According to The Sefer Yetzira, as quoted in The Beni Yisasschar, Chodesh Kislev is when we are more so able to work on, and strengthen our sleep patterns, and discover our true dreams.
The organ of our body which is most emphasized, in the sense that we become quite aware of it this month, is our stomach, for now as the weather gets colder we will be increasing our food intake, thus taxing our stomachs.
As far as dreams are concerned, amazingly enough, every sedra/parsha during the month of Kislev mentions a dream, or as in Vayishlach, a spiritual happening during the night-as with Yakov struggling against the Angle of Esav.
So we have Parshat Vayetze with Yakov’s dream of a ladder reaching from heaven to earth, Vayishlach as I just mentioned, Vayashev, the dreams of Yoseph, and also that of the baker and the wine pourer, and Miketz, the dream of Paro. This is just another “no coincidence” sign of how Ezra the Sofer, set up for us, how, and when, the Parsha’s of our Torah, should be read. Also miraculous is that during the first week of Kislev is when here in The Land of Israel and many other parts of the world, that the sun begins to set extra early, and only at Chanukah do we once again see the day beginning to expand, and so too we see in the sedra/parshat Vayetze, which we read as we begin Kislev, that, “the sun all of a sudden set”, and therefore, Yakov slept right in the place he was, namely, Our Temple Mount.
As we are entering into the colder weather there is a need for us to increase our consumption of good quality carbohydrates, such as, of course lentils! As we also see in Vayetze, that Yakov was cooking lentils. We also see that in just two more weeks from then, when the weather is actually really cold, that it will then be time to put on a coat, and so too, at that exact time, as it is getting much colder, we read Parshat Vayashev, the Parsha with the story of Yakov giving his son Yoseph The Multi Colored Coat!
Now is time to get back to whole grains and beans as our main staple food. We will also need in our diets, beginning during the week of Parshat Vayashev, more sweets, such as dried dates. A date in Hebrew is called a Tamar—the same name of Yehuda’s daughter in law, and believe it or not, this is yes a hint for us to begin eating more dates! Then the following week, during Miketz, we see that Yakov sends a huge amount of The Sweet Fruits of The Land of Israel to the mysterious leader in Egypt, Yoseph, at that time its best to also include lots of raisons in your diet. Obviously I am only talking about Organic produce!
Being that Chanukah is in Kislev, Kislev is often called “The Month Lights”. We therefore, in order for our brains to properly process all the new light which enters our brains at this time, we need in our diet, sweet dried fruits, which being that they have a high sugar content, eating them will help our brain to work. So too, oil helps to expand our brain and receive the light. For this reason we do crave oil and sweet. So let’s do it in a healthy way. Be creative—try for instance oats in the form of oatmeal together with date syrup, and olive oil. You can even add flour to it and make oatmeal cookies! Though as we will soon learn, best at this time not to eat baked products and instead, lightly sauté with either water or oil.
We see then, that though Yakov and his sons had plenty “food” such as wine, sweets, and meat (they came to Egypt with their live stock), even still, Yakov tells his sons: “go down to Egypt and bring us back some provisions”-which Rashi tells us, “provisions”, is GRAIN. In fact, Yakov adds the words: “so we may live and not die”. My question is; why not just say, “so we may live” or, so we may not die”-why the double loshon/way of speaking? The answer seems clear, that when we make whole grains our main sustaining food; we will experience “life”. This is a life which is not only, not being dead, but rather, being truly alive, and experiencing (G-d willing), the Light of Life at its fullest. (Doesn’t the Coke commercial say that too, “Coke adds life”, but we know that’s not true—I hope so)
Our Rabbis have told us that the blessing for Grain products is: “He Who has created forms of “Mezonote”, which means, “sustenance”. No other food, other than grain products receives this blessing.
For info on this blessing “Mazonote”, health, and more about this idea of life, please check my website. www.thereturninglight.com
Olive oil is a main topic of Chanukah. We not only need to use oil for our Chanukah Lights, but to also consume more oil. Oil has an “expansive effect” on our brains, thus allowing for the new light to enter. As the Light of Rosh Hashanah begins to reach to this world is Chanukah. This is “The Light of Change”, as in, “Rosh Hashanah”, which literally translated, means, “”The Head of the Change”. We therefore want to be open to receive this new light of change, and though consuming olive oil helps for this new light to reach to, and enter our head, we still need to also become less “rigid”, and be open to, and able to make this change. Therefore, as we are reading at the end of Parshat Vayashev about the Bread Baker who dies, and the wine/or grape juice, pourer who lives, we in turn should also cut down on our bread consumption, and instead, consume more wine, and or grape juice. In fact the Torah tells us that once Benyamin comes down to Egypt, Yoseph has all his brothers together with him for a meat meal, and at that meal, of course is also wine, and as the Torah tells us “they got drunk”!
For us this day of getting drunk, is Zote Chanukah, for now we have entered the new month of Tevet, the final “Din”-judgment for this coming Year, and so too the Tribe associated with Tevet is The Tribe of Dan—the letters Din.
Once the new light is in, we must accept reality, and one very good way to deal with it is to get a bit drunk! At New Years too, when this new light is reaching even more so to this physical world, and as I have mentioned many times; the English word “year” in Hebrew means “to shine light”, therefore at “New Years” the world is proclaiming that a New Light, the light of blessing and change is now here! Have a Happy Chanukah!