KISLEV (Heb. כִּסלֵו), the post-Exilic name of the ninth month of the Jewish year. The name occurs in Assyrian inscriptions, in biblical records (Zech. 7:1; Neh. 1:1), and frequently in the Apocrypha and in rabbinic literature (e.g., Megillat Ta'anit) with variants in Assyrian and Palmyrian inscriptions and Greek transcriptions. The etymology of the term has not yet been satisfactorily elucidated. Like *Marḥeshvan, it consists of 29 or 30 days, in either common or *leap years. The 1st of Kislev never falls on the Sabbath. In the 20th century, Kislev, in its earliest occurrence, extended from November 4th to December 3rd (4th), and, in its latest, from December 3rd to 31st (January 1st).
Historic days in Kislev comprise: (1) 1st of Kislev, the announcement of a series of public fasts in Judea in the intercession for rain in years of drought (Ta'an. 1:5); (2) 3rd of Kislev, the anniversary of a Hasmonean victory over the Greeks (Meg. Ta'an. 339); (3) 7st of Kislev, the anniversary of the death of Herod (ibid.); (4) 21st of Kislev, "the day of Gerizim," commemorating the decision by Alexander the Great in favor of the Temple of Jerusalem against the rival Samaritan claim for the Temple on Mount *Gerizim (Meg. Ta'an 339–40, with variance of the date in Yoma 69a and parallels); (5) 25th of Kislev to 2nd (3rd) of *Tevet, the festival of *Ḥanukkah.
[Ephraim Jehudah Wiesenberg]