Lunar Calendar Meanings

Lunar calendar meanings

The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar and begins when the first sliver of moon shows up. The Biblical Feasts follow the agricultural seasons and an additional month must be added from time to time to fill the missing days.  In Biblical times, watchers would observe the sky and wait for the New moon. The Sanhedrin, being the High Court and comprised of 70 wise men, were then notified and a big chain of fire was lit up on the mountains to be seen by the Jewish people in exile in Babylon.

It was not until 358 A.D that Hillel II, made a calendar based on more accurate mathematic calculations. 

This day when the new moon starts is called: Rosh Chodesh, the head of the month.

The Biblical day starts with the evening, as mentioned in Bereshit (Genesis):

G-d called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. So there was evening, and there was morning, one day. Genesis 1:5  

The first month in the Bible starts with the Feast of Pesach:

 You are to begin your calendar with this month; it will be the first month of the year for you. Exodus 12:2  

At the time of the First temple, the New moon was celebrated with trumpet blasts and sacrifices. It was a day of rest. 

Nevertheless, the Jewish civil year starts at Rosh Hashanah, with the month of Tishri, the presumed date of anniversary of Creation, and the time where G-d's judgments are decided for the coming year. 

The names of the months originated from Babylon and were adopted after the return of exile from Babylon, at the time of Ezra. In the Bible, the months are named after their numeral order:

"ADONAI-Tzva'ot says, 'The fast days of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months are to become times of joy, gladness and cheer for the house of Y'hudah. Therefore love truth and peace.' Zechariah 8:19 

The number of years in the Jewish calendar is established from this believed date of Creation. We are in the year 5769, תשס''ט

The moon is also the symbol of Israel. Through its constant renewing, it depicts the Jewish people. Though small and often persecuted, Israel reappears always on the historical platform and will definitely shine at the messianic times.

"Who is this, shining forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun" --but formidable as an army marching under banners? Song of Solomon 6:10

Each month of the calendar is linked to a special and prophetic time where the Spirit of G-d moves in a particular way.    

Useful resources:

http://www.calj.net/calendrier/fr/news.html  French

http://www.rigal.freeserve.co.uk/jewish/customs/index.htm http://www.chelm.org/jewish/calendar/index.html

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