The Hebrew year has 12 months (13 in a leap year). A Hebrew month starts when the first sliver of the new moon can be seen on the horizon just after sunset. The month of Shevat usually begins in January on the Gregorian calendar. It is the 11th month of the year. So we’re just about through the whole year at this point.
I want to set the context for this month by looking at the new year coming up on the Hebrew calendar, so we can see where we’re headed. (more…)
The month of Tevet is the tenth month on the Hebrew calendar and usually starts in December on the Gregorian calendar.
Similar to weather-related seasons, the Jewish Rabbis have created spiritual seasons that we cycle through during the 12 months on the Hebrew calendar. The Rabbis consider Tevet part of the “Season of Victory.” This season includes the last half of the month of Kislev, all of Tevet, plus the next two months – a total of 3.5 months (4.5 months during a leap year). (more…)
Hanukkah – It’s not one of Yehovah’s appointed holy days, not the Jewish Christmas, not even the biggest celebration on the Hebrew calendar. Sometimes referred to as the “Festival of Lights” or the “Feast of Dedication,” it is mentioned in the Bible as being observed in Yeshua’s day (John 10:22). It’s the celebration of a victory for the Jews recorded in the book of 1 Maccabees written in the latter part of the 2nd century BC. Some people would ask, “Why should Christians celebrate Hanukkah; why not just celebrate Christmas?”
An easy question, with a complex answer. Much has been written and taught on the origins of Christmas, so I won’t reiterate that here. What is included here are several things I’ve learned about Yehovah by observing Hanukkah. While it is optional, it certainly can be a wonderful focal point for meditation and revelation.
Hanukkah? Chanukah? And Why Does the Date Keep Changing?
Hanukkah…A Time of Re-Dedication
As Hanukkah’s Candles, We Light up the Darkness
As Hanukkah’s Candles, You are the Light of the World
Hanukkah Home Celebration Kit
In the Northern Hemisphere, the ninth and tenth months are the darkest of the year – the nights are longer than any other time. In the Southern Hemisphere, they are the lightest season of the year – the days are longer than any other time.
But the winter solstice always falls this time of year. The winter solstice is the day the light and dark begin to reverse. In the Northern hemisphere the days start getting longer; in the Southern hemisphere the nights start getting longer.
It’s a contrast of extremes – It gets darker and darker until, on one day, it stops, and begins to get lighter and lighter. On our Gregorian calendar that day is always December 21. (more…)
The weekly portion of Sh’lach L’cha, Numbers 13-15 is the account of the 12 men going into the Promised Land to reconnoiter it and come back to report to the people what it’s like. This is the point at which Yehovah decides that the Israelites are going to spend 40 years in the desert.
40 years! How old were you 40 years ago? It was the 1970s – What were you doing in 1970s? 40 years ago I was 11 years old. A lot has happened since then. What about ten years later in the 80s? I got my first career job. What were you doing in the 1990s and the turn of the century? Think about everything that’s gone on in just the last ten years.
40 years is almost half of our lifetime. It’s a long time. It seems like a harsh punishment. (more…)
Counting the Omer – most are familiar with the culmination of the count, which is Pentecost, also called the Festival of Weeks. “Weeks” is taken from the Hebrew word “shavuot” and refers to the seven weeks that precede Pentecost. Leviticus 23:15 tells us to count the weeks between the Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost:
“From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks.”
Michael Phelps started training at the age of 7, but his coach knew habits—not skills alone—would be the driver of his success. So, Phelps’s coach built a series of activities before every race designed to give him a sense of building victory. On the day of the race, he gets out of bed, eats certain things, does specific stretches and exercises, he thinks about certain things. By the time the race arrives, Phelps is already more than halfway through his unconscious habits and the pattern he lives by on a daily basis. That way, the race itself—and winning the race—is just another step in Phelps’s laundry list of things to do. He’s made winning a habit.
Wow – the mind is an amazing thing! But how do we transfer that to other parts of our lives? (more…)