Shalom, everyone! The mo’edim are appointed times The Almighty gave unto Bnei Yisrael to remember and observe as meetings between Yisrael and The Almighty. The mo’edim were to be times of thanksgiving, worship, and praise unto The Almighty, and times of rest and reflection for Bnei Yisrael. Each mo’ed had specific instructions from The Almighty on how they were to be observed including, time of occurrence, sacrifices that were to be performed, and permissible activities during these very special seasons. The mo’edim are the times when The Almighty draws closest to His Creation; they are also times for us to stop and reflect upon our actions, repent of any wrongdoing, grow closer to The Almighty through worship, prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.
The mo’edim are so special to The Almighty that He created a specific ecclesiastical calendar for their observance. In Exodus 12:1-2, The Almighty commands Yisrael to start their ecclesiastical and regnal year with the month of Aviv (Nisan) in the Spring. Psalm 104:19 states that The Almighty made the moon to mark the mo’edim. The ecclesiastical calendar was actually a lunisolar calendar to be used by the priests, trained in astronomy, agriculture and the natural environment to determine when the mo’edim would occur during the solar year.
This ecclesiastical calendar would begin with the sighting of the first new moon of the Spring. The lunar year typically has twelve moons/lunar months. There are exceptions to this rule, however, in that the lunar year may have 13 moons. When this occurs, an intercalary month is added causing the next new moon after the 13th moon is counted as the first new moon of the new ecclesiastical year. This is so that the planting and harvest seasons, specifically Spring and Fall, remain in sync. With the process of intercalation, the ecclesiastical calendar becomes a lunisolar calendar.
The ancient Bnei Yisrael utilized two calendars: An ecclesiastical calendar for the mo’edim, and a civil calendar used by laymen to conduct their day-to-day affairs. Civil business was also conducted according to a lunisolar calendar, beginning in the Fall when the year number was incremented by one.
The following is a list of the appointed times (mo’edim) commanded by The Almighty to Bnei Yisrael to observe as found in the Torah given to Moshe. Each of these mo’edim will be discussed in greater detail in later posts. For additional information on the moe’dim, please watch our video, WATCH: Mo’edim: The Almighty’s Appointed Times – Mar 03 2020:
(The weekly Sabbath)
|A weekly day of rest from melakhah (creative work) observed on the seventh and last day of the seven-day weekly cycle. The weekly Shabbat occurs from sunset Friday to nightfall Saturday, a period of 24 hours. This commandment was given in commemoration of The Almighty‘s day of rest after six days of creating the heavens andof the earth, and also as a memorial of the deliverance of the Bnei Yisrael from slavery in Mizraim (Egypt) where they were not permitted a day of rest.|
|In ancient Yisra’el, the new moon was the first visible crescent (FVC) moon. The Bnei Yisrael are commanded to observe the sighting of the new moon as a joyous celebration with the blast of trumpets/horns.|
|Observed annually on the 14th day of Nisan (Aviv), the first month, or on the 14th day of Iyyar (Ziv), the second month, if one could not observe it on the 14th day of Nisan (Aviv). This day is the last preparation day for the seven-day Chag HaMatzot (Festival of Unleavened Bread). On this day, all leaven is removed from among the Bnei Yisrael in all our habitations, the Pesach lamb/kid offering is sacrificed in the afternoon, but eaten later that evening after sunset, corresponding to the 15th day of Nisan (Aviv).|
(Feast of Unleavened Bread)
|Observed annually during the first month from the 15th through the 21st day of Nisan (Aviv). During this seven-day festival, the Bnei Yisrael are commanded to eat matzah (unleavened bread) and abstain from consuming any products containing chametz (leaven). The first day, 15th of Nisan (Aviv) and seventh day, 21st of Nisan (Aviv) of this festival are yom tov, (days of rest, Sabbaths) on which Bnei Yisrael are commanded to abstain from creative work (melakhah) and hold a sacred convocation.|
(Counting of the Omer)
|The Counting of the Omer begins on the 16th of Nisan (Aviv), the day after the first yom tov of Chag HaMatzot in the first month, Nisan (Aviv), and lasts for 49 days or seven complete weeks until the 5th of Sivan, the eve of Shavuot.|
(Feast of Weeks/Day of First Fruits)
|Observed on the 6th of Sivan, the 50th day of the Omer. It is a yom tov (day of rest, Sabbath) on which the Bnei Yisrael are commanded to abstain from creative work (melakhah) and hold a sacred convocation.|
|Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShanah
(Day of Trumpets, Day of Blasts)
|Observed annually during the seventh month on 1st of Tishrei (Ethanim), commemorated with a sacred convocation with the loud blasts of trumpets/horns and/or beating of drums. This is a yom tov, (day of rest, Sabbath) on which the Bnei Yisrael are forbidden to do any creative work (melakhah).
Also known as “Rosh HaShanah” (“Head of the Year”), the 1st day of Tishrei (Ethanim) is the beginning of the civil year.
(Day of Atonement)
|A complete abstention from work, food, drink, and sexual relations observed annually during the seventh month from before sunset of the 9th day through the 10th of Tishrei (Ethanim), a period of about 25 hours. Yom HaKippurim is considered to be the holiest day of the year among the Bnei Yisrael.|
(Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles, Feast of Ingathering)
|A seven-day festival observed annually from the 15th day to the 21st day of Tishrei (Ethanim), the seventh month. For seven days, the Bnei Yisra’el are commanded to live in booths/tents as a reminder of the sojourning of the ancestors in the wilderness after the exodus from Mizraim (Egypt). On the 15th day, the Bnei Yisrael are commanded to abstain from work and hold a sacred convocation. During this convocation, we are commanded to bring the four species (product of hadar trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook) and rejoice before The Almighty.|
(Eighth Day of Assembly)
|Observed annually during the seventh month on the 22nd of Tishrei (Ethanim), immediately after Sukkot. Sometimes referred to as the eighth day of Sukkot. Shemini Atzeret is yom tov (day of rest), day of rest; melakhah (creative work) is forbidden. The Bnei Yisra’el are commanded to abstain from work and hold a sacred convocation.|