The Jewish Holidays

Understanding the Appointed Times

This section of the web site provides general information about the most significant mo'edim (or "appointed times") that are important to Jews all over the world. All of the Biblical mo'edim are prophetic and reveal great truth about the plans and counsel of the LORD God of Israel.

Note: For Jews living outside Israel, major Jewish holidays (except for Yom Kippur) are often observed for an additional day (called yom tov sheni).  [more]


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The feasts and holidays are part of the larger mosaic of Jewish time that expresses the corporate life cycle of Jews all over the world:

The Jewish Day

Since the Jewish day (yom) begins at sundown, you must remember that a Jewish holiday actually begins on the night before the day listed in a Jewish calendar. For example, Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) occurs on Nisan 27, which actually begins after sundown, Nisan 26:

The Jewish Day

Thus a given Jewish holiday spans two days on our Gregorian calendar. Most Jewish calendars do not indicate the previous night as part of the holiday. Observance of a holiday begins at sundown on the day before it is listed in the calendar!

In the example above, Yom HaShoah is observed both on Thursday the 5th (after sundown) and Friday the 6th (during daylight hours).

Note that if a Jewish holiday were to occur on a Sabbath, it would be moved to the previous Thursday on the calendar. For example, if Nisan 27 happened to begin on Friday at sundown, it would be moved to Nisan 26. Accessing a current Jewish calendar is essential to observing the mo'edim!

The Jewish Week

The Jewish week (shavu'a) begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday (Shabbat). The Jewish sages have argued that Shabbat is the most important of the mo'edim, since it is explicitly commanded to be observed in the Aseret HaDiberot (Ten Commandments).

  • The Sabbath foreshadows the olam habah (world to come) and our restored dignity as children of the New Covenant.
  • Weekly Torah Readings are considered appointments with the Bat Kol, the Voice of the LORD.

The Jewish Month

The Hebrew calendar is a lunar one, and Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") symbolizes the renewal of the new moon (month), when the moon appears as a sliver in the sky. Rosh Chodesh is marked by special liturgy.

New Moon
  • Rosh Chodesh symbolizes renewal and restoration. Just as the moon wanes and disappears at the end of each month, but returns and waxes again to fullness, so we suffer until the return of our beloved Mashiach Yeshua, who will restore the glory of God fully upon the earth.

The Spring Holidays

Spring is the start of the Biblical Year and is marked by two of the Shelosh Regalim (three annual pilgrimage festivals): Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (Pentecost). Shavuot is held seven weeks (or fifty days) following the morning after Pesach.


The spring holidays reveal the first coming of Yeshua (as Mashiach ben Yosef):

  1. Passover (Pesach) - Celebration of freedom (Major Holiday)
  2. Pentecost (Shavuot) - The giving of the Torah at Sinai and the giving of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to the Church [Sivan 6-7] (Major Holiday)

The Summer Holidays

In the summer there occurs a three week period of mourning that begins with the Fast of Tammuz and ends with tragic holiday of Tishah B'Av. The last nine days of this three week period (i.e., from Av 1 until Av 9th) are days of increased mourning. After this somber time, however, the romantic holiday of Tu B'Av, the 15th of Av occurs. Originally a post-biblical day of joy, the 15th of Av served as a matchmaking day for unmarried women in the Second Temple period.

The summer ends with the 30 days of the month of Elul, a yearly season of teshuvah (repentance) that anticipates Rosh Hashanah and the fall holidays. The days of Elul are combined with the first ten days of the month of Tishri to create the Forty Days of Teshuvah that culminate with the holy day of Yom Kippur.

The summer holidays help us prepare for the second coming of the Messiah:

The Fall Holidays

The Jewish civil year begins in the fall (though the Biblical year begins in spring: see Exod. 12:2). Preparations for the fall holidays begin with a thirty day period of teshuvah (repentance) during the entire month of Elul. The following ten days begin with the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah, on Tishri 1) and end with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur, on Tishri 10). These first ten days of the new year are called the "Ten Days of Awe" (i.e., aseret ye'mei teshuvah: עֲשֶׁרֶת יְמֵי תְּשׁוּבָה).

The fall festivals prophetically reveal the rapture of the kellat Mashiach (Bride of Messiah), the second coming of the Savior, the national conversion and atonement of Israel, God's original-covenant people, and - especially regarding Sukkot - the final restoration of the earth in the olam habah (world to come):

  1. Yamim Nora'im (Days of Awe):
  2. 3. Tabernacles (Sukkot) - [Tishri 15-21] A picture of the millennial kingdom
    1. Hoshana Rabbah - [Tishri 21] The seventh day of Sukkot
    2. Shemini Atzeret - [Tishri 22] The 8th day of assembly following Sukkot
    3. Simchat Torah - [Tishri 23] Celebration of the giving of the Torah

The Winter Holidays

The winter festivals remember special times when God acted on behalf of His people so that they would triumph over their enemies, and therefore they prophetically picture the final victory in the world to come.

The winter holidays help us anticipate the final victory to come:

    1. Chanukah (Dedication) [Kislev 25 - Tevet 3]
    2. Asarah B'Tevet [Tevet 10]
    3. Birth of Messiah...
    4. Tu B'Shevat [Shevat 15] - The New Year for trees
    5. International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jan. 27th)
    6. The Fast of Esther [Adar 13]
    7. Purim (Lots) [Adar 14]

National Holidays of Israel

Since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel has established four new Jewish holidays (three of which occur in the month of Iyyar (Apr/May):

  1. Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Memorial Day [Nisan 27]
  2. Yom Hazikaron - Israel Memorial Day [Iyyar 4th]
  3. Yom Ha'atzmaut - Israel Independence Day [Iyyar 5th]
  4. Yom Yerushalayim - Jerusalem Reunification Day [Iyyar 28th]

Fast Days (Tzomim)

In addition to Yom Kippur, The Talmud (Tractate Rosh Hashana 18b) discusses four fast days (based on Zechariah 8:19) that commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Temples and the exile of the Jewish People from their homeland. In addition, two other fast days are mentioned in the Rabbinical literature, yielding a total of six tzomot (seven if Yom Kippur is included).

Jewish Holidays

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