The Twelve Festivals of Messiah

  1. Shalom aleichem! (Peace be upon you)
  2. Elul, Selichot, the Forty Days, and the Ten Days of Awe
  3. Forty is the Number of Testing
  4. Why forty days to repent and make confession for sin?
  5. Selichot Services
  6. Prayers for Forgiveness
  7. Be a Master of Returning!
  8. The Twelve Festivals of Messiah
  9. We are followers of Yeshua
  10. Festival dates, worship forms, and scholarly studies
  11. By all means speak the Truth in Love

Shalom aleichem! (שלום עליכם-Peace be upon you):

The appropriate response is aleichem shalom – עליכם שלום – unto you shalom.

Although the word shalom most often is translated as peace it means more than peace. This Hebrew word שלום means: health, security, tranquility, success, comfort, and peace.  G-d is the G-d of Shalom (אלוהי השלום). So notice when one says “shalom unto you,” shalom is mentioned first because the first person knows that he (or she) wants the health, security, tranquility, success, comfort, and peace – the happiness (blessedness) of the actual Friendship (Presence) of G-d – and is asking the other person to agree. The person who responds says “unto you (plural) peace,” for Elohei Ha-Shalom is the One who actually creates perfect peace and unity (שָׁלֵם-Shalem: well-being, wholeness, wellness; absolute friendship, relational completeness) in the plural (שְׁלֵמִים-shelamim)—between Himself and the two (or more) persons. Therefore, it is written:

כי במקום אשר שניים או שלושה נאספים לשמי שם אני בתוכם.פ

“For in the place where two or more (lit. three) are gathered in my name I am with you.”

בְּמָקוֹם – “In (the) place
נֶאֱסָפִים לִשְׁמִי – “Gathered (added) to my name.”
שָׁם אֲנִי בְּתוֹכָם – “There I am” (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).

Elul, Selichot, the Forty Days, and the Ten Days of Awe:

כאשר יתחילו לקרות הדברים האלה התעודדו והרימו ראשיכם, כי קרבה גאולתכם. פ

When these things begin to happen, be encouraged and lift up your heads for your redemption (salvation) is near.

Leil Selichot (ליל סליחות-“a night of forgiveness”) and slichot (סליחות) are humble prayers and poems of repentance that are said to make amends with G-d, leading up to the time of the High Holidays that begin on Rosh Hashanah (ראש השנה-Head of the Year; the civil New Year). In the Ashkenazic tradition Selichot begins the Saturday night before *Rosh Hashanah (cf. Messiah in Rosh Hashanah & Yom Teruah, chapters 1-42).

*Rosh Hashanah 2018 will begin in the evening of Sunday, September 9 and end in the evening of Tuesday, September 11.

Elul (אלול) is the 6th (religious; 12th civil) month of the Jewish calendar (late summer/early fall). It is the month set apart for repentance or Teshuvah (תְּשׁוּבָה). In the 6th month of Elul we are in a one month time of spiritual preparation for what follows in the 7th month of Tishri (תִּשְׁרִי‬ or Tishrei תִּשְׁרֵי‬): the High Holy Days, the Ten Days of Awe (ימים נוראים-Yamim Noraim). The 10 days of awe are ten days of testing (ותהיה לכם צרה עשרת ימים) which begin on Rosh Hashanah and end on Yom Kippur.

והיא התקופה שבין ראש השנה ל יום כיפור מיועדת במיוחד לתשובה, ונקראת עשרת ימי תשובה. פ

The ten day period of time between Rosh Hashanah (ראש השנה) and Yom Kippur (יום כיפור) is specifically designated for repentance (תשובה) and is called the Ten Days of Repentance (עשרת ימי תשובה-Aseret Yemei Teshuvah).

Elul is the month in our Jewish Calendar when the season of Teshuvah (תשובה) begins. What is Teshuvah? The word Teshuvah indicates “return,” therefore, we are turning back to Adonai (our Father and our G-d). The root of this verb is first used in the Torah when G-d told Adam he would “return to the earth” (Genesis 3:19).

The term shuv (שׁוּב) informs us that we are both turning away from evil and returning to the Spirit of our Father who is good, righteous, and true (completely reliable). This act of returning to Adonai Avinu (our Father) restores the whole life of our souls. It redirects our personal (individual) and corporate (national) destiny.

The word Teshuvah is most often translated as “repentance.” Repentance includes a change in one’s thinking as well as behavior. Teshuvah and shuv involve our emotions as well as our intellects and behavior. These terms are closely related to the Hebrew word nacham (נָחַם) that conveys the emotion of “regret;” as well as “comfort” and “consolation.”

Teshuvah involves our turning all of our “heart, soul, and strength” back to Adonai (our Father and our G-d) who created us. This is an act of our will. The will is made subject to our Righteous Father through the multiple disciplines of prayer, confession, turning away from sinful practices, and offering tzedakah (practicing acts of righteousness, compassion, good deeds, charity).

Forty is the Number of Testing:

Every year the Season of Teshuvah runs *forty days from the beginning of the first day of the sixth month of the Jewish (religious) calendar (Elul 1), to the end of the tenth day of the seventh month (Tishri 10). During this time we make every effort to repent, or turn toward the Almighty. In Jewish tradition these forty days are called Yemei Ratzon (ימי רצון), meaning “Days of Favor” (ימי רצון לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא – literally, “Days of will before G-d”). This is a time of favor because it was during this time that Avi HaRachamim (the Father of Mercies) forgave our people (Israel) after the sin of the Golden Calf had been committed (פרקי דרבי אליעזר-Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer).

*Selichot (40 days) began after nightfall on Friday, August 10, 2018 (Elul 1) and ends at sunset on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 (Tishri 10).

Selichot (Ashkenazic) begins on Saturday night, September 1, 2018.

As stated before in the Ashkenazic tradition Selichot or slichot (Hebrew: סליחות) begins on the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah. If, however, the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Monday or Tuesday, Selichot are said beginning the Saturday night prior to ensure that Selichot are recited at least four times.

Selichot (Sephardic) began on Friday night, August 10,  2018.

In the Sephardic tradition Selichot begins on the 1st day (nightfall) of Elul. The 40 days of Yemei Ratzon (ימי רצון) have been likened to the number of weeks it takes for the human infant to be formed within the womb. Teshuvah is an awakening. Our positive response to the call of the Holy One upon our lives causes us to experience a new birth, a new life, and a new creation. This maturation process of our spiritual rebirth manifests itself as the power of the Holy Spirit working to make us a new creation from the “Inside-out.” The Ruach Ha-Kodesh gives us His spiritual life that enables us to become conformed (formed together) to fulfill the purpose that our Father Adonai has willed (רצון-ratzon) for us in this age and in the ages to come.

Why forty days to repent and make confession for sin?

Forty is the number of testing. Forty days were involved in Israel’s experience at Mount Sinai. Moses ascended Mount Sinai (at least) three times over forty days and nights. This series of ascents began on the 6th of Sivan. This 6th of Sivan event occurred fifty days after the Exodus. It was at this time that Moses first received the (first set of) Ten Commandments (that were soon thereafter broken) and began learning the details of the Torah. The 6th of Sivan, the day when Moses received the Gift of Torah, is when Shavuot is celebrated (cf. Messiah in Shavuot).

Selichot Services:

The Hebrew word s’lichah (סְלִיחָה) refers exclusively to the generous offer of pardon and forgiveness that Avi HaRachamim (the Father of Mercies) gives to all who repent of their sins and return in humility to Him. In Psalm 130:4 we read:

כי־עמך הסליחה למען תורא׃

כִּֽי־עִמְּךָ הַסְּלִיחָה לְמַעַן תִּוָּרֵֽא׃

For with You there is forgiveness (s’lichah-סְלִיחָה), that You may be feared (יָרֵא- awe, reverence, and highest respect).

Prayers for Forgiveness:

As part of the process of selichot, prayers for forgiveness are recited during the forty day period of the month of Elul through Yom Kippur (Elul 1-Tishri 10). Therefore, throughout the month of Elul psalms and prayerful poems (פיוטים-piyyutim) are chanted and recited during services. One such psalm is Psalm 130:

שיר המעלות ממעמקים קראתיך ה’׃ אדני שמעה בקולי תהיינה אזניך קשבות לקול תחנוני׃ אם־עונות תשמר־יה אדני מי יעמד׃ כי־עמך הסליחה למען תורא׃

שִׁ֥יר הַֽמַּעֲלֹ֑ות מִמַּעֲמַקִּ֖ים קְרָאתִ֣יךָ ה’׃ אֲדֹנָי֮ שִׁמְעָ֪ה בְקֹ֫ולִ֥י תִּהְיֶ֣ינָה אָ֭זְנֶיךָ קַשֻּׁבֹ֑ות לְ֝קֹ֗ול תַּחֲנוּנָֽי׃ אִם־עֲוֹנֹ֥ות תִּשְׁמָר־יָ֑הּ אֲ֝דֹנָ֗י מִ֣י יַעֲמֹֽד׃ כִּֽי־עִמְּךָ֥ הַסְּלִיחָ֑ה לְ֝מַ֗עַן תִּוָּרֵֽא׃

Out of the depths have I cried unto you O Adonai. Lord, hear my voice: let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If you Adonai, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared.

Be a Master of Returning:

Forgiveness is obtained by exercising emunah (אמונה-faith) in the sacrifice of the Anointed One as the kapparah (כפרה-atonement, expiation; from kipper, to cover) for our sins, and by evidencing Teshuvah. “Sin” (חטא-chet in Hebrew) means “failure” in our relationship with the Holy One. Teshuvah (repentance) moves us closer to Adonai our Father but chet causes us to move away from Him. Teshuvah involves four basic steps:

Step #1.  Forsake sin (Proverbs 28:13);

Step #2.  Confess truth. Agree with Adonai our Father that you have sinned. Make amends with those you have harmed (Proverbs 28:13). Ask for mechilah (מחילה-forgiveness) from others before receiving selichah (סליחה-forgiveness) from Avinu Shebashamayim (our Father in heaven).

Step #3.  Accept forgiveness. Be restored to right relationship with Abba our Father. Turn back to our Father of Compassion and Mercies (אבי הרחמים-Avi HaRachamim), the G-d of Forgiveness (אלוה סליחות-Eloah Selichot), the G-d of Comfort (אלהי כל נחמה-Elohei khol-Nechamah) and receive healing for your brokenness. (Isaiah 40:1).

Move forward in your life!

Step #4.  Become a baal teshuvah (בעל תשובה). Be a Master of Returning. One who loves justice, is compassionate, and who daily walks humbly with Adonai Eloheinu (the LORD our G-d).

The Twelve Festivals of Messiah:

This *web-site is dedicated to the study of the Twelve Festivals of the Messiah. There are Twelve Festivals of the Messiah that we will be studying this Jewish calendar year 5778 (sunset September 20, 2017 to nightfall Sunday, September 9, 2018). We go off in a lot of directions but we always return to the same task, the study of the festivals; and that is pretty much all we are trying to do for now.

Festival dates, worship forms, and scholarly studies:

We are Jews who are followers of Yeshua. So we are interested in reading other Jewish views and perspectives related to the practice of our faith in HaShem (Adonai Elohei Tseva’ot). This is why we recommend you visit the Chabad.org and Hebcal.com sites (cf. bottom of page; recommended study links). We recommend you visit these sites so you can get acquainted with some of the worship forms and scholarly studies of the larger Jewish body.

We are followers of Yeshua:

Yeshua is our Rabbi. He is our Messiah. We believe our Messiah is a man. We do not worship the Messiah; nor does he worship himself. For Rabbeinu Yeshua has said:

האלוהים הוא רוח, והעובדים אותו צריכים לעבדו ברוח ובאמת.פ

G-d is Spirit, and His worshipers (servants) must worship Him in spirit and truth.

Therefore, we worship only Adonai Eloheinu (the LORD our G-d). He is Spirit. Not a man. He is our (eternal) Father and our G-d. Therefore, forty days before ascending (cf. Enoch and Elijah) into heaven the Messiah Yeshua said:

לכי אל אחי (יהודים) והגידי להם: אני עולה אל אבי ואביכם, אל אלוהי ואלוהיכם.פ

“Go to my (Jewish) brothers and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my G-d and your G-d.”

We believe that the Messiah Yeshua ben Yosef ben David is a man who worships only Adonai Avinu (ה’ אבינו). Not himself or anything or anyone else. We believe that we Jews together with you Gentiles who reverence (יִרְאֵ֣י -fear ה’) and love G-d are the *house of G-d (בֵּית־אֵל-Beit-El). We are the *house. We are not the one true “G-d of the house” (הָאֵל֙ בֵּֽית־אֵ֔ל-Ha-El Beit-El). G-d is greater than the house that He Indwells. We are the house (בית המקדש-the Temple) where the Spirit of G-d dwells. We worship only Him. Not ourselves or anything or anyone else. So like our Jewish brother the Messiah Yeshua – a humble man, a perfect man whose name means the Salvation of Adonai – we worship only Adonai Eloheinu; who is both our (eternal) Father and our G-d!

*Redeemed humanity is the permanent Temple of G-d that He dwells in forever (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). He does not dwell in temples that are made with human hands (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).

By all means speak the Truth in Love:

You will find that we disagree a considerable amount with much of the teaching of the haredim (חרדים), the “ultra-orthodox” (1, 2). However, please do not mistake our disagreements for a lack of love. We believe that with emet (האמת-the truth) there must also be present chesed (חסד-loving-kindness). Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz (late Chief Rabbi of England) has wisely said, “whenever chesed (loving-kindness) and emet (relational truth, reliability) are used together chesed (covenantal love) always comes first,” as if to say:

Speak the truth by all means; but be quite sure you speak the truth in (kind, charitable, and gracious) love (חסד-chesed).

This saying of Rabbi Hertz is very similar to what Rabbi Shaul ben Benyamin says in his writing about the kind of attitude one should maintain when one presents a difficult truth to another:

אלא נדבר את האמת באהבה ונגדל בכל דבר אלי המשיח, אשר הוא הראש.פ

But we will speak the truth (האמת-ha-emet) in (unselfish, deeply affectionate, and enduring) love (אהבה-ahavah), and we will grow up (develop, mature) in all aspects in him who is the head (הָרֹאשׁ-ha-rosh), even the Messiah (המשיח-ha-mashiach).

We will attempt to do the same. We will talk truth (נדבר את האמת). Yet we will do so in an attitude of love (ahavah and chesed); recognizing all the while the great love Avinu Shebashamayim (our Father in heaven) has for all His children of Israel and for all the people of the world.

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