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    Feasts & fasts – Emor

    One of the features of this week’s Torah portion is the series of feasts and festivals which punctuate the Jewish year, based on a calendar which is believed to date from Creation.

    There is another Jewish calendar based on the Book of Jubilees. This has 364 days and resembles a Dead Sea Scrolls calendar.

    The Jubilees calendar always has festivals on the same day of the week, unlike the regular Jewish calendar which has movable days of the week and uses various mechanisms to prevent, for example, Rosh HaShanah falling on Friday.

    The regular calendar is not fixed – Rosh Chodesh, for instance, depends on witnesses bringing testimony that they had seen the new moon. The witnesses were quizzed by the judiciary and in that way the dates of the festivals were dependent on the community.

    That’s why on a festival we say that God wishes the Jewish people to hallow the occasion.

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