The Israel365 Guide to Hebrew Months and Jewish Holidays
The Bible introduced a calendar with festivals and holidays occurring throughout the year, at God’s appointed times. This Hebrew or Jewish calendar is still in use in Israel today and operates according to the solar and lunar cycles, and is different from the secular, or Gregorian calendar, named after Pope Gregory.
A new movement marking the growing ways many Christians are moving closer to their Biblical roots is calling for Christians to switch from the Gregorian calendar to the Hebrew calendar.
Every secular date has a corresponding Hebrew date, and each Hebrew month of the year has special, spiritual qualities. For example, Purim falls out in the month of “Adar” and since the Jews were rescued in the Scroll of Esther in Adar, it is known as a very joyous month. Passover falls out in the month of “Nissan” and since it is the month of the exodus from Egypt, it still contains elements of redemption to this very day.
Jews count years from the creation of the world, and so the year 2021 corresponds to the Hebrew year 5781, and there are many Jewish teachings that attach deep and mysterious meaning to the year 6,000 when we anticipate that the Messiah (Moshiach in Hebrew) will arrive by that time. However, there are some in Israel today, who believe that there is an error in the Hebrew calendar calculations.
Israel365 has prepared a guide to the Hebrew months and Jewish holidays for you to have a deeper understanding of God’s timing.
The Bible clearly tells us that Shabbat (the Sabbath) is an eternal covenant and a sign between God and the Children of Israel, but today, many Christians are embracing the Biblical Sabbath to discover the Jewish roots of their Christian faith.
Rosh Chodesh / New Moon
Rabbi Tuly Weisz has explained how “Rosh Chodesh is a Holiday for Non Jews” according to Isaiah 66.
Rosh Hashana/New Year
In the Torah, Rosh Hashana is called Yom Teruah (The Day of the Shofar blast), as well as Yom HaZikaron (The Day of Remembrance). It is a day of judgment and the sound of the shofar is meant to arouse our souls to repent. The holiday is marked with prayer, shofar blasts, and festive meals, which often include symbolic foods such as pomegranates, whose many seeds are meant to symbolize the many good deeds we hope to have, as well as apples and honey, symbolizing the sweet year we pray for.
Fast of Gedaliah (Tishrei 3**) – Commemorates the assassination of Gedaliah, the governor of Judah in 582 BCE, as recounted in II Kings 25
Yom Kippur/The Day of Atonement
On the holiest day of the year, in 1973, Israel’s Arab neighbors invaded the Jewish State, but God protected His people in a miraculous victory known as the Yom Kippur War. In our generation, non-Jews are embracing the Day of Atonement and there are at least 15 reasons why Christians fast on Yom Kippur.
According to the prophet Zachariah, in the end times, on the Feast of Tabernacles non Jews will flock to Jerusalem to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot with the Jewish people, a miracle that is occuring in our own generation! Rabbi Tuly Weisz explains the significance of the Sukkot holiday to non Jews in this video.
Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah/Eight day of Assembly and Rejoicing of the Torah (Tishrei 22*) – While the Torah only mentions celebrating the day with special sacrifices, this holiday has become a celebration of the Torah, as the yearly cycle of Torah reading concludes and begins again on Simchat Torah.
(Kislev 25 – Tevet 2)
The holiday is observed by lighting an eight-branched Chanukah menorah each night. On the first night one candle is lit. A candle is added each night, culminating in 8 candles being lit on the last night. It is customary to give gifts during Hanukkah.
Fast of Asara B’Tevet (Tevet 10) – Commemorates the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. Occasionally, the fast of Tevet has fallen out on Christmas Day which Rabbi Tuly Weisz has explained the significance of in an article, “When Christians are celebrating, Jews are mourning and fasting.”
Tu B’Shvat (Shevat 15)
In many parts of the world, at this time of year, the trees look completely lifeless, barren of any leaves at all. The grass has also turned from a green shade into a light brown. In Israel, however, this time of year is cold but beautiful. During the winter season, the water level in Israel peaks and the grass and trees are green and full of life.
Fast of Esther (Adar 13) – This one-day fast immediately precedes the holiday of Purim and commemorates the three-day fast called by Esther in the Scroll of Esther. When the 13th of Adar falls on a Shabbat, the fast is moved to the previous Thursday.
(Adar 14 or Adar 15 in Jerusalem)
Many non Jews are embracing the holiday of Purim and pastors are encouraging Christian Zionists to “joyfully celebrate the happiness of Purim” together with the Jews.
Pesach / Passover
Yom HaShoah / Holocaust Memorial Day
Yom HaZikaron/Israel’s Memorial Day
Yom Ha’atzmaut / Israel’s Independence Day
Yom Yerushalayim/Jerusalem Day
The month of Tamuz commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem.
Fast of Tammuz (Tammuz 17**) – Commemorates the breach of the walls of Jerusalem on the 17th of Tammuz and begins a three-week mourning period over the fall of Jerusalem.
According to Jewish tradition, Tisha B’av, the saddest day of the Jewish calendar and a fast day commemorating the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, will be transformed into a joyous feast day in the Messianic era. Once again, in today’s generation, many Christians are embracing the day and fasting on the 9th of Av which according to Rabbi Tuly Weisz is a sign of prophecy unfolding.
* Outside of Israel, these holidays are celebrated for an additional day.
** Because fasting on Shabbat is prohibited (with the exception of Yom Kippur) when this fast falls on a Saturday it is postponed to Sunday
*** In order to avoid desecration of Shabbat, these days are often commemorated a day before or after the official date
Note: The Jewish day begins at sundown the previous day. Thus, candle lighting for the start of Shabbat and Holidays takes place the evening before.