Dolores Jones

Shavuot: The Feast of Weeks

Shavuot, the final festival in the  spring cycle that began with Passover, is the holiday that celebrates the first harvest, the ripening of the first fruits, and most importantly, the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people on Mt. Sinai. In the Bible, Shavuot is called by various other names: Feast of Weeks, Pentecost and Feast of the Giving of the Law. This year, the festival begins on the evening of May 14th, 5773. It is one of the Lord’s Moedim or appointed times. …

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Chag HaMatzot, Chag HaBikkurim, & Shemirat HaOmer

The Festival of Unleavened Bread - Chag ha’Matzot

matzaMatzah is a central symbol of Passover. The first matzah is eaten at the Seder and is the staple ‘bread’ during the next seven days, when no leavened products are eaten, in accord with Exodus 13:3-8, “Remember this day, in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage, for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place; no leavened bread shall be eaten. This day you are to go forth, in the month of Aviv. And when the Lord brings you into the land …which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the Lord. Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; …and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory.” …

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Time of our Freedom – Zman Cheruteinu

HaggadahEngPassover is, as it were, the “firstborn” of the biblical festivals. God set it in place when He proclaimed at the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt: “You shall therefore keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year” (Exodus 13:10). As a first, Passover also sets a precedent for the purpose of the mo’edim, the set times of the Festival Cycle. Arnold Eisen describes this basic purpose well in saying that they are a remembrance that we are between redemptions.  “We are commanded to recall the past, in order to remember the present – to see it clearly, to know it fully, in all its possibilities – in the light of our future full redemption.” These appointments with God offer unique opportunities that enable us to look back on God’s mighty deeds, to live in His light in the present, and to look forward in faith.  Together with remembrance, rebirth and hope are also key elements of Passover. It is always celebrated in the spring when fresh new life is bursting forth after the gray confines of the winter.  Passover offers the possibility and hope of renewal, of growth and positive change. …

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Passover Preparation

Preparation is a significant and integral part of every biblical holiday. The planning during the week prior to each Sabbath usually culminates on Friday in a bustle of cleaning, last minute shopping, food preparation and welcoming guests. Then the candles are lit and the peace of Shabbat is ushered in like a radiant, beautiful Queen. Without some advance planning and preparation this would not be possible. The same principle applies to the Shabbatot, the set-apart days, of the annual Festival Cycle.

Preparations for the annual festival of Pesach, or Passover, begin at least a month before the holiday, with a planned schedule of thorough housecleaning – the model for “spring-cleaning”! Invitations are given or received for the Seder meal, which is prepared for in fine detail.  You can find great information and “how to’s” as to what constitutes “chametz” which needs to be removed from your home and this process at

Cleanse out the old leaven (chametz) that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Messiah, our Paschal Lamb, has been sacrificed.  (1 Corinthians 5:7). …

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The Festival of Purim …Eat and Rejoice!

This month we celebrate the festival of Purim, a traditional festival that comes to us from the biblical account of the story of Esther - the Queen who saved her people from the hand of a murderous enemy. You may have heard the old, humorous 'quip' about Jewish festivals as regards their history, "They tried to kill us. We won. Let's eat!" It is humorous but with a dark edge. Time after time, and again in the story of Esther, God miraculously delivers His people from the hands of almost certain death. The Hebrew word 'Purim' means 'lots'. According to the story, Haman cast lots to determine the day upon which to exterminate the Jews. …

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