Benjamin: Tribe of Kislev

Kislev (כִּסְלֵו) is called the month of dreams because nine of the ten dreams explicitly mentioned in the Torah occur in the Torah portions of Kislev (, which explains why Kohenet associates Kislev with the Baalot Ov (בַּעֲלַת-אוֹב)– but what does that have to do with Benjamin?   Benjamin is the last son of Jacob and the only full brother of Joseph.  When he was born Rachel named him Ben-Oni (בֶּן-אוֹנִי), son of my sorrow (Genesis 35:18), as she died giving birth. Jacob renamed him Benyamin (בִּנְיָמִין), son of the right hand – or good luck (Jewish Encyclopedia).  Just in the moment of his birth, Benjamin is both a blessing and a curse.

I find it interesting that Benjamin’s birth is part of Genesis 35.  In this one passage Jacob’s camp gives up their “strange gods” (35:2-4), Rebekah’s nurse Deborah dies (35:8), Jacob is given the name Yisrael (35:10), Ben-Oni is born (35:18), Ben-Oni is renamed Ben Yamin (35:18), Rachel dies (35:19), and Issac dies (35:29).

The next we hear of Benjamin is in Gen 42:4, when his other brothers are sent to Egypt to seek food to relieve the family from the famine.  He appears nowhere in the story between his birth and the next time he plays another role as a catalyst of events over which he has no control.

When, Benjamin, this beloved child is given his blessing by Jacob:

“Benjamin is a wolf that raveneth; in the morning he devoureth the prey, and at even he divideth the spoil.”

Gen 49:27

Does this sound like the blessing you give a beloved child?

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