As I write these words, it’s hard to tell that it’s fall. The day is bright, and the sky is cloudless and blue. The leaves are mostly gone from the trees, but the grass remains green. And yet today marks the beginning of Kislev, a month that augurs the darkest part of the year and (ironically?) our Festival of Lights.
The seasonal rhythms of the great state of Colorado dictate that, regardless of the temperature, it’s time for patio furniture be covered and outdoor rugs rolled up. It’s time to get the ski equipment ready for winter. (As a kid, I always looked forward to our annual visit to the downtown Gart Brothers Sports Castle to get new equipment for the upcoming ski season.)
With daylight diminishing and winter around the corner, I wonder what we can do—other than the practical things I’ve already listed—during the dark days ahead to care for ourselves and for others. Our sages tell us that the holy Tabernacle was completed during this month of Kislev, though it wasn’t dedicated until the spring.
How can we build at such a time? What can we build? I think that the answer is, perhaps somewhat obviously, warmth. We can, despite the diminishing ebbing of daylight and the ensuing dark of winter, brighten our lives and the lives of those around us. There is no one way to do it, no single recipe to be followed, no list of pragmatic tasks to be checked off. Merely look inside and share whatever joy you find there with others.
May this Shabbat bring each of you warmth and light.
Rabbi Jay Strear
President & CEO
Please email Rabbi Strear at CEO@JEWISHcolorado.org with comments or questions.