Why are our feast days, which are commanded in the Tanakh as Mo’edim or “Appointed Times,” oftentimes different from mainstream Judaism and many other Messianic congregations?
Answer: The short answer is, “We are not Rabbinic”. We do not follow the teachings of the Rabbis simply because they are Jewish, as the Rabbis were shown by Messiah to have erred from the Commandments. Our “Judaism” is 1st century, Messianic, “Mishnaic” Judaism, meaning the customs we follow were practiced by Messiah Yeshua and the Shlikhim [Apostles], and recorded in the 2nd century in what is known as “Mishnah,” confirming and explaining the ‘how’ of what is written in Torah. The Mishnah tells us they “observed”/”saw” the “khodesh”, the crescent new moon. This aligns with Torah. The current, Jewish schedule of holy days follows a calculated solar/lunar calendar which was not completely codified until nearly 1000AD, and uses Babylonian methods of setting feast days, having been first calculated by Hillel the 2nd in the sixth century AD. The Torah has no real concept of a fixed “month”, but counts each “khodesh”, or “renewed crescent moon”.
The start of the Mo’edim, or feasts, is set in the spring at Pesakh, each new crescent moon determining the benchmark for setting the following feasts. Pesakh is 14 days after the first crescent, and Yom Teru’ah/Rosh HaShanah falls on the 7th renewed crescent moon. For details on determining Pesakh and the subsequent feasts, please read this document: Reckoning Pesakh
In His mercy, Elohim has given Yisra’el ten Feasts, described in his word. Most of these are Mo’edim, or Appointed Times described in VaYikra (Lev) chapter 23 and elsewhere. Congregation Bat-Tzion celebrates all feasts with gusto! What better way to stay set apart than with our community and in joy, repenting, reflecting, celebration, and remembering!
Below are the estimated dates of the upcoming Feasts. All dates signify the first evening at sundown unless specified otherwise. Actual dates will not be known for certain until the khodesh (renewed moon) is sighted prior to the Feast listed below. Read Reckoning Pesakh to learn more.
- Pesakh Seder (Passover) – 14th Nisan begins Wed Eve Apr 5th at 6 PM
- Omer Reishit (The first omer [sheaf] or firstfruits) – Sunday, Apr 9th
- Matzot (Unleavened Bread) 7th Day Assembly – 3 pm – Wed 12th
- Shavu’ot (Feast of Weeks also known as Pentecost) – Sunday, May 28th
- Teshuvah – Fall 2023; Daily prayers linked here.
- Yom Teruah Assembly (Feast of Trumpets or Awakening Blast; also known as Rosh Hashanah) – Sunday Sept 17th
- Yom Kippur Assembly (Day of Atonement) – Tuesday Sept 26th
- Complete fast (from water and food) suggested to “afflict yourselves” (Vaykikra [Lev] 23:27).
- It is also tradition to wear all white clothing with no leather.
- Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) – First night in Booths; Saturday Sept 30th
- Sukkot I High Sabbath – Sunday Oct 1st – No Assembly
- Simkhat Torah / Sh’mini Atzeret (Rejoicing with the Torah / Eighth [Day] Assembly) – Sunday Oct 8th
- Khanukah – Begins Evening of Thu Dec 8th 2023 or Fri Dec 9th
- Purim – Winter 2024
The calendar is “Gregorian based,” but also reflects Biblical days. Biblical days start at night, so the ‘khodesh’ (renewed crescent of the moon) begins in the evening (Erev) of the Gregorian day on which it is posted. “High Days” are listed on the day they start [at night, because there is most always an in-home blessing to set apart that ‘day’], AND the event of the ‘assembly’ on the day and at the time the assembly actually occurs.