Origins of Jewish holidays
Formation of national holidays - is a complex multilevel process, which affects culture, religion, nation and its history. In the holidays brighter found national characteristics and relationship to the collective memory of the people. Most of the holidays is connected with the real or mythological history of ethnic groups and, in fact, is currently playing in some sacred event that took place in a mythical past. You can tell that by participating in a festival event people are immersed in sacred history, the so-called time of myth that resists the everyday reality.
If we turn to the Jewish calendar, at first glance it might seem that it contains a lot of strange things. But if you look closely, it becomes clear that, generally, much depends on tradition.
Firstly, the notion of "Jewish Holidays" (ie national holidays of the Jewish people) and the notion of "Jewish Holidays" (ie religious holidays) are practically mean the same thing. For the Jewish people and the history of religion is inextricably linked and equally respectful, people and history itself is a large part of Sacred History.
Second, in Jewish tradition there are several types of specific calendar dates: as holidays and days of mourning. First - to mark the joyous, others - the tragic events in Jewish history. For each of these dates, you can specify its source in a particular tradition. These sources may include: - a passage from the Torah (for the most special dates) - excerpt from Tanah other books - a passage from the Talmud - Jewish history events that were very important and that preserved in popular memory - the instructions halahichnoyi References - tradition of each community of Israel. Each of holidays and days of mourning have their own laws, with each of them are any customs. For these laws and customs are also sources of stored tradition.
Third, if significant dates associated with the Jewish year, Gregorian calendar, it turns out that it is impossible to say at that date they fall. The reason is simple - like holiday and mourning the date specified by the Jewish calendar, the structure is also due to the requirements of Torah.
All Calendars, anyway, based on three basic astronomical concepts: day, month, year. Doba - a turnover of Earth around its own axis. The concept of a calendar month is concerned mainly with the Moon. This period of rotation of the Moon around the Earth. More precisely - the time from the appearance of "new" month to its "reduce". Year - a turnover time of the Earth around the Sun. As the case of three different processes, all of these periods in one calendar counted heavily. Different calendars have different addresses this problem. Certainly the sense of sacrifice or astronomical month (for example, the Gregorian calendar) year or astronomical sense (for example, the Muslim calendar).
The Jewish calendar is a monthly same-sun (and most difficult of those that exist). Beginning months it must coincide with the new moon. So it turns out that month is 29-30 days. However, the length of this period should correspond to the Earth's rotation around the sun, ie be about 365 days, since, according to Jewish tradition, all important dates should always fall on them are for the season. But we come to a contradiction - for the year, focusing on lunar months duration, "behind" of "solar" approximately 12 days.
To compare the lunar and solar cycles and avoid months of strong advances across the calendar, put extra month, called the second Adar (Adar Shen, or Adar Bet), insert it before the month of Adar, which thus becomes a 13-month m, and always consists of 29 days. In addition, the beginning of the year may not fall on Sunday, Wednesday or Friday, it moved in this case for one or even two days. As a result, the length of the month and the length of the year (at times) in the Jewish calendar - variables. This leads to the fact that the calendar becomes aperiodic. In other words, it is based not on a loop sequence of years, repeated, and special calculations. Only the addition of thirteen months of the year takes place periodically in 7 years with 19-year cycle, all the other changes in any frequency not observed.
Four new year
Fourth, another feature of the Jewish calendar is that there are as many as four new years, and none of them have the first of January. Explanation of how strange this can also be found in tradition. The fact that in the days preceding the scattering of the Jewish people, there were some important people for the whole year cycle, which began counting from certain dates. Rules establishing these cycles, eventually taking the status of commandments. There were four such cycles and, consequently, the four new years:
1 Nisan is the beginning months. 1-month - Nisan, 2 - GFI, etc. In addition, this date is New Year countdown board for the kings: if, for example, a king began to reign in, say, Adar, Nisan 1 that begins 2-year reign. So one Nisan - new year countdown for months and everything connected with Jewish kings.
On the other hand, under the Temple, at least one of three holidays (Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot), the Jew carried a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Counting this year, the year during which pilgrimage to be held, as from 1 Nisan.
At the same time the Temple every Jew had to separate a tenth of his cattle to eat it in Jerusalem. The count of the year during which it was necessary to separate this tithe, 1 Elul begins.
15 Sh'vat - a New Year for trees, beginning of year countdown to harvest trees to separate tithes from him.
1 tishreya - a New Year for years of account (ie, it is one we tishreya vidlichuyemo how many years have passed from the Creation), and the court of the Creator over all people and countries.
Thus, it appears that the first month of the account - is the month of Nisan, which must always start in the spring, and one year another change in the month Tishri - the seventh of the account.
Fifthly, in addition to important dates that are marked only once a year, in Jewish tradition status holidays and dates that correlate with shorter timeframe - months and weeks. In other words, in the Jewish tradition of each new moon (Rosh Chodesh) and end of each week (Saturday, Shabbat) are also holidays.
The first day of the month (or last day of the previous month, when it consisted of 30 days) - Rosh Chodesh - napivsvyatkovyy day in the Jewish calendar. Blessing of Rosh Chodesh - the foundation of the holidays of the Jewish calendar and related precepts, because proper installation of Rosh Chodesh dates depend on all other parties.
Before beginning the destruction of the Second Temple of the Moon on the testimony of witnesses who saw the new moon his eyes, established and consecrated a special panel of judges, Sanhedrin. At the time this day was celebrated as the other holidays: in the family, with festivities in holiday clothes, etc. Apparently, this tradition comes from the custom meal treat witnesses who came to the Sanhedrin to announce a new month. Rosh Chodesh was the day when it was taken to visit the famous prophet and ask him about the fate of the people of Israel and of personal problems. In the Temple of the day held a special service that accompanied trubinnyam in pipes and sacrifices.
Today is the beginning of the month is not accompanied by celebration, which was once. This is partly due to the fact that today the Jewish calendar set not by the testimony of witnesses. However, in this day and now distributed some properties of holidays. Although tradition forbids work that day, there is usually not recommended for women to do work that can be transferred to another day. This custom is connected with the legend of the golden calf worship. Filed Pirkey de Rabbi Эliezer (Chapter 45): "When men asked the women of gold ornaments, to cast a golden calf, they refused to pay them and do not obey men. For this God has bestowed upon them in this world and in the future. In this - the commandment of the new moon in the future - that will update their beauty like the young moon. "
In the book of the prophet Isaiah says about the meaning of Rosh Chodesh in the future - during the Messianic Kingdom, when he was the Messiah will rule from Jerusalem, from the throne of David, people come from all sides to worship Him. Thus, Rosh Chodesh is a special day of worship. Apparently, this prophecy also determines the nature of the new moon in holiday traditions.
Termination of everyday, routine work on the seventh day of the week - one of the main precepts of the Old Testament, which reads: "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it: Six days you shall labor and completes all things, and, in the seventh - all do things for God" . Therefore, the main Jewish holiday of the year happens every week.
Some scientists believe that the origin of the holiday is in close connection with the sacred number "seven" (Sheba). Since ancient times magic numbers was widespread in many nations of the east. The number "seven" (and multiples of it) in the Middle East, including the Jews, was considered lucky, it was an expression of fullness, completeness. Such a Sabbath year (Shemita) - every seventh year, during which belonged to forgive debts and give the rest of arable land. Seven semylit - 49 years - advancing Jubilee year (Yovel) when it should have been let slaves go free and return the land selected for the debts. Seven days was to celebrate the feast of fresh breads and Succoth, seven weeks divided Pesach and Shavuot, the sky ancient Jews numbered seven planets, etc.
Guidelines highlight the Torah as a special Sabbath day can be divided into two types. The first relates to the Sabbath's creation of the world: after six days of creation come Saturday - and the Creator himself quit. That observance of the Sabbath - a recognition that God created the world and that this world is under a divine control. (Genesis 2:2): "And God finished on the seventh day job which he did, and rested (vayshbot" - hence the "Sabbath" - "peace") on the seventh day from all His work which He did. And God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because it is Saturday ("calm") from any productive work, and God created it, making the world ".
The second type of instructions recalls the Exodus from Egypt: the event transformed a Jewish slave to free man, and Saturday frees the Jews from bondage everyday life. "Do not do any work nor you, nor your servant may rest your servant and your maid like you, and remember that you were a slave in Egypt, but the Lord thy God brought thee out thence a strong hand and outstretched, therefore the LORD commanded you, God, make the Sabbath day. " Thus, the first passage refers to the universal values of the Sabbath, on which all mankind must remember, and the second - on its national importance, the covenant between man and God.
Of particular relevance to Saturday underlined the fact that the strictest limits on the work proved it on Saturday - a tradition prohibit the sabbath "trivial" actions that violate the conviviality Saturday. Such acts can include everything related to cash settlements and daily work (up to cooking) and all the talk of "everyday" topics. If you match Saturday with other festive Jewish calendar date order celebratory prayer changes "toward" the Sabbath, and posts (except Yom Kippur) transferred to another day. And, besides, the whole Torah is divided into weekly sections, which all Jews on the Sabbath, so Shabbat - a point of "leveling" of all Jews to study Torah.
Celebration Saturday includes execution orders and Torah sages associated with the sanctification of the day unit. Some of these instructions are specific expression: light candles before the Sabbath, saying a special blessing, Saturday arrange three festive meals, and the first two of them begin with a special prayer - kiddush, that the Sabbath blessing over a glass of wine. Other orders sent to a special festive atmosphere: people wear beautiful clothes, the family gathers together for a festive table cover, eating delicious food, drink wine.
Saturday is the Jewish house in the time inflammation Shabbat candles. Friday evening, be sure to dusk, hostess house lights Shabbat candles and pronounces blessing on the candle lighting. After this is that the Sabbath began.
Categories Jewish holidays
Jewish holidays are distinguished not only strictly set for each holiday ritual that will play back the events that formed the basis for the holiday but a special attitude to work. In celebration banned all kinds of work. Holiday always protystavlyalosya weekdays, daily everyday occupation. It features a limit - "nichohoneroblennya" (in the sense of not making regular classes).
Based on the Jewish holidays can be divided into the following categories:
1. Shabbat (Saturday) and Yom Kippur (these days is completely forbidden to work).
2. Celebrations of the Torah (all work is prohibited, except for cooking) - and Rosh Hashanah, Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot, Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.
3. Napivsvyata in Torah (Hol-ha-Moed): intermediate days of Pesach and Sukkot. You can only do such work, which is difficult to transfer to another time.
4. Rosh Chodesh - also better not to work because it also highlighted the Torah holiday.
5. Established by the prophets and wise men "celebration of all Israel, with which compliance - Commandment: Purim and Hanukkah. Work these days is not forbidden, but still to be productive is not recommended.
6. Established by the prophets and wise men "posts all Israel": 17 Tammuz, 9 Av, Fast of Gedaliah, 10 Tevet, Taanit Esther.
7. Widespread celebration, established by the prophets and wise men of the commandments that have no status. Work is not prohibited (15 Sh'vat, Lag B'Omer).
8. General memorable dates that have special holiday traditions - Day commemorating the heroes of Israel Independence Day, Jerusalem Day, Yom Shoah-A.
The main features of Jewish holidays
For Jewish holidays can be distinguished features:
1. Termination, prohibition of work. You may, however, the cook (the latter does not apply to Shabbat and Yom Kippur).
2. Order "fun" (except Yom Kippur and Lent). The holidays do not observe mourning, and even seven-day mourning for the dead carry the next day for the holiday.
3. Holiday meal. Order holiday meals generally the same: first pronounced a blessing over wine (kiddush), then performed the ritual washing of hands, and then blessing the bread and the actual meal itself.
4. "Sacred assembly", ie all members of a community meeting for worship ceremonies and celebrations.
5. Conducting ceremonies "havdala - split holidays and workdays, which is at the end of the holiday.
6. All Jewish holidays begin the evening, at sunset, because it is believed that at this point arises a new day. As stated: "And the evening and the morning - day one".
In addition, for each specific holiday special rites and ceremonies (and the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE - sacrifices that were abolished after the event). In principle, all mentioned features is not something specific, peculiar only to the Jewish holidays. Funny nature holidays, accommodation token, participation in sacred ceremonies, stop everyday activities - all toyu or less typical for any archaic holidays.
Another of the distinctive features of Jewish holidays, starting with the biblical era, it was massive, involving a Christmas show of all, without distinction of sex, age and social status. In the Old Testament nakazuyetsya celebrate and make merry men and women, free and bound as well as foreigners living "among the children of Israel."
In Jewish history there are four particularly sad date associated with the destruction of the country, Jerusalem, the Temple and the scattering of the Jewish people. Those days are marked by fasting, special prayers and customs.
- 10th Tevet - the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar
- 17th Tammuz - the first breach in the wall of Jerusalem
- 9th Av - the date of destruction of the Temple - the First and Second
- 3 rd Tishreya - Fast of Gedaliah - murder of Gedaliah, the last result of the destruction of the First Temple - a complete expulsion of Jews from Israel.
Although the posts and set a sign of mourning that swept Israel after the destruction of the Temple, in memory of the meal, carried the Jews, yet grief is not the major content of the day. The main goal posts - to awaken the heart and lay the path to repentance, reminding us wrong, the events that led to disasters. Reflections on the sins lead us to the path of correction. Public posts are set to the Jewish people awoke to remorse, remembering. To destruction stopped, everyone should reflect on our actions, to acknowledge and repent.