The Month of Kislev
Seasons of the Moon Kislev's sign is the Bow (Keshet, in Hebrew).

At the beginning of Kislev the first rainbow was seen after the Flood. The rainbow symbolizes the pact that God made with Noach never again to destroy the world with water.

Mystically, the bow also symbolizes the power of prayer - the closer the bowstring is drawn downward, the higher the arrow soars skyward; so too, the deeper the source of a prayer, the higher it reaches into the Heavens.

On the festival of Lag B'Omer in the month of Iyar, there is a widespread custom to shoot arrows from a bow and arrow. Let us try and understand the connection between the bow of Lag B'Omer and the bow of Kislev, the month of Chanuka.

One of the events we commemorate on Lag B'Omer is the passing of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. On the day he left this world, Rabbi Shimon revealed many of the hidden secrets of the Torah - the hidden light. The revelation of the hidden light of the Torah is like the revelation of the colors in the rainbow. White light seems indivisible, inscrutable. No detail can be discerned in its pure whiteness. The rainbow reveals the secret anatomy of the white light. It shows us how the white light is really composed of all the colors.

Just as the rainbow reveals the hidden colors within the white light, so Chanuka reveals the hidden light of Torah.

Of all Yaakov Avinu's sons, the one who is most closely associated with the learning of Torah is Yissaschar. Yissaschar was born on Shavuot, the festival of the Torah's giving. His conception, however, was on Chanuka. Thus Yissaschar himself, his very entrance into this world, connects Chanuka to Shavuot. It connects the hidden and the revealed Torah. Just as the conception of life is something hidden, something that only makes itself manifest after the fact, so Chanuka symbolizes the Torah's hidden light.

Birth represents the ultimate revelation of that which is hidden. Shavuot too, is the ultimate revelation - the Torah revealed in light and sound on Mount Sinai. Shavuot is the Torah's 'birthday' and the birth of the Jewish Nation.

When you close your eyes and think of Chanuka, what comes into your mind? The lights of the Chanukia. The Dreidel spinning. The aroma of Latkes and doughnuts. And of course - the sound of "Maoz Tzur". In that beautiful stirring Chanuka song, we sing of the B'nei Vina, the "Children of Understanding". These "children of understanding" were the children of Yissachar who understood and inherited the connection of Chanuka to Shavuot. They symbolize the connection between the hidden and the revealed Torah. As the Book of Chronicles says, the children of Yissaschar are "the knowers of understanding of the times."

More articles available at Ohr Somayach's website.