MembersFeasts of the Seventh Month

Sixty years before the Norman Conquest of 1066, the English town of Reading was ravaged by Sweyn the Dane. For Reading, a major catastrophe; but in the overall calendar of British history, no more than a blip.

By Dov Chaikin |
Children sit around the table and simulate The Passover Seder so they learn the costumes of how it is done. Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90

Well over 2,000 years before that event, a major calendar change took place. Immediately prior to the Exodus, the Israelites were instructed by God—as we read in Ex. 12:2—to institute an annual calendar commencing in spring, rather than in autumn. The Hebrew—sacred—calendar revolves around a cycle of feasts, the first complete listing of which is found in Lev. 23.

 

In biblical numerics, the number ‘seven’ signifies “perfection/completion.” Moreover, in Scripture the number ‘seven’ marks the sacred measurement of time. The weekly Sabbath is the seventh of days; Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost) is observed upon completion of seven weeks from the Day of First Fruits; the seventh month in the sacred calendar stands out from the rest. Similarly, each seventh year is a Sabbatical, and after seven times seven years comes the Year of Jubilee. In Lev. 23, between a prologue and an epilogue, we note seven feasts listed, as follows:

 

– Passover (v. 5)

– Unleavened Bread (vv....

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