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April 29, 1994 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-04-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Sefer Safari Extravaganza

and kick-off for the
Jewish Community Library's
"Jewish Family Story Hour"

The Festival Calendar
Is Very Detailed

Wednesday, May 11, 1994
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Agency for Jewish Education

DR. RICHARD C. HERTZ SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

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Attention all Sefer Safari Members:
Bring your completed gameboards to claim your Sefer Safari
prize and have your picture taken for the Jewish News.

Please R.S.V.P. by May 6, 1994

For more information or to make your reservation call
Jewish Experiences for Families at 354-1050.

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20

0

f you are looking for one place
in the Bible to summarize all
of the holidays and festivals of
the Jewish religion, you will
find it in this sedrah, in Chapter
23 of Leviticus. It describes the
calendar of the annual religious
festivals celebrated in biblical
times.
This calendar also includes the
Sabbath, which, of course, is the
supreme weekly day of rest or-
dained in the Ten Command-
ments. There are other places in
the Torah where short holiday
calendars appear, such as in Ex-
odus 23 and Exodus 34, as well
as a fuller statement inDeuteron-
omy 16. But these passages speak
essentially of the three pilgrim
festivals of Passover, Shavuot
and Succot.
The present chapter ofLeviti-
cus 23 which lists also Rosh
Hashanah and Yom Kippur,
gives the fullest and most de-
tailed biblical account of the holy
days as observed in ancient
times.
The contents of the chapter in-
clude not only the Sabbath but
the pascal sacrifices of the
matzah festival as well as offer-
ings of the new grain crops dur-
ing the seven-week period of
counting the Omar. Listed also
are the first day of the seventh
month, which is the day of com-
memoration of the shofar's loud
blast for Rosh Hashanah; the
10th day of the seventh month,
which is the Day of Atonement;
and the Succot festival beginning
on the 15th day of the seventh
month. Thus we have here, in
capsule form the calendar's es-
sential holidays and festivals of
the Jewish religion.
Many changes in Jewish reli-
gious celebrations were marked
over the years. Sacrifice, for ex-
ample, which was the central fea-
ture of ancient worship in the
Temple has long since disap-
peared and many new forms of
celebration have been introduced.
Incidentally, there is nothing here
said about Purim or Chanukah,
the lesser holidays in the Jewish
religious calendar. They were
added much later in the history
of the Jewish people.
After the destruction of the an-
cient Temple in Jerusalem in 70
C.E. the celebration of the three
festivals of Pesach, Shavuot and
Succot returned to their places of
origin, to the Jewish homes and
to the synagogues. Observances
of the festivals changed radical-

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ly as Jews migrated to different
countries in the Mediterranean
world and were influenced by dif-
ferent cultures during different
centuries.
Yet some features are common
to all three festivals. Each is des-
ignated as a holiday, a time for
worship and for rejoicing over
special memories. Only Passover
has its special liturgy, the Hag-
gadah, used at a special home
dinner, the seder, with its special
substitute for bread, namely
matzah.
The Torah describes Shavuot
only as an agricultural festival.
The festival of the new year men-
tioned in this sedrah actually is
called by the Torah the day of

Shabbat Emor:
Leviticus 21:1-24:23
Ezekiel 44:15-31.

Teruah. Our sedrah here calls it
a remembrance of Teruah. The
binding of Isaac is traditionally
read in synagogues on Rosh
Hashanah.
Maimonides considered the
impact of the ceremony of blow-
ing the Shofar on the worshipper.
It reminded people to awake from
their slumbering, to rouse them-
selves from their deep sleep and
to search their deeds that they
may turn and repent.
Chapter 23 includes the Day
of Atonement as a day of com-
plete rest, a day on which the Is-
raelites were to fast and deprive
themselves in order to secure ex-
piation of their sins. The chapter
concludes with two laws con-
cerning the Succot festival, the
seventh day observance and the
concluding celebration on the
eighth day. Like the Passover fes-
tival in the spring of the year, the
first and seventh days of Succot
were to be sacred assemblies on
which work is forbidden.
Thus Moses declared and or-
dered the Israelites to observe the
set times of the Lord. Leviticus
Chapter 23 remains a summa-
ry composite of the holidays and
festivals celebrated today in the
Jewish religious calendar by
Jews everywhere.



The first American Jew to
win a gold medal at the
Olympics was Myer Prins-
tein, who took first place in
the triple jump at the 1900
games in Paris.

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