ROSH HASHANAH The Jewish New Year: start of the Ten Days of Penitence. You may notice that the Bible speaks of Rosh Hashanah as occurring on the first day of the seventh month. The first month of the Jewish calendar is Nissan, occurring in March and Apr. Why, then, does the Jewish "new year" occur in Tishri, the seventh month? Christians refer to this as the Feast of Trumpets.

Judaism has several different "new years," a concept which may seem strange at first, but think of it this way: the American "new year" starts in January, but the new "school year" starts in September, and many businesses have "fiscal years" that start at various times of the year. In Judaism, Nissan 1 is the new year for the purpose of counting the reign of kings and months on the calendar, Elul 1 (in August) is the new year for the tithing of animals, Shevat 15 (in February) is the new year for trees (determining when first fruits can be eaten, etc.), and Tishri 1 (Rosh Hashanah) is the new year for years (when we increase the year number. Sabbatical and Jubilee years begin at this time).

YOM KIPPUR Day of Atonement: a very solemn day of the year, devoted to fasting, prayer, and repentance. Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur.

SUKKOT The seven day holiday commemorates the dwelling of the Israelites in booths during their travels in the desert. The first two days are observed as a holiday.

SHEMINI ATZERET Eighth day of Assembly

SIMCHAT TORAH Rejoicing of the Law

CHANNUKAH or HANUKAH Festival of Lights: the chanukkiah is lit for eight nights to commemorate the miracles of the Maccabees' victory and the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. Also spelled Hanukkah, Chanukah or Hannukah.

TTU BISHVAT Jewish Arbor Day, new year for trees

PURIM Celebrates defeat of Haman's plot to destroy the Jews of Persia, one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.

PESACH/PASSOVER: the eight day holiday celebrating the deliverance of the Jewish people from Egypt. Feast of Unleavened Bread. The seder service on the first two evenings recounts the story of the Exodus. The last two days are also observed as full holy days.

FIRST FRUITS/SFIRAT HAOMER , The Early First Fruits (Lev 23:9-14), begins the day after Passover in most circles today. A period of seven weeks is observed in which each day is counted off for 49 days ending on the fiftieth day known as Shavuot /Pentecost (Pentacost-means 50). It is the number of days from the barley harvest to the wheat harvest. Since it is often overshadowed by the prominence of Passover, the Feast of First Fruits is often overlooked in the New Testament, yet it is mentioned a number of times in the New Covenant. Paul, in his first letter to the Messianic Believers in Corinth, shows a vital link between First Fruits and the ministry of Yeshua:

I Cor. 15:20-24 - But the fact is that the Messiah has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a man, also the resurrection of the dead has come through a man. For just as in connection with Adam all die, so in connection with the Messiah all will be made alive. But each in his own order; the Messiah is the firstfruits; then those who belong to the Messiah, at the time of his coming; then the culmination, when he hands over the Kingdom of God to the father after having put an end to every rulership, yes to every authority and power.

Although many read this passage as a commentary on the order of resurrection, Paul is actually making a technical reference to the holy day of Sfirat Haomer (First Fruits). It is not just that Yeshua was the first to rise bodily from the grave, but that by so doing, He is the direct fulfillment of the feast of First Fruits. We miss a very important Biblical truth by not using the term "First Fruits" as the name of this feast, because "first" implies a second, third, fourth, and so on, and that is the real meaning of this feast. We are not only celebrating the resurrection of Yeshua of First Fruits, we are celebrating the resurrection of the entire body of Messianic Believers, His Church! We shall all be resurrected and go to heaven, just as the L-rd did, "Every man in his own order" as Paul wrote:

For just as in connection with Adam all die, so in connection with the Messiah all will be made alive. But each in his own order; the Messiah is the firstfruits; then those who belong to the Messiah, at the time of his coming 1 Corinthians 15:22,23.

LAG B'OMER 33rd day of the counting of OmerÑthe time between Pesach and Shavuot

SHAVUOT Feast of Weeks: marks the giving of the Law (Torah) at Mt. Sinai

YOM HA'ATZMAUT Israel's Independence Day


There are five minor fasts on the Jewish calendar. With one exception, these fasts were instituted by the Sages to commemorate some national tragedy. The minor fasts (that is, all fasts except Yom Kippur and Tisha b'Av) last from dawn to nightfall, and one is permitted to eat breakfast if one arises before sunrise for the purpose of doing so. There is a great deal of leniency in the minor fasts for people who have medical conditions or other difficulties fasting. The date of the fast is moved to Sunday if the specified date falls on a Sabbath.

Three of these five fasts commemorate events leading to the downfall of the first commonwealth and the destruction of the first Temple, which is commemorated by the major fast of Tisha B'Av.

TISHA B'AV, the Fast of the Ninth of Av, is a day of mourning to commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, many of which coincidentally have occurred on the ninth of Av. It usually occurs during August. Tisha B'Av primarily commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples, both of which were destroyed on the ninth of Av (the first by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E. (Before Christian Era); the second by the Romans in 70 C.E.). July 22, 1999.

FAST OF GEDALIAH Tishri 3, commemorates the killing of the Jewish governor of Israel, a critical event in the downfall of the first commonwealth.

Tevet 10, marks the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem in year 586 BCE. It has also been proclaimed a memorial day for the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust.

FAST OF ESTHER Adar 13, marks Queen Esther's fast before she risked her life to save the Jews by approaching King Ahasuerus on their behalf. The fast is connected with Purim. If Adar 13 falls on a Friday or Saturday, it is moved to the preceding Thursday, because it cannot be moved forward a day (it would fall on Purim).

FAST OF THE 17th OF TAMMUZ marks the day the walls of Jerusalem were breached before its eventual destruction. Thursday, July 1, 1999

FAST OF THE FIRSTBORN, Nissan 14, is a fast observed only by firstborn males, commemorating the fact that they were saved from the plague of the firstborn in Egypt. It is observed on the day preceding Passover.

FAST OF TZOM TAMMUZ, Fast commemorating breaching of the walls of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar



A few minor holidays have been added to the calendar to commemorate various significant events relating to the Holocaust and the modern state of Israel. All of these holidays occur in the period between Passover and Shavu'ot. These holidays are not universally acknowledged, the dates are not entirely agreed upon, and the observances are not yet standardized. Nevertheless, they are worth noting.

*YOM HA-SHOAH Also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, this holiday occurs on the 27th of Nissan. "Shoah" is the Hebrew word for the Holocaust. This is a memorial day for those who died in the Holocaust. Tuesday, Apr 13, 1999

*YOM HAZIKARON Israel memorial day for soldiers who fell in Israel's Wars of Liberation and is observed on lyar 4. Tuesday, Apr 20, 1999

*YOM HA'ATZMAUT or YOM HA-ATZMUT Israel Independence day: celebrates the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. It is observed on the 5th of Iyar. According to some views, the restrictions of the Omer period are lifted for this day. A few anti-Zionist Jews observe this day as a day of mourning for the sin of proclaiming the state of Israel without the Messiah. Wednesday, Apr 21, 1999

*YOM YERUSHALAYIM celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem in Israeli hands in 1967 and observed on the 28th day of lyar. According to some views, the restrictions of the Omer period are lifted for this day. Friday, May 14, 1999.

Source: http://www.hebcal.com/hebcal/

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