9th of Av - Tisha B'Av

Tisha B’Av, a day of mourning for Jewish people worldwide. Here are 7 facts in connection with this day of commemorating the destruction of the temple:

1. Tisha B’Av means 9th of Av, it is the 9th day of the fifth month of the Jewish calendar, the month of Av.

 
 
2. Both Temples were destroyed on this date and a number of other disasters in Jewish history occurred on or near this date.
3. This day is marked by fasting, prayer and supplication.
4. Following the destruction of the first Temple (2nd Kings 25:1-21) the Jews were exiled to Babylon for 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10).
4. Following the destruction of the Second Temple the Jews were exiled from Jerusalem by the Romans for nearly 2000 year.
5. Daniel received prophecy concerning the rebuilding of the first temple, the death of the Messiah and the destruction of the second temple when he fasted, and made supplication for the Jews in Babylon as he was reading Jeremiah’s prophecy, expecting that the time of redemption was at hand (Daniel chapter 9).
6. The reason thought in Judaism for the destruction of the temple is: unmerited hatred (baseless hatred) within the nation.
7. According to Jewish writings the offerings in the temple were no longer excepted 40 years before the second temple was destroyed.

Feast of Trumpets - Rosh Hashana

“Rosh HaShanah,” the “Feast of Trumpets”.
Here are 7 facts about this feast:

1. Celebrated on the first day of the 7th month of the Jewish calendar as a day of Sabbath rest and of blowing the shofar (Leviticus 23:24-25).

 
 
2. It is the first of the three fall holidays: “Feast of Trumpets”, “Day of Atonement” and the “Feast of Tabernacles”.
3. Traditionally named: “Rosh Hashana” (head of the year) and is celebrated as the new year therefore used as the beginning mark for counting the sabbatical and the jubilee (7 and 50) years cycle.
4. Biblically named: “Feast of Trumpet” or “Yom Teruah (Day of trumpet blowing) or “Zichron Teruah” (remembrance of trumpet blowing). (Leviticus 23:24).
5. The trumpet, called “Shofar” in Hebrew, was used biblically to sound the alarm and to call for attention. On the feast of Trumpet the blast of the Shofar is a wakeup call to repent.
6. The Feast of Trumpets ushers-in the “Days of Awe” (in Hebrew, “HaYamim HaNoraeem” which literally means “the terrible days”). These are the ten days from the “Feast of Trumpet” until the “Day of Atonement”. They are considered the holiest days of the Jewish calendar and are dedicated for a time of reflection, fasting, and repentance.
7. The biblical feasts represent appointed times in God’s prophetic calendar. This feast’s prophetic fulfillment is the rapture which is linked to the sound of the trumpet as mentioned in Matthew 24:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.

Day of Atonement-Yom Kippur

“Yom Kippur,” the “Day of Atonement” is the holiest day in the Hebrew calendar.
Here are 7 facts about this Holy day:

1. Celebrated on the 10th day of the 7th month of the Jewish calendar as a day of soul affliction, no work is permitted, it is a Sabbath rest. The punishment for anyone who will not afflict their soul on this day according to the scriptures is to be “cut off.” (Leviticus 23:26-32).

 
2. This day is considered the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, even Jews who do not observe any other holy day will refrain from work, fast, and go to the synagogue on this day. The roads in Israel are void of cars (even the highways) and filled with people instead.
3. There is no specific commandment in the Bible to fast on this day but in Judaism it was determined that afflicting one’s soul consists of refraining from food, drinking, bathing, using electricity and modern conveniences or any form of entertainment.
4. Yom Kippur is considered traditionally to be the Day of Judgment and at the end of this day a person’s name will be inscribed in the book that determines if they will have a good or bad year. The common holiday greeting therefore is: May you be inscribed for a good year.
5. Yom Kippur is the climax of a forty-day period of self-examination beginning with 9th of Av, the annual day of mourning the destruction of the Temple. It also marks the closing of the “10 days of Awe” between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement.
6. Biblically this was the only day in the year that the high priest was allowed to enter the “Holy of Holies” (the inner chamber in the Temple where the Ark of the Lord stood), to make atonement for the people of Israel. Most Jews today do not sacrifice anything on Yom Kippur. Those who do substitute the obligatory goat with a chicken.
7. Since the Biblical feasts represent appointed times in God’s prophetic calendar, this feast’s prophetic fulfillment is the tribulation leading to the national repentance and atonement of Israel and the Day of Judgement.

“Feast of Tabernacles” (“Hag HaSukkot”) begins the civil Jewish year, here are 7 facts about this holiday:

1. It is the 7th of the biblical feasts, celebrated on the 7th month, for 7 days. The last and 7th day of Sukkot is called “Hoshanah Rabbah”, which means “The Great Salvation”.

 

2. Celebrated by building and dwelling in temporary tabernacles for 7 days, in remembrance of the living conditions in the desert when exiting Egypt (Leviticus 23:33-36). It begins and ends with a sabbath rest.

3. It is commanded to rejoice before the Lord with branches of date trees, thick trees and willow of the brook. These are called the “Four Species”. (Leviticus 23:40)

4. This feast has additional names: “the feast of the Lord” (Leviticus 23:39). Also referred to as simply “The Feast”. “The feast of the ingathering.” (Exodus 23:16) in celebration of the end of the summer harvest.

5. The feast is connected with a strong messianic expectation for the restoration of the kingdom which is referred to as “the fallen tabernacle of David” in Amos 9:11. This expectation can be seen in the reactions of the crowd at the triumphal entrance (waving palm branches), and by the disciples at the transfiguration (offering to build tabernacles). They reacted in this way thinking that the kingdom is now restored and the feast of Tabernacles is therefore fulfilled.

6. At the Temple there were two grand ceremonies observed during this feast. One involving excessive water drawing the other of lighting great tall lampstands. Sukkot is only mentioned in John 7:1-10:21 in the NT and Yeshua’s response to both of these ceremonies is recorded there. As waters were flowing during the temple water drawing ceremony Yeshua said: “He that believes in me from within him shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-39 ). As the Jerusalem skies were illuminated by these great lampstands Yeshua said: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).

7. Zechariah 14:16-21, prophesied that the feast will be fulfilled by the Messianic kingdom as he mentions the observance of this feast during the Messianic Age. The feast of Sukkot will be fulfilled by the Messianic kingdom.

Hoshana Rabbah

Hoshana Rabbah means “Great Salvation” it is traditional Jewish name given to the seventh and final day of Sukkot, the day before Shemini Atzeret.(More details coming soon)

Shmini Atzeret / Simchaet Torah

“Shemini Atzeret” (“Eighth [day of] Assembly”) is a Biblical holiday which is somewhat obscure. Let’s learn 7 facts about this special day:

1. It is referred to as “the 8th day” in Leviticus 23:36-39, a sacred assembly and a sabbath rest. It is both ”a holiday in its own right” and the “last day of Sukkot” (Tabernacles).

2. The word “Atzeret” in Hebrew comes from the root “Atzar” which means to stop. A full stop is required, no work is allowed. This word is often translated as “assembly”.
3. “Atzeret” is used specifically to describe the special assembly days following the two week-long feasts (Passover and Tabernacles). It is celebrated in Judaism as a day of joy, giving to charity and praying for rain.
4. In modern day Israel the celebration of “Simchat Torah” (rejoicing over the Torah / the Law of Moses) is the most distinctive feature of this holiday. It is a later rabbinical addition which celebrates the conclusion and restart of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings.
5. The day prior to “Shemini Atzeret” is the last day of “Sukkot”. Called “Hoshana Rabbah” which means “The Great Salvation”.
6. The reading of the Scriptures on this day include Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17; Numbers 29:35-30:1; 1 Kings 8:54-66, and the book of Ecclesiastes.
7. The Biblical Holidays are a shadow of things to come (Colossians 2:17). They are celebrated in spring and fall with a big time gap in between. The spring holidays were fulfilled by the first coming of Messiah, likewise the fall feast will be fulfilled by His second coming. The Feast of Tabernacle will be fulfilled in the Millennium, the Kingdom of Messiah on earth. The 8th day is what follows the Millennium. This is also obscure and concealed but could possibly point to eternity much like the number 8 which resembles the symbol of eternity.

Passover - Pesach

Passover is one of the three biblically-ordained Pilgrimage Festivals, on which Jewish people were commanded to go to Jerusalem and offer sacrifices in the Temple.  

Let’s learn 7 facts about this feast:

  1. The Feast of Passover (Pesach- in Hebrew) is the first of the seven Biblical feasts. The name Pass-over commemorates the redemption of the Jewish first-born sons from death thanks to the blood of the Passover lamb. Death “passed over” the homes on which the blood of the lamb was applied.
  2. Passover is celebrated on the 15th day of the first month of the Hebrew calendar. That’s two weeks (7X2) after the beginning of the year, it marks the beginning of a 7 day long “Feast of Unleavened Bread”.
  3. Passover is also referred to as “The Spring feast” (Hag HaAviv) because it is the first feast of the spring holiday cycle. The Biblical feasts are celebrated in two seasons, the spring season, and the fall season. The yearly cycle begins with a 7 day feast and ends with a 7 day feast.

  4. In Biblical practice the main element of the Passover meal was the lamb, which was to be slaughtered, roasted by fire and eaten together with bitter herbs and unleavened bread (Exodes 12:8). Today’s practice focuses on a traditional “Seder (order in Hebrew) meal”. The Seder is conducted by reading a “Hagadah” (telling) which is a traditional booklet that re-tell the story of God’s redemption of His people from bondage to Egypt. It explains the elements of the Seder which include a plate with 7 elements, 4 cups of wine and 3 pieces of unleavened bread, every part of the meal Seder is intentional and symbolic.
  5. Leaven is forbidden on the Passover (Exodus 12:15), therefore Jewish people spend a lot of time and effort, cleaning the house from leaven in preparation for the feast, this practice is commonly called spring cleaning.

    6. “The Last Supper”, which is the way many refer to the meal Yeshua had with his disciples before his death was a Passover meal. Yeshua was a Jew who celebrated the Passover seder with his Jewish disciples. Yeshua explained the full meaning of certain elements in the Passover seder as symbolic of him and His sacrifice namely the wine (more specifically the third cup of redemption), and the unleavened bread (more specifically the Afikomen).

    7. Yeshua is the spiritual fulfilment of the Passover. He died on the Passover as the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29) and “the Passover Lamb” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Feast of Unleavened Bread

Exodus 23:15

Feast of Firstfruits

Numbers 28:26

Pentacost - Shavuot

This is the feast of the barley harvest.
Let’s learn 7 facts about this biblical feast:
 
1. The feast of Shavuot (weeks) is called that because it is celebrated exactly 7 weeks (7X7) following the Sabbath of the Passover (Lev. 23:15-16).
2. This feast is also called “Hag Hakatzir” (“Feast of harvest” Ex.23:16). Traditional names given by Rabbis are: “Hag Habikkurim” (“Feast of first fruits”) and “Hag Atzeret” (“Feast of gathering” or “closing festival”).

3. Shavuot is the closing festival of the spring holiday cycle. The biblical feasts open with a 7 day feast (Passover) and close with a seven day feast (Tabernacles) both have an “Atzeret” a closing day that is following the feast.

4. This feast has no biblical date and is to be celebrated at the the end of a 49 day count (seven weeks) beginning from the day after the Passover Sabbath. The traditional understanding is that the word Sabbath in this commandment refers to the Passover rest. Another interpretation is that the count is to begin a day after the first Sabbath following the Passover, in other words, the first Sunday after the Passover, which is also “The feast of first fruits”.

5. The Biblical practice of celebration of this barley harvest is by offering two loafs of bread made with yeast (Lev 23:17). This is unique to Shavuot as the Torah forbids sacrifice of bread made with yeast since yeast represents sin.

6.Today the feast is celebrated by eating dairy dishes, wearing white and studying the book of Ruth.

7. Traditionally it is believed that the Israelites received the Law of Moses on Pentecost. In the New Testament on this feast the spirit fell on the believers making this the messianic fulfillment of this feast.

Hanukkah

How much do you know about Hanukkah? It is not a “Biblical” feast but it is a celebration of the miracle working God of the Bible who gave victory to the tiny army of Maccabees which succeeded to revolt against the mighty Greek empire and reclaim the Temple of God. Here are 7 fun facts about Hanukkah:

1. Hanukkah’s main theme is light since the lighting of the Menorah was at the heart of the Temple rededication (a 5 ft. tall golden lampstand). Israeli kids make the infamous paper craft candle crown and sing: we came to banish darkness.

2. A second theme is oil, because oil was used to light the 7 branched Menorah, which was to stay lit perpetually. Our oily holiday treats are fried donuts and potato latkes; hashtag #levivot to get your salivary glands going.

3. Hanukkah is celebrated for 8 days since there was not enough oil to keep the Menorah lit, still the oil miraculously lasted for 8 days, the length of time needed to produce more oil. Jewish kids don’t sing about a little lamb but rather about a little jug of oil, which kept overflowing.

4. The Hanukkiah is a special Menorah edition with 9 branches instead of the original 7. The 9th branch is for the middle candle which is called Shamash (servant). On the first day the Shamash and the first candle are lit and every day following one more candle is lit until all nine candles are shining at the last day of the holiday.

5. During the blessing of the candle lighting we thank God for great miracles and wonders. “Blessed are you, Our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who performed miracles for our ancestors.”

6. The Servant candle is not lower but taller than all the other candle, located at the very middle, lit first and used to light all the other candles acting as the very source of light, it is a beautiful picture of our Messiah, who came as a humble servant, “See, my servant will be successful; he will be raised and lifted up and greatly exalted…” (Isaiah 52:13-53).

7. Hanukkah is mentioned in the New Testament. It was when the lightning of the Menorah was taking place that Yeshua entered the Temple and proclaimed: “I am the light of the world!”

Purim

The feast of Purim is a fun filled Jewish Holiday which celebrates the salvation of the Jewish people from annihilation as recorded in the Bible in the book of Esther.
Here are 7 fun facts about Purim:

1. The celebration of the Feast of Purim is instituted in the Bible in the book of Esther chapter 9:21-22:
“…celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies…

 

and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.”

2. There are number of ways we celebrate this feast: giving “Mishloach Manot” (gift of food mainly sweets) to one another, reading the “Megilah” (scroll) of Esther, giving charity to the poor, feasting, putting on costumes and going to “Adloyad” (joyful parade).

3. When reading the “Megilah” (the book of Esther) it is customary to make a lot of noise at the mention of Haman’s name to blot out his memory.

4. Favorite traditional cookies are triangle shaped with puppy seeds and date filling, they are called “Oznei Haman” (Haman’s ears).

5. The tradition of putting on costumes reminds us that Esther had to “put on” a different identity and hide her Jewish ethnicity for fear of racism. At the end of the story it is actually the enemies of the Jews that out on the Jewish clothing pretending to be Jewish. When we celebrate with putting on masks we celebrates the turning of our grief into joy.

6. The book of Esther is the only book of the Bible that has no mention of God but His hand orchestrating things is very evident.

7. A day before the feast is a day of fasting, remembering the fast which Esther ordered all the Jews to participate in, seeking the Lord’s favor to cancel the edict.

 

Ta'anit Esther

“Ta’anit Ester” or “Esther’s Fast” is a Jewish fast day commemorating the Jewish nation-wide fast ordered by Esther as recorded in the Bible. The book of Esther tells the story of Hadasa, an orphan Jewish girl, who turns royalty when the king of Persia chooses to marry her and make her Queen Esther. As the story progresses it becomes clear she was put in such an influential role to protect the Jewish people from annihilation.

The book of Esther is unique in that there is no mention of God throughout the book, yet God’s hand orchestrating the most amazing “coincidences” is very evident. There is a villain in the story, a royal official named Haman, who issues a decree to annihilate the Jewish people. In response Esther calls on the entire Jewish nation to fast for 3 days. At the end of this fast everything turns upside down and Haman’s plans turn on him and his family as the king executes him and all his sons.

Tu B'shvat

The 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat (“Tu B’Shvat” ט״ו בשבט‎)
 is an agricultural Jewish holiday. This day was determined in Judaism as one of four kinds of “new years” in the Jewish calendar.
The need to determine when a “New Year” began for fruit tree rose from the practice of tithing from your produce as mentioned in Leviticus 19:23-24: “When you enter the land and plant any tree for food, you shall regard its fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden for you, not to be eaten. In the fourth year all its fruit shall be set aside for jubilation before The Lord.”

Farmers noticed that on this time of the Hebrew calendar the trees started producing sap which was a sign of revival and rejuvenation in the tree and so they marked “Tu B’Shvat” (15th of Shvat) as the cut-off date for determining to which year the tithes belong.

In Israel this date is celebrated by eating dried fruits and by planting trees.

Fruit in the bible has many spiritual lessons. The Righteous is likened to a tree in the first Psalm of David. A tree that produces fruit! Fruit that gives life!

Eve ate from a forbidden fruit and gave also to her husband, Adam a taste from the fruit of the tree of Knowledge. This brought death on the human race. God cast them out from His presence so that they will not eat of the tree of life and live in sin forever.

But God has done everything in His power (He is Omnipotent) in order to restore us back to life, true life as we were created to live it – In His image! He sent His image bearer, His son the Messiah to restore us back to life.

In this sinful state we all die but Yeshua said: “I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in Me will live, even if he dies.” John 11:25
The Messiah IS the tree of life! Taste and see that it’s fruit is GOOD.

Purim

The feast of Purim is a fun filled Jewish Holiday which celebrates the salvation of the Jewish people from annihilation as recorded in the Bible in the book of Esther.
Here are 7 fun facts about Purim:

1. The celebration of the Feast of Purim is instituted in the Bible in the book of Esther chapter 9:21-22:
“…celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies…

and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.”

2. There are number of ways we celebrate this feast: giving “Mishloach Manot” (gift of food mainly sweets) to one another, reading the “Megilah” (scroll) of Esther, giving charity to the poor, feasting, putting on costumes and going to “Adloyad” (joyful parade).

3. When reading the “Megilah” (the book of Esther) it is customary to make a lot of noise at the mention of Haman’s name to blot out his memory.

4. Favorite traditional cookies are triangle shaped with puppy seeds and date filling, they are called “Oznei Haman” (Haman’s ears).

5. The tradition of putting on costumes reminds us that Esther had to “put on” a different identity and hide her Jewish ethnicity for fear of racism. At the end of the story it is actually the enemies of the Jews that out on the Jewish clothing pretending to be Jewish. When we celebrate with putting on masks we celebrates the turning of our grief into joy.

6. The book of Esther is the only book of the Bible that has no mention of God but His hand orchestrating things is very evident.

7. A day before the feast is a day of fasting, remembering the fast which Esther ordered all the Jews to participate in, seeking the Lord’s favor to cancel the edict.