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Jewish Festivals RELIG 210: Lecture 13. Lecture Goals Provide a basic overview of the structure of Jewish holidays and festivals Discuss the historical.

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Presentation on theme: "Jewish Festivals RELIG 210: Lecture 13. Lecture Goals Provide a basic overview of the structure of Jewish holidays and festivals Discuss the historical."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jewish Festivals RELIG 210: Lecture 13

2 Lecture Goals Provide a basic overview of the structure of Jewish holidays and festivals Discuss the historical sources and religious significance of major festivals Illustrate key ritual objects and practices associate with festivals

3 Torah Reading Weekly cycle of reading Why make Torah part of the liturgy?

4 Shabbat and Jewish Time History vs. Memory Prayer, Ritual and Halakhah construct Jewish time Shabbat is most central time-marker Major theme: Recognizing Creation

5 Observing Shabbat Actions imbued with liturgical significance All acts of labor are prohibited –God rested, so should the Jews –Cannot bring anything into existence –Any action used in building Tent of Meeting is forbidden Creating distinctions in time Liturgy goes beyond communal prayer into daily life

6 Shabbat Rituals

7 The Jewish Calendar 29.5 Day Cycle 12 months of (29 or 30 Days) 354 Days in a year Leap Month Day begins at Sunset

8 Holidays and Ritual Occasions 1.Pilgrimage Festivals 2.New Year Cycle 3.Commemorative Celebrations and Fasts

9 Pilgrimage Festivals Origins of the Festivals –Agricultural holidays –Rabbis add layers –Tied to national/theological narrative –Temple sacrifice Ritual Reenactment Passover - Leave Egypt (8 Days) Shavuot - Receive Torah (2 Days) Sukkot - Enter the Promised Land (8 Days)

10 Pesah (Passover) Biblical Roots: Spring harvest festival Commemorates liberation from Egyptian slavery –“You shall observe the feast of unleavened bread, for on this very day I brought your ranks out of the land of Egypt; you shall observe this day throughout the ages as an institution for all time.” (Exodus 12: 17-18)

11 The Seder The Haggadah –Commanded to retell Exodus narrative –Ritual reenactment-Imagine personal deliverance from slavery Symbols –Matzah - Unleavened bread –Maror - Bitter herbs –Haroset- Sweet mix

12 Haroset Maror Roasted Bone- Paschal Lamb Roasted Egg- Festival Offering

13 The Passover Seder Meal

14 Shavuot (“Feast of Weeks”) Biblical Source: “You shall observe Shavuot, of first fruits of the wheat harvest.” (Exodus 34:21) Rabbinic Reading: Commemorates giving of Torah at Mt. Sinai Fewer home rituals than Passover or Sukkot –All night studying

15 Sukkot- Biblical Sources Biblical Source: Exodus: “the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in the result of your work from the field.” (Exodus 23:16) Leviticus:“You shall live in booths (sukkot) seven days…in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 23:40) Sukkah- Temporary structures for harvest

16 Sukkot-Rabbinic Significance Significance –Experience of wandering and exile –Liberation and God’s protection –Fragility vs. God’s presence Ritual –Commandment to be happy –Live in the Sukkah (temporary structure) –Four Species-lulav and etrog

17 19th Century German Sukkah

18 A Sukkah

19 “ On the first day you shall take the product of hadar trees (traditionally identified as the etrog /citron tree), branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days ” (Leviticus 23:40) Lulav and Etrog

20 Shemini Atzeret/Simhat Torah Eight Day of Assembly-last day of Sukkot Simhat Torah-Rejoicing in the Torah –Completion of the Torah reading cycle –Dancing and celebration

21 The New Year Cycle High Holidays or Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe) –Rosh Hashannah (New Year’s Day) –Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) –Sukkot (Tabernacles)

22 Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) “You shall observe complete rest, a sacred occasion commemorated with loud blasts.” (Leviticus 23:24) Anniversary of Creation-New Year Theme of repentance and self-examination Trial Metaphor –“May you be inscribed” –Tip the scales of divine judgment –10 day period until Yom Kippur

23 Yom Kippur-Biblical Origins “Mark the tenth day of the seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a sacred occasion for you; you shall practice self- denial, and you shall bring a gift to the lord…For it is a day of Atonement, on which expiation is made on your behalf before the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 23:27) High priest performs rite to expiate people’s sins

24 Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) Rabbis call it “Day of Judgment” –Climax of trial –God decides fate of individual and Israel –Excellent replacement for Temple –Clean slate every year Focus on spiritual concerns –Abstention from food, drink, luxury, sexual activity –Imagery of Death

25 Commemorative Celebrations Mythic narrative remains central in yearly calendar Commemorate great moments and tragedies through rituals

26 Chanukah (Dedication) No reference in Hebrew Bible Victory of Maccabees over Syrian domination in 135BCE Rededicate the Temple Miracle of jar of oil added in Talmud

27 Menorah Latke-Fried Potato Pancake Dreidel

28 Tu Bishvat Birthday of the Trees Mystical Significance Zionist Symbolism Environmental Holiday-Jewish Earth Day

29 Purim (Lots, Raffle) Book of Esther –Jews of Persia saved from destruction –Draws lots to determine day to kill Jews –Diaspora story –No mention of God Ritual –Read Scroll of Esther –Rowdy celebration

30 Commemorative Fasts 4 minor fast days –Daylight and full-day 3 connected to catastrophe of Temple’s destruction –Tisha B’Av-saddest day on the calendar

31 New Holidays Israel Independence Day Holocaust Memorial Day

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