Occasionally referred to as the "first of the appointed times", the 7th day Sabbath is one of the central points of Jewish life. This is the time, appointed by G-d every week, we are to set aside to remove ourselves from our work and focus on the L-rd. Shabbat is like a weekly "date" with the creator of the universe.
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In the beginning, at the very creation of the world, G-d set apart the 7th day with a blessing (Genesis 2:3). therefore we also say a blessing as we light the candles to welcome the Sabbath every Friday evening.
- Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh HaOlam, Asher Kiddushanu B’mitzvotav V’tzivanu L’hiyot Or L’goyim V’natan Lanu Yeshua Meshicheinu Ha’or L’olam.
- Blessed are you, O L-rd our G-d, Ruler of the Universe, Who has sanctified us by His commandments, and commanded us to be a light to the nations, and has given us Yeshua our Messiah, the Light of the World.
The first mention in the Torah of the Sabbath as a commandment is seen in Exodus 16:23, where the Children of Israel are commanded to gather twice as much manna on the 6th day, so that they will do no work gathering on the Sabbath. Later, Moses relays to them the Ten Commandments, including the fourth commandment, to remember the Sabbath day (Exodus 20:8-11).
The tradition of observing the first day of the week, Sunday, as a day of rest and worship was unknown until after the writing of the Bible, though Early believers in Yeshua were known to be together on the first day of the week (the day after the Sabbath).
Purim is the first feast of the year on the Gregorian calendar and is probably the most fun. It takes little preparation, and involves the children as well as adults. It tells the story of Esther (YAY!) and Haman (BOO!). You'll catch on quickly.
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The Children of Israel have an interesting capacity to approach difficult circumstances with wry humor. This may be a survival trait given by G-D to see them through their often turbulent history. The holiday of Purim offers a fine example of this trait in action.
The events of Purim center around a plot by an evil government minister to massacre the Jewish population of King Ahasuerus (Aha-swear-os), who ruled a kingdom that stretched from India to Ethiopia. Despite the alarming subject matter, Purim is a light-hearted, almost carnival-like festival that focuses on personal heroism and the faithfulness of G-D to deliver His people.
As with many Jewish holidays, the festivities involve a retelling of the story so that it might never be forgotten. Often this is done in the form of a Purimspiel, or a play, usually performed by the children of the community. Purim is the holiday in which children take center stage. There is a festive party where the children (and some adults) come dressed as characters from the story. The principal food is a triangular cookie called hamantaschen, usually filled with prune or poppyseed, which is said to resemble the tri-cornered hat worn by the villain. (Click here for a printable hamantaschen recipe.)
During the telling of the story, the audience is fully involved, cheering loudly whenever the hero and heroine are mentioned and booing enthusiastically at the name of the villain.
Passover is celebrated every year on Nissan 14 (Leviticus 23:4). Download a Passover Haggadah (The Telling), recipes, and instructions, for a re-creation of the "Last Supper" you will never forget.
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Pesach is the feast celebrating the deliverance of the Children of Israel from the land of Mitzrayim (Egypt).
As a Messianic congregation we celebrate Passover in a Messianic fashion. Apart from this we also teach other congregations how to celebrate Passover and show them how Yeshua (Jesus) would have celebrated it. To help in our instruction we have created our own Passover Haggadah (The Telling), which is the book used as a guide to the feast of Passover.
The Haggadah we offer here was originally created by and has been refined by our Synagogue over the last six years. We have used as references both Jewish and Messianic Haggadahs to create one which is easy to follow
Tools for creating your own Passover Seder:
Download our Passover Preparation Guide. (Prints on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, everything you need to get ready.)
Download our Passover Haggadah. (Prints on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, pages turn right to left.)
Download our Haggadah cover. (Large File – 2MB)
The Jewish new year is actually celebrated in the seventh calendar month of the Hebrew calendar (Leviticus 23:24). This holiday signals the beginning of the High Holy Days. Like most of the other celebrations, this one is joyous, but it also begins the "Days of Awe", a time which encourages us to take an introspective look at the past year as we draw closer to Yom Kippur.
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Rosh Hashanah litterally means, “Head of the Year.” It is the Jewish New Year because it begins the High Holy Days, usually falling around the Gregorian calendar’s September or October. Originally commanded in Leviticus 23: 24 and 25 to be, “a rest, a reminder by blowing (of trumpets),” Yom Teruah literally means, “Day of Blowing.”
Rosh Hashanah is a festive day of fun and feasting. It ushers in the countdown to Yom Kippur and begins the time of cleansing and purification of the community in preparation for the plea for yearly atonement on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. (Click here for more on Yom Kippur.)
The Day of Atonement is more an event than a celebration. To those of G-D's chosen who have not yet found the Messiah, this day is sometimes met with confusion and uncertainty. This would have been the day that all of Israel would have flocked to the Temple to offer sacrifices for their sins over the past year. With the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, the only place authorized by G-D for such sacrifices was gone.
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Commanded in Leviticus 23:26 – 32, the Day of Atonement, was created to be a time when the Israelites would think back on all of their sins from the past year. They would repent and offer sacrifices and fast as they prayed to G-D for repentance.
We at Beth-El Shaddai prefer to remember our Atonement. We bathe this day in prayer not only for ourselves but also for those of our brothers and sisters who do not understand that the Atonement of their blood sacrifice has been lifted up once and for all in their Messiah. We also lift up G-D and praise Him for the Atonement that He made for us by defeating death and washing our sins away with the blood He spilled. The blood of the final Atonement sacrifice. The fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:31 – 37.
The Feast of Tabernacles is a feast of celebration. Once the crops are in, there are sacrifices of thankfulness to be offered. No work is done on the first and eighth days. You should build a sukkah (a simple temporary structure outdoors), and have a party!
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Commanded in Leviticus 23:33 – 36, Sukkot is called the Feast of Tabernacles, or the Feast of Booths. At the specified time, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month(Hebrew calendar), the Children of Israel would come together and build temporary structures where they would live for seven days. They would not work at their occupations on the first and eighth day (Shemini Azaret/ Simchat Torah)as they celebrated the time of the harvest and offered sacrifices to G-D thanking Him for providing them with their harvest.
Because Sukkot is a time when the people of Israel would have gathered in Jerusalem (a time when a census of the people could have been easily conducted) many believers in Y’shua feel that this would have been the time when Messiah was actually born in Bethlehem.
Hanukkah, or The Feast of Dedication, is one of the most well-known Jewish holidays among gentiles. There is a good reason for this: If the Maccabean revolt it celebrates had not taken place 160 years earlier, Yeshua would not have had a Temple to come to. He took this very time to declare Himself to the High Priests in that very Temple (John 10:22).
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Each night of the eight day festival, we celebrate by reading the story of the miracle of the oil, the associated stories in Daniel, and those of us who believe in G-D’s Son Yeshua also read the story from John 10 and how the Messiah chose that time and place to announce that He was the one the Prophets had foretold.
The most graphic way to celebrate is to light the Hanukkah Menorah which has nine candleholders instead of the normal seven. This holder can be purchased from a synagogue gift shop, or simply made from a block of wood with nine holes drilled for small candles. The “Shamash” or “Servant” candle is usually set off to one side, or elevated slightly in the middle.
The first night, a candle is placed in the shamash position and one candle on the end. Then we light the shamash with a match or lighter, then take the shamash from its holder and light the other candle(s). The second night, we would place the shamash and two candles, etc.
On the first night we add:
Baruch atah Adonai Elohenu melekh ha-olam, she-he-khi-yanu v’kiyamanu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh.
Blessed are you, O L-RD our G-D, King of the universe, who has kept us in life, sustained us and brought us to this season.
It is very easy to find many books with the story of Hanukkah in book stores, or you can read the short Hanukkah outline we present here.