relig 210 lecture 5 january 26 2009 n.
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Jewish Festivals

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  1. RELIG 210: Lecture 5 January 26, 2009 Jewish Festivals

  2. Name two Jewish Holidays and write one sentence about a concept/theme each celebrates/commemorates What are the “39 Categories of Forbidden Work?” Quiz

  3. 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 Lecture Goals

  4. “The catechism of the Jew consists of his calendar.” Sampson Raphael Hirsch

  5. Building Sacred Time Jewish memory Ritual Structure/Advance Preparation Shared themes

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

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

  8. Genesis 2:2-3 Exodus 20:8 39 Categories of Forbidden Work Shabbat Sources

  9. 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 Observing Shabbat

  10. Shabbat Rituals

  11. 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

  12. Pilgrimage Festivals • New Year Cycle • Commemorative Celebrations and Fasts Holidays and Ritual Occasions

  13. 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) Pilgrimage Festivals

  14. 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) Pesah (Passover)

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

  16. Roasted Egg-Festival Offering Roasted Bone-Paschal Lamb Haroset Maror

  17. The Passover Seder Meal

  18. 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 Shavuot (“Feast of Weeks”)

  19. 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 Sukkot- Biblical Sources

  20. 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 Sukkot-Rabbinic Significance

  21. 19th Century German Sukkah

  22. A Sukkah

  23. Lulav and Etrog “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)

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

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

  26. “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 Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)

  27. “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 • A Note about sin in Judaism (“falling short of the mark”) Yom Kippur-Biblical Origins

  28. 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 Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)

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

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

  31. Menorah Latke-Fried Potato Pancake Dreidel

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

  33. 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 Purim (Lots, Raffle)

  34. 4 minor fast days • Daylight and full-day • 3 connected to catastrophe of Temple’s destruction • Tisha B’Av-saddest day on the calendar Commemorative Fasts

  35. Israel Independence Day Holocaust Memorial Day New Holidays