To me, the month of Kislev represents my winter holiday cheer as I await my Chanukah lights, and my cozy family gatherings with doughnuts and latkes.

The cold, blustery wind alongside the warm, bright Chanukah candles represents the light amid the darkness, and revelation amid concealment, which is certainly powerful!

That is the inspiration of Chanukah, but Chanukah only begins at the very end of the month, on the 25th day of Kislev. Does the month of Kislev hold its own message? Is there more to this special month than the holiday?

According to Sefer Yetzirah, an ancient Kabbalistic text, each Jewish month has a letter, a limb, a sense, a zodiac, a tribe, a color and a body part that are uniquely connected to that month.

Kislev has the letter “samech.” In theAmidah prayer that we say every day, we praise G‑d as “someich noflim—He Who supports those who fall.” In multiple verses in Psalms, the word “someich” means support, and our letter samech has the same root as someich. To deepen things, the word Kislev is rooted in the word kesel, which can mean “trust.” Support and trust work hand in hand, and it is these words that shape the meaning of this month.

In the Hebrew aleph-bet, the letter nun is right before the letter samech. There are no mistakes, no coincidences and no happenstance. Our Sages teach that the letter nun represents bar nofli, “one who has fallen.” The samech stands right alongside it, able to support those who have fallen.

Clearly, the concept of support is deeply interwoven with Kislev.

We can tap into this strength this month.

The month of Kislev is the first real month of winter. For those of us living in colder climates, the snow is beginning to fall, and our heat is blasting. The winter months are more isolating as people rush from place to place to get out of the cold.

With trust in G‑d, the Jewish people were victorious against the Syrian Greeks in the story of Chanukah, and it was with the support of G‑d and their brethren that they were able to achieve what they needed to do.

It is with trust in G‑d that we make our way through the dark, cold months of the winter, and it is with the support of G‑d and our brethren that we celebrate this month—that we gather together and continue to celebrate life.

Our strength this month is to lean into trust and support. And it’s not easy to do! As independent beings, many of us strive to be completely self-dependent. Even asking G‑d for help can feel frightening and vulnerable; stepping into the unknown can be downright terrifying. But here is Kislev, whispering to us: It’s OK. We’ve got this.

Finally, the shape of our samech is a circle, an infinite embrace, and this represents an embrace from G‑d. G‑d is holding us, supporting us and leaving us with only one job to do, which is to trust Him.


Take a deep breath in through your nose. Release the breath through your mouth.

Circle your arms around yourself in an embrace.

Envision that the arms that are holding you can and will protect you from harm.

Envision that the arms that are holding you are strong enough to hold you, even if you completely collapse, even if your strength falters and the arms are all you have holding you up.

Your arms may not be (but G‑d’s “arms”) are strong enough to hold you, your fears and your concerns. G‑d’s arms are strong enough to hold your pain, your relationships and your secrets.

Squeeze and envision the whisper from Kislev—lean into trust, lean into the support that is yours for the taking. It may be cold outside, but this G‑dly embrace is always waiting.

Sources: This article is based on:Samech, the Fifteenth LetterNun, The Fourteenth Letter and The Month of Kislev According to the Book of Formation (Sefer Yetzirah).