What do Israelis think of the Bible?
Keyword: Jewish festivals
Judaism is a religion with a strong festival culture. Many of the Jewish festivals were originally pastoral and peasant festivals that were later dedicated to the solemn remembrance of God's saving deeds in history. They return over the course of the year.
(1) The Passover festival (Pesach) commemorates the liberation of Israel from slavery in Egypt. In biblical times, families sacrificed a lamb on the eve of this feast. Since the reform under King Josiah, this was only allowed to happen in Jerusalem. At the beginning of the family celebration, the story of the move-out is told. The meals of the Passover meal all remind of a detail of the event at that time (Exodus / Exodus 12). The festival is celebrated in March / April (for more information see Passover).
(2) The festival of unleavened bread (mazzot) follows immediately after the Passover. It is reminiscent of the time of the desert wandering of the people of Israel: Just as the Israelites only had unleavened bread when they left Egypt, since they had no time to bake sourdough bread, so too the Jews only eat unleavened bread during this festival week.
(3) The second big annual festival is the weekly or Pentecost festival (Shavuot), which celebrates the end of the wheat harvest. It begins 50 days after the first fruits are harvested and is a thank you for God's blessing on the fields and meadows. It later became the commemoration of the proclamation of the law on Sinai. The festival is celebrated in May / June.
(4) The final harvest festival in the course of the year is the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) at the time of the grape harvest in autumn. It was celebrated with a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. During this festival week, people lived in small huts, which is probably what they originally lived in the vineyards at the time of the grape harvest. Later this festival commemorated the devotion of God to the people of Israel during the time of the desert migration. The Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated in September / October.
(5) The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur, five days before the Feast of Tabernacles) is one of the highest Jewish holidays to this day. Nobody should work on him, because all the people confess their guilt before God and ask for forgiveness. Only on this day did the chief priest enter the holy of holies in the temple and to atone for his guilt sprinkled the altar with the blood of a sacrificial animal. In addition, a billy goat was symbolically loaded with the sins of Israel (scapegoat) and driven into the desert to carry away the guilt.
(6) The New Year festival (Rosh Hashanah) commemorates the creation of the world by God and is celebrated in September / October when the Jewish year begins in autumn.
(7) The Festival of Lights (Hanukkah) celebrates the victory of Judas Maccabeus over the Syrian occupying power and the rededication of the temple in 165 BC. It lasts eight days. According to a Jewish legend, a small amount of oil that the Jews found in the temple was enough for this period of time. Every day another light is lit on an eight-armed chandelier, an extra light is used to light the others. The festival of lights is celebrated in November / December.
(8) The Purim festival commemorates the rescue of the people by Esther (Esther 9) and is celebrated in February / March.
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