This is the working draft script for our new Parasha Welcome and Orientation video. It is still a work-in-progress, and we hope to re-write it completely (this coming week) before recording it, but we thought you might find these notes to provide a very interesting study into the Second Temple Period synagogue environment, because that is the kind of synagogue environment that is implied in Acts 15. We hope you will find this study as fascinating as we do, and that you will undersand why Nazarene Israel needs a Second Temple Period style synagogue service, in order to fulfill the requirements of Acts 15. If Yahweh wills, we hope to publish the video soon.
Parasha Welcome and Orientation.
Welcome to Nazarene Israel.
My name is Norman Willis.
And in this video, we want to welcome you, and help orient you to Nazarene Israel’s Second Temple Period Parasha (or Torah Portion) schedule.
And we want to explain why our Second Temple Period parasha schedule is DIFFERENT than the one the Orthodox and Messianic RABBIS use, and why those differences are so very important.
Stay with us for this important information that anyone who loves Yeshua (and who wants to please Him) needs to know.
If you are watching this video, you may be new to Nazarene Israel’s parasha system, or what is called the Torah Portion.
And when people are new to Nazarene Israel, sometimes they say that the change back to the original faith can be very disorienting.
People say it is like trying to take a sip of water from a firehose.
So we just want to take some time to orient you, and just talk about the things that we have learned about the Parasha system since 1999, in case anyone finds it helpful.
So please, take a moment to sit back, and let us orient you to the parasha system, as we understand it.
There is a lot of important information that you won’t get taught in any Christian church, or in any rabbinic (or Messianic) synagogue.
If you are coming out of Christianity, you may even wonder what a Parasha is, and where the traditions come from, and why it is so important to know.
Alternately, if you are coming to Nazarene Israel from rabbinic Judaism, you may know what the Parasha is, but the WAY Nazarene Israel conducts the parasha may be very different for you (because we follow Scripture, rather than rabbinic custom and tradition).
So, in this video we just want to talk about the way Yeshua and His disciples did things in the first century, in what is called the Second Temple Period, because the original Second Temple Period synagogue system was a better system.
The original design had more organic strength.
And what we have learned is that the Renewed Covenant (or the New Testament) assumes that we use this system.
This is the system that we need to be using (and not the newer rabbinical system), and
the Renewed Covenant commandments assume that we will use the Second Temple Period style, because it is the more organic style.
Now, regarding the Parasha, and its purpose in the Second Temple Period synagogue, we can try an analogy.
Sometimes Christians read the whole Bible in a year by chopping it up into daily pieces, so that they can read a few pages each day (and that is a very good practice that we recommend that everyone continue).
Similarly, what the parasha schedule is, is Judaism’s way of making sure that the people who come to the synagogues will hear at least the first five books of Moshe (or the Torah) at least once a year.
And the way that Judaism likes to do it, is that they break up the Torah into 54 sections of a few chapters each, just like chapters in a much bigger story.
Because the Torah is the world’s best story book.
And that is because it is an oracle.
It speaks of things that happened before time began for us, as well as things that will happen long after we and this world are gone.
And the more we read this book, the more it shows us who Elohim (or God) is, and what He wants from us.
And then it shows us how we can raise ourselves up spiritually from being these physical bags of dust that we are born in, to becoming spiritual beings who are eagerly refining ourselves, to become more pleasing to our spiritual Husband and King, Yeshua our Messiah.
(And as a side note, this may be one of the reasons our Jewish brothers get to be such fabulous storytellers, is that they are used to telling and retelling the stories of Scripture, because to them it is a living drama that centers about their nation, and their people.
And there are all sorts of life lessons to be taken from these stories.
And as Yahweh tells us, we can also know the end from the beginning, because Yahweh works in patterns.
(So, if you know the pattern that was established in the beginning, you know what patterns to expect when you study the prophecies, and the end times.)
So, it is a very useful and helpful method (although we do not believe that it replaces reading Scripture from cover to cover.)
The parasha (or parsha) of the week is called the Parasha HaShevua, or the “portion of the week.”
And each weekly section normally takes its name from a word or two in the first sentence of the parasha.
So, for example, Parasha B’reisheet (or Torah Portion Genesis) takes its name from the Hebrew word for “in the beginning”, which is “B’reisheet”.
So, Parasha B’reisheet means, “Parasha In the Beginning”, because that is how it begins.
But more than that, when our Jewish brethren say the name of the parasha (or parsha), they are not just talking about so many chapters and verses.
Rather, they are sharing the name of that chapter in the bigger overall history of Israel—and then they can talk about the important life lessons in that story.
So, just as worldly children might grow up sharing messages based on cartoons, and secular novels, and TV shows, Jewish and Israelite children have the advantage that they are sharing shorthand with each other about the life lessons associated with those parashiot.
(Don’t say “Parasha’s”, say, “Parashiot.”)
And stories are also a useful memory tool, too, because people have an easier time remembering stories.
And maybe that is another reason why Elohim tells us Israel’s history as a story.
Now, in addition to dividing up the Torah into weekly sections, the rabbis also created a matching set of supplemental readings from the Prophets, which is called the Haftarah portion.
However, the Haftarah portion is usually shorter.
On average it is usually only a chapter or two, but sometimes not even a whole chapter.
So, this makes for a very good argument for continuing to read the Scriptures from cover-to-cover at the same time as you are reading the Parashiot.
Because if all we know about the Prophets is what we hear in the Haftarah readings, we won’t know much about the message of the Prophets.
And if we let the Orthodox rabbis be the ones to pick what parts and pieces and snippets of the Prophets we should hear on Shabbat, then we are effectively letting them tell us how to believe, because we are letting them direct our focus, which can ultimately influence our view of Scripture.
And the thing is, that is strictly forbidden in Scripture.
For example, in Colossians chapter 2, verses 16 and 17, Shaliach Shaul (or the Apostle Paul) tells us not to let anyone else direct or instruct us as to how to observe a feast day, or a new moon day, or a Sabbath day.
And that is because all the things that we do on these days are a prophetic shadow pictures coming events.
And we need to interpret things the right way, or we will miss the message, and not know what we are supposed to do.
And that is why we should only let the body of Messiah tell us how to worship on these days, because only the body of Messiah knows how to interpret the times and the seasons.
And we have a study on that in the Torah Calendar study, and in Nazarene Israel.
Because if we know how to interpret the signs of the sky, but we don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times, then brother, we have got big problems, and we need to get them solved right now, to-day, while it is still called “today”.
Because the end times are closing in, and we need to be found doing the things that Yeshua says to be doing in these times, or we are going to find ourselves cast out into the outer darkness, because we knew what to do to help Yeshua build His kingdom, but we didn’t care enough, to do that.
So, Nazarene Israel really needs its own Parasha Schedule, especially because of the Haftarah, because it does not make much sense to let those who put Yeshua to death be the ones to tell us which snippets and pieces of the prophets are important, when we have a conflict over the person of Yeshua, and what kind of kingdom He wants.
Well, in Nazarene Israel, we have an intense interest in the prophecies, as we are finding ourselves waking up to our Israelite identities in the end times.
We have studied the prophecies intently for many years, so we can know what will happen in these end times.
And we have a different eschatology than brother Judah does.
We don’t share his interpretation of Scripture.
So, we need to reserve the right to emphasize different aspects of the prophecies, if it is necessary to help prepare the Ephraimites for safety during the coming persecution in the end times, and then our eventual victory.
Because we need to prepare for the victory also, because there is a big job for all of us to do, together.
So, we need to be able to change what prophecies are in our Haftarah section, as needed, because it is not appropriate to let the rabbis dictate to us what prophecies we should be emphasizing during the weekly Shabbat services.
Colossians chapter 2, verses 16 and 17 tells us that we cannot let anyone else tell us when or how to worship, because the way we worship has prophetic significance.
And if we are keeping the right rituals, good things will happen.
And if we are keeping the wrong rituals, bad things will happen to us.
So, we want the good things to happen to us, so we need to be sure to obey Elohim’s word to the letter, so that we can receive all of the blessings that He has for us, for doing things His way.
And for those who are not yet convinced, let us consider that Raphael Levi, who was a historian in the 1600s (back in the same century as King James), admitted that long ago, the rabbis used to read Isaiah 53 in the synagogues.
However, they had to give it up, because he said that the chapter caused “arguments and great confusion.”
So, the rabbis decided that the simplest thing would be simply to take the second half of Isaiah 52, and all of Isaiah 53 out of the Haftarah readings (because they speak of Yeshua).
That’s why in the rabbinical parasha schedule, Parasha Shophetim has a Haftarah reading that stops at Isaiah 52:12 (basically right in the middle of the chapter).
And then the next week’s parasha is Ki Tetze, and its Haftarah reading starts out in Isaiah chapter 54 and verse 1, having skipped the whole second half of Isaiah 52, and all of chapter 53 altogether.
And these are the people who are picking out the prophecies in the Haftarah portions?
(No thanks, we will pick our own.)
Now, in Messianic rabbinic synagogues they also have a weekly Brit Chadasha reading.
However, from what I have seen, these are usually not even a whole chapter.
Sometimes they are even only a few short verses.
Sometimes it is as short as one or two verses.
So, if all we ever read of the Brit Chadasha is what we get in the (One House) Messianic Jewish Brit Chadasha Readings, we won’t really know what Yeshua said.
And we won’t know what Yeshua wants us to do for Him, because, quite frankly, the One House Messianic Jews don’t really know (or they would not deny the Mystery of the Two Houses).
And to share a story, I was once told by a Messianic sister that she and her husband had been taking their children to a Messianic assembly.
And their children followed the Torah portions for a few years, and they learned all kinds of good things about the Levitical order, and the Torah, but they didn’t really know much about the prophecies, or even Yeshua, or Shaliach Shaul’s writings.
So how could they imitate Yeshua if they did not even know what He said?
Obviously, they couldn’t.
So, that is why we increased our Brit Chadasha readings to a full chapter or more.
But, still, a serious disciple also needs to read the Bible from cover to cover.
Well, so, what do we do?
We cannot just keep adding chapters to the Sabbath morning service, because most people have a finite attention span.
It does make sense to emphasize the Torah, because the Torah is Israel’s bridal covenant.
And the Torah came first.
And because the patterns in Torah repeat themselves, the Torah shows us the end from the beginning.
So, what to do?
Well, Ma’asei or Acts chapter 15 tells us that new believers need to go into the synagogues on Sabbath, to hear the Torah of Moshe being read, as it is read aloud in every city since ancient times (and we talk more about that in the Nazarene Israel study).
But this implies that there must be a Sabbath synagogue service for new converts to join, so that they can learn how to keep the Torah in a natural way, over time (as opposed to rabbinic procedure for gentile conversion).
But the only problem is, we are no longer welcome in Orthodox synagogues.
And in fact, one of the changes that the Orthodox (or the Pharisees) brought into the faith after the destruction of the Second Temple was that they formalized all the prayers, and fixed the words, so that everyone prays the same thing all the time.
The made it necessary to pray the Amidah prayer three times a day, and Article 12 of the Amidah is a curse over the Nazarene sect called the Birkhat HaMinim.
Now, the language has been softened over time, but the Talmud tells us that the Birkhat HaMinim was originally written at the end of the first century, after the Second Temple had been destroyed, as a curse over the believers in Yeshua, to keep them from coming to the synagogues.
And we have a study about the Birkhat HaMinim in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 3.
Now, the Chabad sect will graciously let us enter their synagogues, if we don’t mind saying a curse over ourselves three times a day, during the week.
And the reason they let us in is that secretly, their goal is to convert us.
So, because of all that, we can’t enter their synagogues, because they are not truly set apart.
So, as a result, we have no choice but to start our own synagogues.
And it is not easy for Ephraim to assemble in the Dispersion right now, because our numbers are still small, and we are scattered.
However, we can do our best to come together online, as we wait for Yahweh to increase our numbers to the point that we can form physical fellowships.
But if we need to establish our own synagogues, then, what kind of synagogues shall we establish?
We should establish the same kind of Second Temple Period synagogue services that existed in Yeshua’s day, because it is the one implied in Acts 15,
And as we will see, the Second Temple Period synagogue style is a better style of service than the one the rabbis went to.
Now, even though we are supposed to learn how to become more like Yeshua, the fact is that none of us will ever be Him.
He will always be much greater than we are.
And then in Matthew 23:8, Yeshua tells us that He is our one and only Rabbi and—so no one else should ever use that term, “rabbi” because it is not for us to use.
In Hebrew, the term Rav means great, and the term Ravi (or Rabbi) means, “My Great One!”, in the possessive.
And Yeshua is clear that He is the only One who should ever be called our “Great One”.
So, we leave the term “Rabbi” alone, unless we are referring to Yeshua.
And another term that we leave alone (unless we are referring to Yeshua), is the term “Teacher” (with a large T, so to speak).
Obviously, there are many human teachers (with a small “t”, so to speak).
For example, students have teachers in school.
But none of them should ever teach anything contrary to what Yeshua taught.
And if they teach contrary to Yeshua, then they are not worthy to teach.
Each one of us who wants to be taken as part of Yeshua’s bride needs to learn to emulate our Rabbi and Teacher in all things.
And we need to treat Him as our Example, such that we emulate Him, and not anyone else.
For example, when Shaliach Shaul tells us to imitate him, as he imitates Yeshua, we believe that what He means is, if you cannot imagine imitating Yeshua, imagine imitating him.
(But that does not apply to the rabbis.)
We see a parallel to all this in the ancient Hebrew wedding tradition.
In the Ancient Hebrew wedding tradition, after a bride is engaged to be married, she talks a lot with the Groom’s best friend, so she can find out what He likes.
That way, when the wedding takes place, she will already know what He likes, so she can please Him better.
Now, what that means is that we need to be talking with Yeshua’s Spirit daily, to find out what our Groom likes.
And if we will listen to His Spirit, and submit, and do all that His Spirit says, then His Spirit is always faithful to show us what He wants us to do.
But we can also study Yeshua’s example, to find out what He likes.
One thing we can see is that Yeshua loved to be involved in His Father’s word.
Luke 4:16 tells us that it was Yeshua’s custom to go into the synagogues on the Sabbath.
So, if we want to be taken as part of Yeshua’s bride, then our custom should also be to go into the synagogues on Sabbath, just as the Apostle Shaul made it his custom.
And we know that Yeshua was involved in His local synagogue, because He stood up to read from Isaiah, and they don’t let just you walk in off the street then and stand up to read (during the Torah service).
Getting called to stand up and read from the Law” is a big honor in Judaism, and they don’t just give it to anyone.
Rather, they only let those who are in good standing in the synagogue stand up to read.
So, clearly, Yeshua was active and respected in his synagogue, or they never would have invited Him to stand up and read.
So, then, what about us?
Do we like to be involved in our local synagogue service?
Now, in Judaism, if your family is all alone, without other families, you can do an in-home service.
However, an in-home service is not truly the ideal, because in Leviticus 23:3, Yahweh tells us to hold a set-apart assembly, or a “holy convocation”.
The term in Hebrew is a miqrah qodesh, and this word miqrah is Strong’s Hebrew Concordance Old Testament (or Hebrew) #4744, and it refers to a set-apart public meeting where something is read aloud.
So, in context, Yahweh tells us to have a set-apart public assembly for the purpose of hearing and obeying His words, every Sabbath.
And the synagogue fulfills that function.
Now, we don’t know exactly when the synagogue tradition got started, or how.
The Talmud talks about it, but we do not really trust the Talmud, because it has been edited, and not in a good way.
Further, the Talmud is a collection of the traditions and teachings of men, rather than the commandments of Yahweh Elohim—and the Talmud contradicts the Torah of Yahweh Elohim in many ways.
However, the story goes that Ezra and the men of the alleged Great Assembly (if there ever was truly a Great Assembly) decided that there should be a synagogue built in each city, so that the people could go there to learn to keep the Torah—and that that way, Israel would not go astray again.
But the problem is that even the Talmud records disagreement over this story, so we don’t really know whether it happened just exactly that way, or not.
And yet, historians and archaeologists do agree that the first synagogues began to be seen in Israel after the return from the Exile to Babylon, during the Second Temple Era.
So that seems consistent with the accounting in Talmud.
Now, during the Second Temple Period, the synagogues were originally organized as learning centers.
The people could come, and read Scripture, and learn, and discuss, and build friendships and community about Yahweh’s word.
But the ancient synagogue was really more like a modern-day yeshiva (or a Jewish seminary) than it was like a modern-day rabbinic synagogue, because anyone who was interested in the Scriptures could come, hear Yahweh’s words being spoken aloud in the public assembly, and then discuss things, and ask questions about how best to keep the Torah.
And one thing that made that easier was that the layout of the Second Temple Period synagogue was physically different, and it lead to a completely different style of fellowship and community among the people than the modern rabbinic synagogue offers.
Now, in the Second Temple Era, there was a big distinction made between the role of the synagogues, and the role of the temple.
The temple was a place of sacrifice, and offering, and music, and song, and praise and worship.
And in contrast, the synagogues were considered humble places of learning, study, and fellowship.
And the feeling in those days was to let the temple worship take place in the temple, and let the synagogues be the humble centers of learning and fellowship (much like a modern yeshiva).
They did not try to recreate the temple environment inside the synagogues, because the feeling was that it would be better to leave that in the temple.
However, once the Second Temple was destroyed, all of that changed.
Without a temple, there was no more place for the temple worship, and praise and worship, and there was no place for the musicians, or the singers.
So, historians and researchers believe that the reason behind all the changes the rabbis brought into the synagogue worship at that time, was so that there would still be a place of praise and worship.
However, in adapting the Temple worship to the synagogue, they changed the very nature of the synagogue service.
For example, the bimah (or the pulpit) was moved from the center of the room, to the
wall that was closest to Jerusalem.
And, when new synagogues were constructed, the building was laid out so that the people all faced toward the rabbi, who spoke to them from the direction of Jerusalem.
And we can understand the idea that the people should look toward Jerusalem, except that the rabbi and his speaking platform become elevated over time, if you know what I mean.
Likewise, before the rise of the rabbinical order, there were no siddurim, or no prayer books.
There were no benchers, and no mandatory rote prayers to be prayed three times a day (with full intention, of course).
In general, Second Temple Period Judaism did not favor rote prayers.
Rather, there was a feeling that prayers should always be said from the heart, or with what Judaism calls, “positive intention”.
And Yeshua also seemed to pray this way.
Yeshua always prayed from the heart.
We never read about Yeshua praying rote prayers from a book.
Prior to the destruction of the Second Temple, there was a prayer called the Amidah.
It did exist, and it seems to have been popular, but its form was not yet fixed, and it was not yet a rule in Judaism that you had to take 45 minutes three times each day to say a bunch of prayers by rote, including a curse over the Nazarenes.
You did not yet pray and sing everything from a book, as in rabbinic Judaism today.
Because of this, in Yeshua’s time, the words to the Amidah were not fixed.
The Amidah was more of a “framework for prayer”, so to speak.
The Amidah covered certain common areas of concern that the people could all pray together, but a good cantor was expected to be able to improvise the words of his prayers from the heart, on the fly, while yet following the general framework.
For example, in any assembly, you need to pray prayers for the sick, and prayers for those who have recently suffered a loss, etc.
But in Yeshua’s time, the cantor or worship leader was encouraged to pray from the heart (rather than from a book).
Now, all of that changed after the Second Temple was destroyed, and the rabbinical order began to rise to power.
And that is perhaps because the rabbis felt the need to adapt the temple worship to the synagogues.
And the rabbis have a penchant for standardization, and rote prayers, and rote songs, such that everything is either read out of a book or memorized.
And after the Second Temple was destroyed, the rabbis made it mandatory to say the same exact words from the exact same prayers three times a day, lasting for 45 minutes each time.
Saying the exact same prayers morning, noon, and evening is supposed to help us purify our hearts, and bring us closer to Elohim?
Well, Yeshua never had anything good to say about the rabbinical penchant for rote, repetitive prayer.
Yeshua even called those who pray vain repetitive prayers (and hope that they will be heard for their many words), “the heathen”, meaning it is not really His Father that they are serving.
All this matters to us, because we need to recreate the kind of synagogue service Yeshua and His disciples attended, in the first century.
As we explain in the Nazarene Israel study, in Acts chapter 10, the first true gentile was brought into the faith, which was Cornelius.
Then in Acts chapter 11, a lot of Hellenistic or Greek Jews (who are basically of the same spirit as the Reform or Reconstructionist Jews today) came to believe on Yeshua.
And then in Acts chapter 15, a group of Messianic rabbis called “the Pharisees Who Believed” tried to tell the new Hellenistic converts in Antioch that they could not be saved unless they were circumcised according to a rabbinic gentile conversion process called the “custom” of Moshe in Acts chapter 15 and verse 1.
Now the Church gets this confused, but the custom of Moshe is not the same thing as the Torah of Moshe.
The Torah is the Torah, but as we explain in Nazarene Israel, the “custom” of Moshe was the rabbinic Gentile Conversion Process, or what is today called the Giur Process.
And as we explain in Nazarene Israel, when the Messianic Jews came down from Jerusalem to Antioch, they tried to tell the new converts that they had to submit to the rabbinic Giur Process (called the Custom of Moshe), or they could not be saved.
So, basically, the Pharisees (or the Orthodox Jews) who claimed to believe on Yeshua tried to tell people what the rabbis always tell people, which is that you have to submit to rabbinic authority and approval, or you cannot be saved.
So, basically, obey rabbinic authority and tradition, or you are going to hell.
Well, in Acts chapter 15 and verse 2, Shaul and Bar Naba (or Barnabas) had no small dissension and dispute with them.
And so it was decided that they should go up to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, who had walked with Yeshua—and then they would decide, because that is how Judaism works.
It is called the Beit Din structure, and we have several studies on it in our series on set-apart community.
Now, as we explain in Nazarene Israel, Acts chapter 15 is a record of how the Messianic rabbis were wrong, and lost the argument.
The apostles ruled that we do NOT need to obey rabbinic custom and tradition, and that we do NOT need rabbinic approval in order to be saved.
We explain all of that in the Nazarene Israel study.
As we see in Nazarene Israel, what Shaliach Yaakov (or the Apostle James) ruled was that when you have new converts to the faith, if they abstain from four abominations that the Torah says will get you cut off from among the people, then they can come inside the Second Temple Era synagogue and join the study sessions, then they can learn the rest of the Torah over time, and help build Yeshua’s kingdom, which is what it means that we are to stand the Tabernacle of David back up.
And the Tabernacle of David is a symbol of Yeshua’s global kingdom.
The first thing we need to abstain from is idolatry (which is spiritual adultery). So, we can only worship Yahweh and Yeshua here.
And the second is sexual immorality (as defined by the Torah, and not men).
The third is no eating of strangled or unclean meats (and as we explain in the Nazarene Israel study, since the disciples kept Torah, the “meat” must be one of the clean meats listed in Leviticus 11.
It cannot be a pig, or a guinea pig, or a snake, or anything like that.
(And if you want more information, we discuss this in the Nazarene Israel study.)
Fourth is no violations of blood (and we could have a big discussion about this, but at a minimum, we are not to consume blood.
Further, married couples should have separate beds when the wife is in her monthly time of cleansing.
And beyond that, the fifth requirement is for the disciple to plug himself into the synagogue environment, and do what he can to help grow Yeshua’s ordered kingdom (because that is what Yeshua wants us all to work together, to accomplish for Him).
So as we explain in the Nazarene Israel study, what Acts 15:21 tells us that once new believers abstain from the four abominations that will get us cut off from Israel, then they can enter the synagogue, and learn the rest of the Torah over time by listening to the Torah Portion being read aloud each Shabbat.
That is why they call it “the Reading of the Law”, is so that the people can hear it, and then also discuss it with the people there.
And the reason we need the Second Temple Period style of synagogue worship (rather than the newer rabbinical style) is that the Second Temple Period prayers and singing were more from the heart, and even the layout of the room led to greater discussion and study of the word.
It was not just a bunch of people filing into a Roman amphitheater, hearing a paid performance, giving some money, and filing out.
Rather, it was an opportunity to develop real community, based on real interactions around the Torah.
And the rabbinical model is no different from the church model, in that respect.
It is very possible to pass your whole life in a church building, or in a synagogue, and take part in all of the activities, but never have a spiritual transformation, such that you put Yeshua truly first.
And the Second Temple Era synagogue lends itself much greater spiritual involvement with Elohim, because it is not so anonymous.
Rather it encourages involvement, and participation, and building more devout community.
It is not a place where the people go to be entertained, or even fed.
Rather, it is a place where people go to learn together who their Husband and His Father are, so that they can serve Him better, together.
And finally, we should mention that the rabbis start their Torah Portion count in the fall.
Now, without getting too involved, the Talmud teaches that there are actually four different calendars in the Torah.
The first one is the religious calendar, and they allegedly start it at Rosh HaShanah (or the Head of the Year)—except for some reason, the rabbis place Rosh HaShanah in the fall (after Sukkot).
And then they have a new year for Trees.
And then they have another new year for animals.
And then finally, they have a fourth new year, for kings (which is kind of like a tax year, for taxation).
And we can understand why kings would want to a tax year, but the Torah does not say this, and adding things to the Torah is strictly prohibited in places like Deuteronomy (or Devarim) 12:32, which tells us not to add anything to Yahweh’s word, and not to take anything away.
In other words, don’t change Yahweh’s words.
Just obey Yahweh’s words.
Do what He says, and no one gets hurt, kind of.
But, in Exodus 12:2, Yahweh says that the new year begins on the new moon day when the winter barley crop in Israel has reached a certain stage of ripeness called “aviv”. Aviv is basically the earliest the barley can be harvested, and still be turned into flour, and make viable seed.
This happens at the change of seasons from winter to summer, at the time of year that most people would call, “Spring.”
Only, Spring and Fall are not words in Scripture.
Scripture never uses these words.
Scripture only mentions two seasons in Israel: the summer growing season, and the winter.
But the point is that Yahweh says that our “first of months” (or Rosh HaShanah) takes place when the barley starts to come ripe (which in the land of Israel is at the end of winter, just before the summer growing season).
And if you have questions, please refer to our study on Establishing the Head of the Year.
So, Leviticus 23:3 does not say exactly how or when we are to hold our miqra qodesh, and hear and study His word together.
We could hypothetically start our Parasha Schedule in the fall ALSO, just like the rabbis do.
However, if we are supposed to consider that our first of months comes at the end of winter, when the winter barley is just starting to come ripe, then why not start our calendar count then?
And someone will ask, well, what if they want to start their Parasha readings at some other time?
Or what if they want to follow the Reform Jewish Torah Parasha schedule, which takes 3 years to complete, instead of the traditional one-year schedule?
And the answer is that Yeshua probably followed the one-year schedule, because at least as far as we know, that is the one they used in the first century.
And the Talmud also lets us know that in the first century, the Israelites started their calendar based on the ripening of the winter barley.
So, we believe that is what we should do also.
So if you believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of the Living Elohim, and you want to forswear idolatry, sexual immorality, strangled or unclean meats, and violations of blood,
And if you want to learn to keep the Torah just like Yeshua did, because you want to learn to walk even as He walked, then welcome home to Nazarene Israel, the faith once delivered to the saints.
If you have more questions, please refer to the Nazarene Israel study, and to our publication in progress, the Beit Knesset (or Synagogue) Leader’s Handbook.
Shalom, and welcome home to Nazarene Israel.