) have 29 and 30 respectively, allowing for the Jewish months to be calibrated just so.

Explore: The Hebrew Months

3. It Never Starts on Shabbat

Most dates in the Jewish calendar can occur on four out of seven days of the week. Since Cheshvan can have either 29 or 30 days, there are two more possible days for every date in Kislev. Thus, this month can begin on every day of the week aside from Shabbat.

25 Shabbat Facts Every Jew Should Know

4. The Great Deluge Ended on 27 Kislev

The rains of the Great Flood in the time of Noah began on 17 Cheshvan and continued for 40 days. Thus, the lion’s share of the rain took place in Kislev, ending on the 27th of the month.

Read: The Story of Noah’s Ark

5. The Month Ends in the Middle of Chanukah

Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, begins on the evening preceding 25 Kislev and ends 8 days later, which means Kislev departs as the Chanukah lights spread their ever-increasing brightness in the winter dusk.

Read: 13 Chanukah Facts Every Jew Should Know

6. It’s Associated With the Supportive Letter Samach

The ancient mystical work of Sefer Yetzirah tells us regarding this month that G‑d “produced the letter samech, predominant in sleep, crowned, combined, and formed the bow in the world and Kislev in the year…”2 The previous month, Cheshvan, has been associated with the biting scorpion and the letter nun, which stands for nofel, fall. This month, we are thus uplifted with the letter samech, which means “support.”

Explore: The Letter Samech

7. Its Astrological Sign is the Bow (Sagittarius)

As noted in the Sefer Yetzirah, this month’s Hebrew sign (mazal) is the bow (keshet). According to the rabbis of the Midrash, this tells us that even if a person’s sins are like the poisonous bite of the scorpion, through prayer they can be catapulted to a better place.3

Some associate this bow with the rainbow shown to Noah after the flood.4

Read: What’s the Significance of the Rainbow in Judaism?

8. Kislev Has Many Meanings

Some associate the word Kislev with the word kesel, which means “flank,” implying the innate and intuitive desire in G‑d.5 Others connect it with the word ksil, “fool,” showing how G‑d even cares for those who have acted foolishly.6

9. Ezra Presided Over a Mass Gathering in this Month

In the early years of the Second Temple era, Ezra called the Jewish people to a special meeting in the courtyard of the Temple. As they shivered under the harsh rain, the people agreed to divorce the idolatrous spouses they had married.7

Read: Who Was Ezra the Scribe?

10. It’s Rife With Important Days in Chabad History

Kislev 19, the day the first Chabad rebbe was released from Tsarist prison in 1798, is celebrated as the Rosh Hashanah of Chassidism. But there are many other significant days for Chabad in this month. Here are some:

Rosh Chodesh Kislev is the day the Rebbe returned home in 1977, signaling that he had been restored to robust health after major heart attack on Shemini Atzeret.

9 Kislev is the anniversary of birth (1773) and passing (1827) of Rabbi Dov Ber, the second Chabad rebbe.

On 10 Kislev, 1826, Rabbi Dov Ber was released from prison, where he had been held on trumped-up charges of aiding enemies of Russia.

14 Kislev is fondly celebrated as the anniversary of the wedding of the Rebbe and Rebbetzin in 1928.

Read: Five Festive Highlights From the Chassidic Month of Kislev

11. The Mishkan Was Completed in This Month

The sages tell us that the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was completed during this month. Moses delayed the inauguration, however, until the springtime month of Nissan, the month in which Isaac was born. Kislev was recompensed when, nearly a thousand years later, the Temple was rededicated on Kislev 25 during the Chanukah events.8

Read: What Was the Mishkan?

12. The Second Temple Was Founded in this Month

We read in the prophecy of Haggai (Haggai 2:18): “Pay attention now, from this day and before—from the twenty-fourth [day] of the ninth [month]—from the day that the Temple of the L‑rd was founded, pay attention.” According to Rashi, this means that “they began to add to the first foundation that they had built in the days of Cyrus.”

Read: The Second Temple Was Built