The Jewish festivals

These are the appointed festivals of Adonai
What kind of days do we see here and what is their origin? In Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:1 the Eternal One says to Moshe: “Speak to the children of Jisrael and tell them: The appointed festivals of the Eternal One, which you have to proclaim as a call for a special dedication, these are My festivals”.
 
In continuation of this specific utterance the Eternal One instructs Moshe that these seven appointed festivals are His (God’s) appointed festivals, Holy Days, that should be kept by Israel and by all strangers that dwell in their midst. These days belong to the Eternal One (“My festivals”). But there is a specific reason why they are called the Jewish festivals: Because not many other nations, if at all, acknowledge these days as days that apply to them.
 
The seven appointed festivals, in Hebrew “Mo’aday Adonai”, which are mentioned in the chapter above, are:
• Shabbat, the seventh day of the week; the day of rest and of holy convocation.
• Pesach, the Feast of Passover. Remembers the mighty deed of the Eternal One, in which He led Israel after four hundred years with great power out of Egypt, where the people had suffered greatly under slavery. Special reading: Song of Songs.
• Chag Hamatzot, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. We eat matzes during seven days, to be reminded that we ate matzes when we left Egypt. There was no time for the dough to rise.
• Shavu’ot, the Feast of Weeks. In English also known as Pentecost. From the day after the Shabbat after Chag haMatzot till the day after the Shabbat seven weeks later, we count the Omer. The Omer is a measure in which flour was measured, that had to be brought daily to the Temple during these days, to give thanks to the Eternal One for His provision. Special reading: The Megillah (scroll) of Ruth.
• Yom Hat’rua, also mentioned Rosh haShana – the Day of Trumpets -, is the day on which is blown on the Shofar. From this day till Yom Hakippurim, during ten days, we are being summoned to reflect on our attitudes and to return in purity to the Eternal One. In this process we confess to Him all the things that stand between Him and us in order to seek the Atonement which we need so desperately.
• Yom Hakippurim, the Day of Atonement. On this day the Kohen haGadol, the High Priest, entered the holiest place of the Temple, the Holy of Holies, and made atonement for all the sins of the nation. It is the most meaningful, solemn, serious day of the Biblical (read ‘Jewish’) year. Since we do not have our Temple at this moment, our sins can no longer be atoned for in the Temple. But the Eternal One is merciful and He did not leave us without a means to be atoned. Yeshua, His anointed one, paid the price for our sins, before the destruction of the Temple.
• Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. This festival reminds us of the time in which we lived in tents during the forty years in the desert. It is a wonderful feast, for it brings into remembrance how the Eternal One provided even for our most elementary needs.
• Chanukkah, the Festival of Light, that remembers the victory over the Syrian armies in the time of the Hellenistic dominance. Oil, only sufficient for one day, provided during eight days light on the Menorah of the restored and rededicated Temple. A miracle of the Eternal One made this possible.
• Purim, the feast that remembers the victory over the armed forces of the Persians. The Persian armed forces were under the leadership of Haman, the Prime Minister of King Achashverosh. Queen Ester, under headship of her uncle Mordechai, succeeded to gain the co-operation of the king. Reading: The Megillah (scroll) of Esther.
 
This list contains only a very short summary of every Mo’ed (appointed festival). We invite you to read further on our Festival pages. There you can learn more and simply enjoy the riches the Almighty has given to us in the festivals, in order to bring us closer to Himself. May He grant you His blessing and lead you in His truth on the road to eternity.