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Chodesh Sivan - Time of Revelation

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Chodesh Sivan

The Month of Revelation...

The third month of the Jewish calendar (as reckoned from the month of Nisan) is called Sivan (סִיוָן), which usually begins during late May or early June. In the Torah this month is simply called "the third month" (i.e., chodesh ha-shlishi: חדֶשׁ הַשְּׁלִישִׁי), though some time after the Babylonian Captivity it assumed its present name. Sivan is mentioned only once in the Jewish Scriptures, in the post-Exillic Book of Esther (Esther 8:9).

Since Sivan always has 30 full days, Rosh Chodesh Sivan (i.e., the celebration of the new month) is observed for only one day. Among the Orthodox, the second day of Sivan is called "yom hameyuchas" (the "day of distinction"), since on this day the people agreed to accept the Torah, and upon thier ratification Moses instructed the people to prepare themselves to become "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exod. 19:6-8). In some circles this "day of distinction" is celebrated as a minor festival. On the third day of month the LORD instructed Moses to "set a boundary" (hagbalah) for the people around the mountain in preparation for the coming revelation to be given three days later (Exod. 19:9-15). These three days are called the "Three Days of Separation" (i.e., Sheloshet Yemei Hagbalah: שְׁלשֶׁת יְמֵי הַגְּבָּלָה) during which the people prepared for the revelation to come on Sivan 6th: "Make yourselves ready by the third day" (Exod. 19:11,15). The Talmud comments: "Blessed be our God who has given a threefold Torah (Torah, Prophets, Writings) to a threefold nation (Kohanim, Levites, and Israelites) through one who was third (Moses, the third child after Aaron and Miriam) in the third month."


The first five days of the month of Sivan anticipate the day that the Torah was revealed to Israel at Sinai, namely, on the sixth of Sivan, a date which the rabbis later associated with the holiday of Shavuot ("Weeks" or "Pentecost"), which occured exactly 7 weeks after the Exodus from Egypt. On the night of Shavuot itself, after celebrating the holiday meal, it is customary to read selections from the Torah (and portions of the Talmud) until sunrise. This custom is called tikkun leil shavu'ot: תִּקּוּן לֵיל שָׁבוּעוֹת, "Rectification for Shavuot Night," and was instituted as a "remedy" for Israel's failure to be awake on the morning of the revelation (the midrash scolds the people who overslept on the morning of the revelation and who needed to be roused by the heavenly shofar blast, loud thunder and lightning to salute the King).  Spiritually speaking, then, the month of Sivan represents the giving of the Torah to Israel (i.e., z'man mattan Toratenu: זְמַן מַתַּן תּוֹרָתֵינוּ), when the drama which began with the Exodus from Egypt culminated with the giving of the Torah. For Messianic believers, the month of Sivan also commemorates the giving of the Ruach Ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) to the followers of Yeshua after His ascension into heaven.


The commandment to sanctify the new moon of Sivan reveals that it is our responsibility to sanctify (i.e., observe) Biblical time in general. In other words, when we observe the month in which the Torah was revealed to Israel, we are acknowledging that time itself is rooted in the Biblical calendar with its divinely inspired cycle of festivals (i.e., the moedim).


The Holiday of Shavuot

For traditional Judaism, Shavuot (or "Weeks" or "Pentecost") commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Jewish confirmation ceremonies are often held at the synagogue for young adults to recommit themselves to Talmud Torah (the study of Torah) and the decision to live as a Jew.

According to the sages, the festival of Shavuot marks the culmination of the experience of redemption, sometimes called Atzaret Pesach, the "conclusion" of Passover. Since the Exodus from Egypt was intended to lead to the revelation given at Sinai, the goal of Passover was the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people. God took the Jews out of Egypt so that they would be His own treasured people, holy and separated from the pagan cultures around them.  Indeed, all of the mo'edim (holidays) are connected with this event, including the fall festivals of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.

Additional Shavuot customs include decorating the home and synagogue with greenery, eating dairy foods and sweets (as samples of "milk and honey"), and staying up the entire night before Shavuot to read selections from the Torah, Talmud, and Zohar (i.e., tikkun leil shavu'ot: תִּקּוּן לֵיל שָׁבוּעוֹת). For the Messianic Jew, Shavuot is the time of celebrating the birth of kallat Mashiach - the Bride of the Messiah (or Church), since the Ruach Ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) was poured out on the believers in Jerusalem during this festival.

Note: For additional information the Ten Commandments, click here.

Rosh Chodesh Blessing

Since Rosh Chodesh Sivan marks the new beginning of the month of revelation, we humbly ask the LORD to help us prepare for the coming season of Shavuot:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֵיךָ יהוה אֱלהֵינוּ וֵאלהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ
שֶׁתְּחַדֵּשׁ עָלֵינוּ חדֶשׁ טוֹב בַּאֲדנֵינוּ יֵשׁוּעַ הַמָּשִׁיחַ אָמֵן

ye·hi · ra·tzon · mil·fa·ne·kha · Adonai · E·lo·hei·nu · ve·lo·hei · a·vo·tei·nu
she·te·cha·desh · a·lei·nu · cho·desh · tov · ba'a·do·nei·nu · Ye·shu·a · ha·ma·shi·ach · A·men

"May it be Your will, LORD our God and God of our fathers,
that you renew for us a good month in our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.

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