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Passover

Passover

With information from
The meaning of the Hebrew name:   Pesach, Passover pass-over
 Meaning of the holiday:  Passover celebrates God liberating the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and the passing over of the Angel of death by the houses of the believers.
 Pronunciation: If you can't say the guttural h sound represented by the ch in Pey-sach, say Passover.
 Scripture Reference :  Exodus 12:23
 Date: Nissan 15 - 22
 Foods:  Traditionally, Jews eat no bread or leavened food on Passover, and do eat matzah, an unleavened bread. There are many food traditions that spring from this, including all the many foods made of ground matzah (called "matzah meal").
These include things like matzah balls, gefilte fish and sponge cake. Cookies and cakes made out of nuts, like macaroons, are also big on Passover, as are candies that follow the special rules of keeping kosher for this holiday.
 Activities:  Observantly we don't eat bread or other leavened foods and have big holiday meal called a seder where the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold. This is a major holiday, meaning that traditional Jews take days off of work at the beginning and end of the eight days of the holiday, but work in the middle.
Holiday symbols and symbolism:  Matzah, lambs (because of the historical Passover sacrifice), eggs, horseradish root, salt water.
Greeting:  It's fine to say "Happy Pesach" or "Happy Passover." Some people say "Hag Sameah v' kasher"—have a happy and kosher holiday.
Fulfillment :  Jesus is the sacrificial lamb who died for our sins. On Nisan 15 at the exact time the lamb was to be slain, Jesus was slain.
Jesus also had a four-day examination period before the religious leaders—and was found without blemish.
Scripture Reference : 1 Cor. 5:7, 1 Peter 1:19, John 10:17-18, Matthew 20:191 Cor. 5:7, 1 Peter 1:19, John 10:17-18, Matthew 20:19
  PassoverBanner

What Is Passover?

The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan.

It commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. It is observed by avoiding leaven, and highlighted by the Seder meals that include four cups of wine, eating matzah and bitter herbs, and retelling the story of the Exodus.

In Hebrew it is known as Pesach (which means “to pass over”), because G d passed over the Jewish homes when killing the Egyptian firstborn on the very first Passover eve.

The Passover Story in a Nutshell

After many decades of slavery to the Egyptian pharaohs, during which time the Israelites were subjected to backbreaking labor and unbearable horrors, G d saw the people’s distress and sent Moses to Pharaoh with a message: “Send forth My people, so that they may serve Me.” But despite numerous warnings, Pharaoh refused to heed G d’s command. G d then sent upon Egypt ten devastating plagues, afflicting them and destroying everything from their livestock to their crops.

At the stroke of midnight of 15 Nissan in the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE), G d visited the last of the ten plagues on the Egyptians, killing all their firstborn. While doing so, G d spared the children of Israel, “passing over” their homes—hence the name of the holiday. Pharaoh’s resistance was broken, and he virtually chased his former slaves out of the land. The Israelites left in such a hurry, in fact, that the bread they baked as provisions for the way did not have time to rise. Six hundred thousand adult males, plus many more women and children, left Egypt on that day and began the trek to Mount Sinai and their birth as G d’s chosen people.chametz

In ancient times the Passover observance included the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, which was roasted and eaten at the Seder on the first night of the holiday. This was the case until Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in the 1st century.

Orthodox Passover Observances

Passover is divided into two parts:

The first two days and last two days (the latter commemorating the splitting of the Red Sea) are full-fledged holidays.

Holiday candles are lit at night, and kiddush and sumptuous holiday meals are enjoyed on both nights and days. We don’t go to work, drive, write, or switch on or off electric devices. We are permitted to cook and to carry outdoors.

The middle four days are called Chol Hamoed, semi-festive “intermediate days,” when most forms of work are permitted.

nochametzNo Chametz

To commemorate the unleavened bread that the Israelites ate when they left Egypt, we don’t eat—or even retain in our possession—any chametz from midday of the day before Passover until the conclusion of the holiday. Chametz means leavened grain—any food or drink that contains even a trace of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or their derivatives, and which wasn’t guarded from leavening or fermentation. This includes bread, cake, cookies, cereal, pasta, and most alcoholic beverages. Moreover, almost any processed food or drink can be assumed to be chametz unless certified otherwise.

Ridding our homes of chametz is an intensive process. It involves a full-out spring-cleaning search-and-destroy mission during the weeks before Passover, and culminates with a ceremonial search for chametz on the night before Passover, and then a burning of the chametz ceremony on the morning before the holiday. Chametz that cannot be disposed of can be sold to a non-Jew (and bought back after the holiday).

Matzahmatze

Instead of chametz, we eat matzah—flat unleavened bread. It is a mitzvah to partake of matzah on the two Seder nights, and during the rest of the holiday it is optional.

It is ideal to use handmade shmurah matzah, which has been zealously guarded against moisture from the moment of the harvest.


The Seders

The highlight of Passover is the Seder, observed on each of the first two nights of the holiday. The Seder is a fifteen-step family-oriented tradition and ritual-packed feast.

passover seder mealThe focal points of the Seder are:

  • Eating matzah.
  • Eating bitter herbs—to commemorate the bitter slavery endured by the Israelites.
  • Drinking four cups of wine or grape juice—a royal drink to celebrate our newfound freedom.
  • The recitation of the Haggadah, a liturgy that describes in detail the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The Haggadah is the fulfillment of the biblical obligation to recount to our children the story of the Exodus on the night of Passover. It begins with a child asking the traditional “Four Questions.”

A Passover Message

Passover, celebrating the greatest series of miracles ever experienced in history, is a time to reach above nature to the miraculous. But how are miracles achieved? Let’s take our cue from the matzah. Flat and unflavored, it embodies humility. Through ridding ourselves of inflated egos, we are able to tap into the miraculous well of divine energy we all have within our souls.

The Passover Lamb

1 Now Adonai spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying,

2 “This month will mark the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year for you.

3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month, each man is to take a lamb for his family one lamb for the household.

5 Your lamb is to be without blemish, a year old male. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

6 You must watch over it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to slaughter it at twilight.

13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. So there will be no plague among you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

Exodus 12:1-3, 5-6, 13

The Passover Exodus is the watershed event in Jewish history. Indeed, it is a momentous event for all mankind. Many Believers don’t fully comprehend the Passover in the context of the awesome atoning work of God. You cannot fully appreciate our redemption in the Messiah until you understand the ordinance of Passover. All the biblical Feasts and observances were foreshadows of the redemptive work that the Messiah would ultimately accomplish. The gospel of John uses the Passover as the backdrop for his retelling of the atonement we have received through Jesus our Messiah.

The apostle Paul, an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, wrote, “For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7). In his mind and the minds of the authors of the Gospels, a messiah lambclear prophetic connection existed between the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah and Yeshua’s ultimate fulfillment of the Passover.

The word Passover comes from the Hebrew “Pesach,” which means “to pass over.” Interestingly, the Aramaic word for lamb is “talya,” which can mean either lamb or servant. The passage in Isaiah 53, referred to as “The Suffering Servant,” describes Yeshua as a Lamb led to the slaughter, and He is referred to as “the Lamb” not less than 34 times in the New Testament. The parallels between the Passover lamb and Yeshua are extraordinary. Let’s take a look.

Unblemished

The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. —Exodus 12:5

The Passover lamb, according to the ordinance of Pesach, was to be in the prime of life and without blemish. Blemish refers to sin. Yeshua, our final and perfect atonement lived a sinless life.

We are told that we have been redeemed out of sin—not with corruptible things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of the Messiah—as a lamb “without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19). Why? Because “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Each Household Needed A Lamb

The Word of God is explicit in the Prophets and in the New Covenant that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There is not one who is righteous. Everyone needs atonement to have a personal relationship with God. Just as each household required a lamb, the Word of God is clear that every individual needs atonement, a sacrifice for his sin. What we consider our righteousness before Him is really “as filthy rags” (Is. 64:6).

passover1

Yeshua the Lamb of God

The Community of Israel Required A Lamb

When all the people of the community of Israel…—Exodus 12:6

Erroneous anti-Semitic doctrine says the Jewish people killed Jesus. In much of Europe during World War II, Jewish people were not permitted to live—for no reason except they were Jewish. They were called “Christ-killers.” This concept was not new. This erroneous theology that the Jewish people had killed Jesus began in the early Church. But is this true? No.

Matthew 20:19 says He would be turned “over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” Did the Gentiles kill Yeshua? No. So who killed Jesus?

Exodus 12:6 says that all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter the “Passover lamb.” Messiah, our Passover Lamb, died for the sins of all the world so those who believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Yeshua said in John 10:17-18 that He alone had the authority to end His life. He laid down His life freely in order that the Scriptures would be fulfilled. Without His sacrificial act, we would have no redemption. The assembly killed Yeshua because He had to die—and chose to die for us as our Passover Lamb.

Purim Holiday Index coming soon

Hanukkah

Hanukkah

Hanukkah Mantle banner 

The meaning of the Hebrew name:   Dedication
 Meaning of the holiday:  commemorating the rededication of the Temple in 165 BC by the Maccabees after its desecration by the Syrians.
 Pronunciation:  The initial h in Hanukkah is a gutteral one, like the j in José. So Hhhhhhanooka. You'll be fine, don't worry.
 Scripture Reference :  Numbers 7, John 9,10
 Date:  Kislev 25 to Tevet 3
 Foods:  Fried foods, especially potato pancakes, called latkes, and jelly doughnuts called sufganiyot.
 Activities:  The main observance is lighting the candles in a ceremonial lamp called a hanukkiah or Hanukkah menorah. Playing with a top called a dreidel is another fun tradition. Hanukkah is a minor holiday in the sense that there is no requirement to abstain from work.
Holiday symbols and symbolism:  Menorah, candles, dreidel.
Greeting:  Happy Hanukkah!
Fulfillment :  The LORD Jesus gives us light, the very “light of life.”

It is only by the Light of Jesus that we gain victory over the powers of darkness, since the darkness cannot comprehend the light. When we walk in the Light, we have fellowship, unity, echdut, with one another, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against such divinely sanctioned communion.
Scripture Reference :  John 10, Matthew 5


About Chanukah - (Hanukkah)

eat latkes The Hebrew word chanukah means "dedication" and marks an eight day winter celebration (from Kislev 25 - Tevet 3) that commemorates
the rededication of the Second Temple after a small group of Jewish believers defeated the forces of assimilation at work in their world.
As such, Chanukah represents the victory of faith over the ways of speculative reason, and demonstrates the power of the miracle in the
face of mere humanism.

In the second century BCE, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who tried to force the people of Israel to accept Greek culture and beliefs instead of mitzvah observance and belief in G‑d. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of G‑d.

When they sought to light the Temple's Menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum), they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks. Miraculously, they lit the menorah and the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.

To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah.

At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting. The menorah holds nine flames, one of which is the shamash (“attendant”), which is used to kindle the other eight lights. On the first night, we light just one flame. On the second night, an additional flame is lit. By the eighth night of Chanukah, all eight lights are kindled.

A menorah is lit in every household (or even by each individual within the household) and placed in a doorway or window. The menorah is also lit in synagogues and other public places. In recent years, thousands of jumbo menorahs have cropped up in front of city halls and legislative buildings, and in malls and parks all over the world.

Wooden Dreidel
Dreidel: the Chanukah Game

On Chanukah, it is customary to play with a “dreidel” (a four-sided spinning top bearing the Hebrew letters, nun, gimmel, hei and shin, an acronym for nes gadol hayah sham, “a great miracle happened there”). The game is usually played for a pot of coins, nuts, or other stuff, which is won or lost based on which letter the dreidel lands when it is spun.


What It Means For You

Noting that one should spend time in close proximity to the Chanukah lights, the Previous Rebbe would say, “We must listen carefully to what the candles are saying.” So what are the flickering flames telling us? Here are some messages:

  1. Never be afraid to stand up for what’s right. Judah Maccabee and his band faced daunting odds, but that didn’t stop them. With a prayer on their lips and faith in their heart, they entered the battle of their lives—and won. We can do the same.
  2. Always increase in matters of goodness and Torah-observance. Sure, a single flame was good enough for yesterday, but today needs to be even better.
  3. A little light goes a long way. The Chanukah candles are lit when dusk is falling. Perched in the doorway, they serve as a beacon for the darkening streets. No matter how dark it is outside, a candle of G‑dly goodness can transform the darkness itself into light.
  4. Take it to the streets. Chanukah is unique in that its primary mitzvah is observed in public. It’s not enough to be a Jew at heart, or even at home. Chanukah teaches us to shine outwards into our surroundings with the G‑dly glow of mitzvahs.
  5. Don't be ashamed to perform mitzvahs, even if you will feel different. Rather, be like a menorah, proudly proclaiming its radiant uniqueness for all to see.

Jesus and Chanukah

In the Gospel of John we read that the LORD Jesus was at the Temple during the “Feast of Dedication,” or Chanukah:
At that time the Feast of Dedication (Chanukah) took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense?
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly. (John 10:22-24, ESV)
During a season of remembering miracles (nissim), Jesus pointed out that the works that He did attested to His claim to be the long-awaited Mashiach of the Jewish people (John 10:37-38).
His works and character clearly displayed the true Light of who He was, and these works still shine to us today.
Jesus was and forever shall be the greatest Jew who ever lived upon the earth.
And of course, as Mashiach ben Yosef, our Suffering Servant, Yeshua is the Ultimate Shamash - He is our Light who enables us to shine a sacred fire of sacrificial love to the darkened outside world.
Yeshua commanded “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt 5:16).

Matthew 5 16
He told us that He is the Light of the world, and that whoever follows Him will not have darkness, but the Light of Life:
The LORD Jesus gives us light, the very “light of life.” What does this mean to you who claim to know Him and His message? How does this impact you as His follower in this darkened age?
We are called to be part of His Temple, His Body, and at this time we should reflect on rededicating ourselves to the eradication of all that compromises us and tempts us to assimilate with the hell bound world around us.
It is only by the Light of Jesus that we gain victory over the powers of darkness, since the darkness cannot comprehend the light.
When we walk in the Light, we have fellowship, unity, echdut, with one another, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against such divinely sanctioned communion.
May the LORD God of Israel, the Father of the Blessed One Yeshua, help us all to behold the glory of His Light by abiding in His love!
And may we turn to Him now and rededicate our own lives as temples cleansed and readied by His Spirit to honor His abiding Presence.

Amen.

Purim Feast

Purim Feast

with Information from
The meaning of the Hebrew name:   Lots
 Meaning of the holiday:  Celebration of a narrow escape from genocide described in the biblical Book of Esther.
 Pronunciation: Poor-im
 Scripture Reference :  Esther
 Date:  Adar 14
 Foods:  Triangular pastries called hamantashen (Haman's pockets), named for the bad guy in the Book of Esther. Some Jews also eat other foods with things hidden inside, like dumplings, other sweets and goodies, and alcohol.
 Activities: On Purim we read the Book of Esther, wear costumes, eat triangular cookies and other treats, and use noisemakers. It's also traditional to give money to charity, send anonymous packages of goodies to your friends (called mishloach manot or shaloch mones).
Holiday symbols and symbolism:  Masks, costumes, noisemakers called graggers, hamantashen.
Greeting:  Happy Purim! You can say "Purim Sameah," which means "happy Purim," if you can pronounce the heavy gutteral h at the end of Sameah.
Fulfillment :  Yeshua's victory over our sin.
Scripture Reference :  Esther

  Purim

About Purim

The jolly festival of Purim is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar (late winter/early spring). It commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from Haman’s plot “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day,” as recorded in the Megillah (book of Esther).

The Story in a Nutshell

The Persian Empire of the 4th century BCE extended over 127 lands, and all the Jews were its subjects. When King Ahasuerus had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed for failing to follow his orders, he arranged a beauty pageant to find a new queen. A Jewish girl, Esther, found favor in his eyes and became the new queen, though she refused to divulge her nationality.

Meanwhile, the Jew-hating Haman was appointed prime minister of the empire. Mordechai, the leader of the Jews (and Esther’s cousin), defied the king’s orders and refused to bow to Haman. Haman was incensed, and he convinced the king to issue a decree ordering the extermination of all the Jews on the 13th of Adar, a date chosen by a lottery Haman made.

At Interfaith we can read the following entry.
Esther background

The Purim Story In All Its PG-13 Glory

By Nancy Seifert Gorod

February 11, 2013

Drunken revelry, debauchery, sex, intrigue, family secrets, power struggles... Not a blurb for the upcoming episode of the TV series Revenge, but a close look at the story of Purim.

The holiday of Purim, traditionally celebrated with parades, carnivals, masks, hamantashen, and giving gifts to the poor, has a gritty underbelly to its story. It reads like a screenplay for a program on the CW Network.haman and mordecai alfred leroy

So how did this story end up in our canon?

Let's take a few minutes to take a closer look.

The story takes place in ancient Persia, what is now modern day Iran. Achashveros was a capricious king, who issued edicts and decrees based on others' whims and fancies. He ruled over a enormous swath of land covering India to Ethiopia — 127 provinces, according to the story. He loved a good party and, as the story opens, he is holding a feast for his administration that lasted 180 days, and then opened it up to his subjects in the city of Shushan for another week. The lavish descriptions of his party and palace bespeak a man who loved to live in excess. The rule for drinking was "no restrictions;" commands were given to his stewards to "comply with each man's wishes" (Esther 1:8).

The text goes on to tell us that his lovely Queen Vashti was having her own banquet, just for the women of the kingdom. In the midst of their revelry, Vashti was summoned by the King's courtiers to come to the King's party wearing her crown. (Some commentators focus on that line, conjecturing that perhaps that was all she was requested to wear?) After Vashti refuses, the King gets advice from his trusted advisors that something needs to be done to punish this Queen, lest all their wives look to Vashti as a role model and begin to disobey them. She needs to be made an example of! We need to show the women who is in charge! So they told King A to issue an edict to send Vashti away never to return. And for good measure, included in that edict was a provision for every man to "wield authority in his home" (1:22). That'll show ‘em!

In order to get a new queen, the King's servants suggested bringing beautiful women from all over the kingdom to spend time in his harem. Not exactly the beauty pageant we see in our Hebrew school Purim plays. Each young woman spent 12 months in the harem and the king "tried them out." Chapter 2 verse 14 tell us "she would go in the evening and leave in the morning for a second harem..." This verse implies much more than your standard fashion show/beauty pageant.

esther3When the king finally decided that Esther pleases him the most, we then learn of the next sub-plot in our story. (Cue the Dark Shadows theme...)

Esther has a deep secret and her cousin Mordechai does not want her to divulge it: Esther is a Jew.

Meanwhile, her cousin Mordechai overhears a plot by the palace guards to assassinate the King. Morcechai tells Esther, who then tells the King, and the guards are executed.

Were we watching the story unfold on the CW Network, the episode would end here and we would have to wait until the next week to see what happens.

We keep going, and are introduced to the villain, Haman. As a high-placed minister in the court of the King, Haman believes that the subjects of the city of Shushan should bow down to him. Haman meets Mordechai, who refuses to bow, as it is against his Jewish religion to bow down to anyone other than his one true God. As a result of Mordechai's apparent snubbing of Haman, Haman's ire is fanned and he asks the King to issue another edict to get rid of all the Jews. Haman capitalized on the impulsive nature of an erratic king as his seething anger toward Mordechai and his people grew into a hatred of all the Jews in the kingdom.

The edict was issued, and the king's courtiers were instructed to deliver it to all of the provinces. In it were directions to massacre all the Jews, young and old, women and children (3:13). The day of the massacre was chosen as a result of the drawing of lots — Purim is Hebrew for "lots."

The rest of the story is filled with plot twists and turns as well as plenty of gore and blood. Haman is uncovered as the evil anti-Semite that he is, Esther reveals her true identity, Mordechai gets rewarded for the previous uncovering of the assassination plot. King Achasverous issues yet another edict allowing Jews to defend themselves, thereby killing thousands, including Haman and Haman's family. The Jews survive, Mordechai gets promoted in the kingdom, and everyone lives happily ever after.

Although the story has an exaggeratory edge to it, there is a lot that we ultimately learn from the story of Purim, and how we should experience our lives.

Nowhere in the ten chapters of the text do we see God's name, or even God's presence, mentioned. An interesting omission, considering this ancient text is found in our Bible. The term hester panim, meaning God hidden face, is used to describe the story of Purim. If you look closely at the root of the word "hester" you may see something very interesting. Does it sound like anyone's name? Hmm.... This is the only book in our Bible where there is no mention of God. On the surface, it may not be that important, judging from the tone of the story. However, in Judaism, there is always more than just what is on the surface. The beauty of Judaism is that we can look at a text and see many layers of meaning.

There are many things in the story of Purim that considered to be topsy turvy — turned upside down, "v'nahafoch hu" in Hebrew. The term "God is in the details" can aptly fit here. Throughout the entire Torah as well as the many books of the prophets, God is front and center. In the Book of Esther, God is in the details. Sorrow is turned into joy, devastation is turned into gladness. God is actually present behind the scenes, and like the mask worn by the actor in a dramatic performance, once it is taken off, we are able to see the source behind the brilliance and creativity.

Why Is It Called Purim?

Purim means “lots” in ancient Persian. The holiday was thus named since Haman had thrown lots to determine when he would carry out his diabolical scheme. You can pronounce this name many ways. In Eastern tradition, it is called poo-REEM. Among Westerners, it is often called PUH-rim. Some Central-European communities even call it PEE-rim. (WARNING: Calling this holiday PYOO-rim—as English speakers are sometimes wont to do—is a surefire newbie cover-blower.)

Purim Observances

  • Reading of the Megillah (book of Esther), which recounts the story of the Purim miracle. This is done once on the eve of Purim and then again on the following day.
  • Giving money gifts to at least two poor people.
  • Sending gifts of two kinds of food to at least one person.
  • A festive Purim feast, which often includes wine or other intoxicating beverages.

The Significance of Purim

In addition to the miracle of Jewish survival despite the efforts of our enemies, Purim celebrates G d’s intimate involvement in every aspect of this world. Even though there were no overt miracles recorded in the Megillah—indeed, His name is not even mentioned once—G d was actively “pulling the strings” to care for His nation.

Additionally, Haman’s edict catalyzed a spiritual revival among the Jews. In a sense, this was even more significant than the Covenant at Sinai—an overwhelming spiritual experience that compelled the Jews to accept the Torah—since it occurred of their own volition, even as they were scattered among the Persian people and immersed in their culture. It was in the merit of this spiritual reawakening that G d orchestrated their salvation.

Purim CustomsHamantashe

There is a spirit of liveliness and fun on Purim that is unparalleled on the Jewish calendar. If there were ever a day to “let loose” and just be Jewish, this is it!

It is also customary for children (and adults, if they desire) to dress up in costumes.

A traditional Purim food is hamantaschen (or oznay Haman), three-cornered pastries bursting with poppy seeds or another sweet filling.

On the day before Purim (or on the Thursday before, when Purim is on Sunday), it is customary to fast, commemorating Esther’s fasting and praying to G d that He save His people. .

emptygraveThe Resurrection

The picture of the three-day resurrection is shown. Esther fasted for three days, and on the third day, she arose to go before the king.

The Christian New Life

The story of Esther is a depiction of a Christian’s walk in a new life. Exposing Haman is symbolic of exposing sin. The new decree triumphs. The old decree symbolizes Jesus triumphing over the law of sin and death. Once Haman (sin, flesh) was put to death, Mordecai (Holy Spirit) is given unlimited command.

Deliverance

The Jews were again delivered on the seventeenth of Nisan—Firstfruits—the same day that deliverance for the Israelites in Egypt began, and the same day Jesus arose!

 

Tu B'Shvat Holiday Index Passover

Simchat Torah

Simchat Torah

The meaning of the Hebrew name :   The Joy of the Torah
 Meaning of the holiday :  Celebration of giving the Torah to Moses.
The Ending and Start of the new Parashah
 Pronunciation : The ch in Simchat is one of those heavy gutteral ones.
 Scripture Reference :  Deuteronomy 33:27 – 34:12, Genesis 1:1 - 2:6
 Date :  Tishri 23
 Foods :  Stuffed Cabage and other round foods further, no specific special food, just more big sumptuous meals.
 Activities :  Lifting of the Torah High and dance with it around the reading table (hakafot) men will receive an aliyah calling to read scripture.
This is a synagogue holiday with another really long service, but in the middle of it, people get up, process through their building with the scrolls and then dance with them.
The more traditional they are, the crazier they get with the dancing. It's also a chance to honor a lot of people by calling them up to make blessings on the Torah, because there is a reading from the end of the scroll—the death of Moses—and another from the beginning--the creation of the world. In some congregations the assembled people unroll the Torah scroll and stand in the middle of the parchment before they start the cycle again.
Holiday symbols and symbolism : The Torah scroll, flags that children carry, dancing people. 
Greeting :  Hag sameah (Happy holiday) with a heavy gutteral h at the beginning of the first word and the end of the second.
Or if you are really sophisticated, Moadim l'simcha, which means "festivals for joy."
You may also hear "gut yontev," which is Yiddish for happy holiday.
Fulfillment :  Jesus the Christ, Yeshua Ha'Mashiah the true Torah.
Scripture Reference :  Matthew 5:17-20, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 8:6, 8:8-11, John 1:14
simchat torah

About Simchat Torah

Is the last of the fall holidays, arriving at the end of Sukkot.
During Simchat Torah we can be filled with joy and love for God, for the Torah and for the Jewish community.
The name of this holiday means “Joy of the Torah,” and it marks the completion of the year long cycle of weekly Torah readings (parshiot ).
Since the Torah is continuously read throughout the year, when we get to the end of Deuteronomy 34 we immediately start over by reading the first verses of Genesis.
By doing that, we show the unending cycle of Torah study.
As the Torah reading concludes at the end of Deuteronomy, everyone rises and proclaims: Be strong, be strong, and let us strengthen each other.

How is Simchat Torah Celebrated

Simchat Torah is celebrated with singing, dancing, good food and drink at the synagogue. There is no set home observance.
At an evening simchat torah2service, all the Torah scrolls are removed from the ark and paraded around the sanctuary in seven circles known as hakafot (Hebrew for  “encirclement”).
In some synagogues, those who are in the seats close to the aisles touch their prayer book (siddur ) or the fringes of their
prayer shawl (tallit) to the Torah as it passes by. In others, congregants leave their seats, so they may dance alongside the Torahs as they make the circuits.
Many congregations liven up the celebration with music and dancing as they circle with the Torahs. Children participate in the dancing and singing; some may carry flags and miniature Torahs. Carrying the Torah during the procession is an honor, often shared by all who are present. Some synagogues unroll the entire scroll in a huge circle, with people carefully holding the parchment

Jesus and Simchat Torah

Since Yeshua the Mashiach (Jesus Christ) is Torah Ha-Emet- the True Torah - we should likewise celebrate the Joy of Torah in our lives. Yeshua is the Living Torah, the Living Word, written upon our hearts so that we can truly dance and embrace the Truth given from God. Indeed, Yeshua did not come to destroy the Torah but rather to fulfill it in our lives (Matthew 5:17-20). As it is written in the Tanakh regarding the New Covenant: britchadasha

"Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant (B’rit Chadashah) with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law (Torah) in their inward parts, and write it (the Torah) in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

yeshuaTorahMadeLife(Jeremiah 31:31-34) This very idea is clearly re-affirmed in the New Testament (see Hebrews 8:8-11). As Christians, then, we have the greater reason to celebrate Torah, since Yeshua (Jesus) is of course the Central Message of the Torah-- its inner meaning and incarnation. He is the Torah made flesh (John 1:14), the faithful Mediator of the New and Better Covenant (Hebrews 8:6), and He does what Moses and the Sinatic covenant could never do, namely, write the Torah within our inward parts and upon our hearts so that we might truly be the people of God (Jeremiah 31:31-34). By means of His sacrificial death, the righteous demands of Torah are fully satisfied, and the LORD is glorified as both just and merciful (i.e., the justifier of those who put their trust in Him).
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9 Iyar 5778

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