Compensating Kislev

Nov 24, 2014

Mrs. Menucha Chwat

The Midrash (Shemot Rabba 52:2) reveals that the 25th of Kislev was not only when the rededication of the Temple took place in the times of the Chashmonaim, but was also the date when the Mishkan was completed by Moshe and the people of Israel. The actual dedication of the Mishkan, we are told in the Torah, was on the 1st of Nissan, though. The Midrash explains the delay.

The Midrash tells the story: “On the 25th of Kislev the work of Mishkan was completed, and its components sat folded up [for three months] until the 1st of Nissan, because G-d wanted the Mishkan to be erected in the month that Yitzchak was born. The month of Kislev was thus deprived. Said G-d: ‘I must compensate it.’ How did G-d compensate the month of Kislev – through the dedication of the Temple by the Chashmonaim (on Chanukah).”

The Midrash explains why the dedication was delayed from Kislev to Nissan, but leaves us with a number of questions. Why is Yitzchak the patriarch honored with the dedication of the Mishkan? Why not dedicate the Mishkan on the birthdate of one of the other patriarchs? Furthermore, how is the dedication by the Chashmonaim considered fitting compensation?

Yitzchak symbolizes sacrifice. He was willing to let himself be bound on the altar on Har Hamoriah at the Akeida. It is therefore fitting that the Mishkan, where sacrifices are offered, be associated with him.

The Chashmonaim, generations later, also exemplified self-sacrifice. In their struggle with the Greeks, they were willing to sacrifice themselves to purify Har Hamoriah, where their ancestor Yitzchak was willing to sacrifice himself for Hashem. Through the Chashmonaim, the month of Kislev is appropriately “compensated” with the rededication and purification of the Temple.

May we merit to have Har Hamoriah purified and rededicated speedily in our days.

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