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Home » Daily Readings

The Festivals of Yahweh

Submitted by on Friday, 31 July 2009No Comment

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Leviticus 23 is where Yahweh tells Moses the festivals that the Israelites should keep in remembrance of the favors that has been shown them. This is one of the ways Israel should keep before their eyes the wondrous works wrought by God.

The liturgical selection though not containing all the passages of Leviticus 23 however bring us the substance of the chapter. Below is a list of the feasts described

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The Sabbath.

The rest day of Israel. For six days they are to work but on the seventh, they are to rest. Sabbath has been rendered “Sabado” in the Filipino language influenced heavily as it is by Spanish, and therefore has been associated with the seventh day — if one counts Sunday as the first day of the week. The meaning of Sabbath, etymologically, is “cessation from work”. As such, the word “Sabbath” does not mean “seventh”. How those in Christian countries began associating the Spanish-Tagalog “Sabado” with the “seventh day” is the way the Catholic Church reckons the days of the week which begins with the Dies Domenica — the Lord’s Day (which in the dialects still is rendered “Domingo”) — and followed by Feria Secunda (Monday), Feria Tertia (Tuesday), Feria Quarta (Wednesday), Feria Quinta (Thursday), Feria Sexta (Friday) and Sabbato (Saturday).
The Passover.

We know this to be the feast that commemorates the night the Israelites escaped from the slavery of Egypt. It is celebrated on the 14th-15th of Nisan which falls sometime in April. The feast of the Passover (Pessah) is familiar to Christians because it was the day that the Lord instituted the Eucharist and the sacrament of the Priesthood. It was on the evening of the 14th of Nisan that the Lord began a new memorial for his disciples as he held himself in his own hands in a gesture of supreme of sacrifice: “This is my Body … This is my Blood.” That night, a new feast day for Christians was inaugurated, a feast day different from the Jewish Pasch.
The Feast of Weeks.

Seven weeks counting from the feast of Passover, the Feast of Weeks is celebrated. During the time of Luke the feast was called “Pentekostes”. As it stands in the book of Leviticus, the Feast of Weeks is connected with the Feast of First Fruits which was to be celebrated in the Promised Land during the first harvest. As it evolved however, the Jewish Pentecost became the occassion for the celebration of the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. For Christians, it became the feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church. Jews continue to celebrate the Feast of Weeks around May.
Yom Kippur.

The most solemn feast of the Jews is called the Day of the Atonement. It is the day for fasting and mortification — “the affliction of souls” . It is celebrated about a week from Rosh Hashanah — the Jewish New Year — which falls around September. Leviticus tells us that from the 9th-10th Day of the seventh month (Tishri) it shall be a “Shabbat”. This is a clear proof from the Bible itself that the Sabbath does not really refer to “Saturday” since the 9th-10th day of any month may not necessarily be “Saturday”.
Sukkot.

The feast of the Tabernacles some days after Yom Kippur. It is a feast that commemorated the sojourn in the desert, when Israel lived in tents. The account of the Transfiguration probably occured during the five days when the Jews are supposed to live in tents. Remember that when Jesus appeared with Elijah and Moses, all that Peter can say was that he’d build a tent for each of Jesus’ heavenly interlocutors. Psalm 118 — a psalm which Christians associate with Easter — was sung for this festival.

For more information about Jewish Feasts follow the links below

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