Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Observing the re dedication of the altar

Our family, over the years have re defined the way we look at and observe Hanukkah.  After studying, we no longer use a 9 branch menorah, or decorate with dreidles and tell stories about olive oil lasting 8 days.  From what we have learned, the Macabbees modeled the observance on FOT hence the 8 days and that the heart of the observance is about the re dedication of the altar of the temple....the altar is where the sacrifices were made, inside the temple..i know that may seem redundant to mention, but it made a profound impression on us.  Last year, my dh and i went down to the river to collect stones and we built a "teaching" replica of the altar and used that as the centerpiece of our observance and study with the family. It made the week have a whole different feel to it than it had in the past.  When we studied, we incorporated verses like 1 Corinthians 6:19: What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of Yah, and ye are not your own? And 1 Corinthians 3:16: Know ye not that ye are the temple of Yah, and that the Spirit of Yah dwelleth in you?
Observing it with this theme in mind expanded our study of Hanukkah: (we use the HalleluYah scriptures, the Jerusalem Bible or the AOY scriptures)
A religious ceremony by which any person, place, or thing was devoted to a holy purpose. Thus the tabernacle and the first and second temples were dedicated to God, Exodus 40:1-38 1 Kings 8:1-66 Ezra 6:1 22. The Jews also practiced a certain dedication of walls, houses, etc., De 20:5 Nehemiah 12:27. The "feast of the dedication" was a yearly commemoration of the cleansing and rededication of the temple, when polluted by Antiochus Epiphanes, John 10:22.
And it brought to mind how polluted our worship of Yahweh had become before we kept the Feasts of Yahweh and instead kept the holidays that were just kept by our families by tradition.
So, i do not agree with those who say have nothing to do with this observance.  For our family it is a great study experience and we learn new things about dedicating our lives to Yahweh.  Sometimes it is informative to take a look at a subject with new light on it :)  Here are some other aspects we are looking at and studying.
ded'-i-kat, ded-ika'-shun (chanukkah, "initiation," "consecration"; qadhesh, "to be clean," "sanctify"; cherem, "a thing devoted (to God)"): Often used in Hebrew of the consecration of persons, but usually in the English Versions of the Bible of the setting apart of things to a sacred use, as of the altar (Numbers 7:10, 84, 88; compare Daniel 3:2, 3, "the dedication of the image"), of silver and gold (2 Samuel 8:11 2 Kings 12:4), of the Temple (1 Kings 8:63 Ezra 6:16; compare Exodus 29:44), of the wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12:27), of private dwellings (Deuteronomy 20:5). the Revised Version (British and American) substitutes "devoted" for "dedicated" in Ezekiel 44:29. See CONSECRATION;SANCTIFICATION.
ded-i-ka'-shun (ta egkainia, John 10:22): A feast held by the Jews throughout the country for eight days, commencing on the 25th Kiclev (December), in commemoration of the cleansing of the temple and dedication of the altar by Judas Maccabeus after their desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes (1 Maccabees 4:56, 59). The feast was to be kept "with mirth and gladness." 2 Maccabees 10:6, 7 says it was kept like the Feast of the Tabernacles, with the carrying of palm and other branches, and the singing of psalms. Josephus calls it "Lights," from the joy which accompanied it (Ant., XII, vii, 7). At this winter feast Jesus delivered in the temple the discourse recorded in John 10:24, at Jerusalem.

James Orr

Dedication, Feast of the
(John 10:22, 42), i.e., the feast of the renewing. It was instituted B.C. 164 to commemorate the purging of the temple after its pollution by Antiochus Epiphanes (B.C. 167), and the rebuilding of the altar after the Syrian invaders had been driven out by Judas Maccabaeus. It lasted for eight days, beginning on the 25th of the month Chisleu (December), which was often a period of heavy rains (Ezra 10:9, 13). It was an occasion of much rejoicing and festivity.
But there were other dedications of the temple. (1) That of Solomon's temple (1 Kings 8:2;2 Chronicles 5:3); (2) the dedication in the days of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 29); and (3) the dedication of the temple after the Captivity (Ezra 6:16).

Dedication (16 Occurrences)
John 10:22 It was the Feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem. (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Numbers 6:19 The priest shall take the boiled shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them on the hands of the Nazirite, after he has shaved the head of his separation; (See NIV)
Numbers 7:10 The princes gave offerings for the dedication of the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes gave their offerings before the altar. (WEB JPS ASV DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Numbers 7:11 Yahweh said to Moses, "They shall offer their offering, each prince on his day, for the dedication of the altar." (WEB JPS ASV DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Numbers 7:84 This was the dedication of the altar, on the day when it was anointed, by the princes of Israel: twelve silver platters, twelve silver bowls, twelve golden ladles; (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Numbers 7:88 and all the cattle for the sacrifice of peace offerings twenty-four bulls, the rams sixty, the male goats sixty, the male lambs a year old sixty. This was the dedicationof the altar, after it was anointed. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Chronicles 7:9 On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly: for they kept thededication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ezra 6:16 The children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ezra 6:17 They offered at the dedication of this house of God one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Nehemiah 12:27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with giving thanks, and with singing, with cymbals, stringed instruments, and with harps. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Psalms 29:11 Jehovah will give strength unto his people; Jehovah will bless his people with peace. Psalm 30 A Psalm; a Song at the Dedication of the House. 'A Psalm' of David. (ASV)
Psalms 30:1 A Psalm. A Song for the Dedication of the Temple. By David. I will extol you, Yahweh, for you have raised me up, and have not made my foes to rejoice over me. (WEB JPS DBY WBS YLT RSV NIV)
Proverbs 20:25 It is a snare to a man to make a rash dedication, then later to consider his vows. (WEB)
Daniel 3:2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the satraps, the deputies, and the governors, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV )
Daniel 3:3 Then the satraps, the deputies, and the governors, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together to the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

This is a site about altars in the bible that we haven't studied yet, but will the week of Hanukkah:

Psalm 30[a]
A psalm. A song. For the dedication of the temple.[b] Of David.
1 I will exalt you, Yahweh,    for you lifted me out of the depths    and did not let my enemies gloat over me.2Yahweh my Elohim, I called to you for help,    and you healed me.3 You, Yahweh, brought me up from the realm of the dead;    you spared me from going down to the pit.
4 Sing the praises of Yahweh, you his faithful people;    praise his holy name.5 For his anger lasts only a moment,    but his favor lasts a lifetime;weeping may stay for the night,    but rejoicing comes in the morning.
6 When I felt secure, I said,    “I will never be shaken.”7 Yahweh, when you favored me,    you made my royal mountain[c] stand firm;but when you hid your face,    I was dismayed.
8 To you, Yahweh, I called;    to YahwehI cried for mercy:9 “What is gained if I am silenced,    if I go down to the pit?Will the dust praise you?    Will it proclaim your faithfulness?10 Hear, Yahweh, and be merciful to me;    Yahweh, be my help.”
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.    Yahweh my Elohim, I will praise you forever.
  1. Psalm 30:1 In Hebrew texts 30:1-12 is numbered 30:2-13.
  2. Psalm 30:1 Title: Or palace
  3. Psalm 30:7 That is, Mount Zion
We keep the Abib, new moon calendar so we will be studying about Hanukkah from the night of Dec. 9th to Dec. 17th.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sukkot 2012

Monday night Oct. 1st started the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles- so today, Oct. 2nd is the first High Day.  We hope you are having a great Feast where ever you are!  The Last Great Day will be October 9th.
Have a blessed Feast and safe travels to all!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur: The Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is fast approaching. We are told to observe this high Sabbath on the tenth day of the seventh month. This year, it will be at sundown Wednesday, September 26 through sundown Thursday, September 27. “It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls.” (Lev 23:32).

Monday, September 17, 2012

Feast of Trumpets! New moon sighted in Israel!

Nehemia Gordon
3 minutes ago via Twitter
New moon sighted by multiple observers from Israel. Sighted from Mt Yoash at 6:54pm. (Sept. 17th, 2012)
Thus the 1st day of the 7th month starts tonight and runs til tomorrow night.  Praise Yah and we will be shouting His Name tomorrow and blowing the silver Trumpets and shofars!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Date of Yom Teruah and Other Feasts

Karaite Korner Newsletter #561

Date of Yom Teruah and Other Feasts

The Seventh Hebrew Month will begin next week with the feast of Yom Teruah, also known as the "Day of Shouting/ Trumpets." the exact timing of Yom Teruah will depend on the visibility of the new moon in the Land of Israel. Most years it is easy to predict this visibility using modern astronomical methods. This year these modern calculations are inconclusive and there is no way to know when the moon will be visible without going out and attempting to sight it. The question is whether the moon will be visible or not on Monday night September 17. If the moon is not sighted on Monday night, it will push all of the biblical feasts forward one day and Yom Teruah will not begin until sunset on Tuesday night September 18. This will also affect the timing of Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret. 

Because of the importance of this sighting, I will be traveling back to Israel with Keith Johnson in order to try to sight the moon. Keith and I will be traveling to southern Israel to a location that has very good weather in order to improve the likelihood of sighting the moon. I undertook a similar journey for the New Moon of Aviv on April 4, 2011. That night dozens of observers all over Israel failed to sight the moon due to clouds and it was only visible from southern Israel by another observer and me. 

In the past year, this observation point in southern Israel has been the target of a number of terrorist attacks by cross-border raids from Egypt. I've been in communication with the Israeli military liaison who said that sighting the moon from this spot is "very dangerous." She warned me that "our enemies loves to attack us on the feast days" and refused to guarantee our safety. Despite the significant danger, Keith & I will attempt to get to the spot and sight the moon. 

We have stepped out on faith, purchasing tickets to Israel with our own money. If the Biblical feasts and the new moon are important to you, please help support this effort by making a donation at:

To learn more about Yom Teruah, please see:

Nehemia Gordon
The Wandering Jew in Central Florida

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Moon

Aug. 19th 2012 New Moon sighted from Jerusalem at 7:19pm and Kefar Eldad at 7:30pm.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Moon

Karaite Korner Newsletter #559

New Moon Report
July 2012
Fifth Biblical Month
Part 2

On Saturday July 21, 2012, the new moon was sighted from Israel:
*from Kefar Eldad by Yoel Halevi at 7:37pm;
*from Jerusalem by Aryeh Levi at 7:37pm;
*from elsewhere in Jerusalem by Shiloh and Hinanit David at 7:39pm;
*from Poriya Illit by Deborah Boer at 7:45 followed by Tim Boer;
*from a third location in Jerusalem by Devorah Gordon at 7:49pm.

Yoel Halevi's photos of the new moon from Kefar Eldad are posted at:

Please support Yoel's efforts to bring these important photos from Israel by liking his Facebook page at:

Chodesh Sameach!
Happy New Moon!

Nehemia Gordon
Central Florida

Friday, July 20, 2012

5th New Moon: Information

Karaite Korner Newsletter #558

New Moon Report
July 2012
Fifth Biblical Month

I've just been on the phone for the last hour with observers in Israel and so far no one saw the new moon on Friday July 20, 2012. It was a difficult sighting and even under ideal conditions might not have been visible. Further reports might arrive after the Sabbath, but for now we have to wait until Saturday night for the beginning of the Hebrew month. 

This month highlights one of the challenges of dealing with difficult sightings of this nature. We may have a similar situation for the upcoming holiday of Yom Teruah (Day of Shouting/ Trumpets). There is a chance the moon will be sighted on Monday September 17, 2012, but by no means a certainty. With only 39 minutes of lagtime (the time from sunset until moonset) this will be a difficult sighting under the best of conditions. In principle, if the moon is not visible Monday night September 17, that means Yom Teruah won't begin until Tuesday night September 18. 

What complicates matters is that many of the observers will be celebrating Yom Teruah based on the traditional rabbinical timing. Those observers won't report their sightings until Tuesday night or later. We could end up with a situation that the moon is sighted Monday night, but we won't find out about it until twenty-four hours later. In the meantime, we have to decide when to observe Yom Teruah: on Monday night, on Tuesday night, or both. 

This might sound like a "glitch" in the system, but it's actually an inherent part of the system. No one knows for sure the day or the hour of the beginning of the Hebrew month until it happens and in some instances until a day after the fact! This is why rabbinical tradition teaches that every Yom Teruah (which they also call Rosh Hashannah) must be kept for two consecutive days. In ancient times, a negative sighting (non-sighting) of the moon could only be confirmed on the third day of the month because they had to wait for potential new moon witnesses to arrive from the north of the country (also the new moon court was not allowed to meet on a holiday). Every year they would observe Yom Teruah on two consecutive days, but then fix the dates of Yom Kippur and Sukkot based on the testimony of the witnesses. The modern rabbinical calendar fixes the beginning of Yom Teruah based on average lunar conjunction (no-moon) but still preserves the tradition of observing it on two consecutive days, a practice that obviously goes back to the time when they still sighted the moon with the naked eye. 

This Yom Teruah we may be in a situation very similar to what all ancient Jews had to deal with, not knowing when the Hebrew month began until after the holiday has passed. This makes the observations in Israel all the more important. Anyone following me on Facebook knows I'm getting married on August 4 and planning on spending the next year in the United States with my new bride (she's American). Because of the importance of Yom Teruah, I've decided to put my new life on hold and fly back to Israel to try and sight the new moon on September 17. I've invited Keith Johnson to join me as a second witness. Please participate in this holy mission with us by contributing towards the cost of our travel expenses by making a tax-deductible donation at:

You can also make a donation over the phone (or by check) by calling Deb at:

Nehemia Gordon
Longwood, Florida

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Holy Days Schedule

Shalom All!  We have had much good news this week, starting with Aviv Barley being found in Israel and ending with a few minutes ago being informed of the sighting of the new moon of the first month, in Jerusalem!  A Happy New Year to All! Following is the schedule we will be using to observe the Spring Feasts.  We invite anyone who would like, to join us.  As always, heads of household baptized members are encouraged to bring any study they would like to share, and anyone may bring any specials to share.
We will be hosting the taking of the memorial emblems on the evening of April 5th at our house in Newport, with dinner being served at 6:30 and the memorial emblems being taken at 8:00pm.  Please bring a basin and towel if you have them.  
We will be observing the Passover at our home at evening on April 6th at 7:30 onward.  
We will be out at Little Buffalo State Park on Sabbath April 7th from 2pm-4pm for the First High Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Please bring a kosher dish to share.  We will provide paper products. (We are hoping to be at the 2nd entrance, 1st parking lot, pavilion on the left once again, but since this falls on a Sabbath, the pavilion may already be rented.  We will be contacting them now that we know the schedule, to see where we can meet within the park.  We will send out an email confirming the location as soon as we know.)
We will be meeting out at Little Buffalo State Park at the second entrance, 1st parking lot, pavilion on the left, on Friday April 13th from 2pm- 4pm for the Last High Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Please bring a kosher dish to share, and we will provide the paper products.
We will also observe the Day of First Fruits on sunday April 8th and start the counting of the Omer.  If anyone would like to join us for that, please email us.
All Praises to Yahweh!  Wherever you spend the Spring Holy Days, have a safe, healthy, happy time!
Shalom,The Laverty Family 717-567-3386

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Moon not seen Tues. 24th in Jerusalem

Karaite Korner Newsletter #543

New Moon Report
January 2012
Eleventh Biblical Month

On Tuesday January 24, 2012 observers looked for the new moon from Jerusalem but the horizon was covered with heavy clouds and it was not sighted. The moon should have been easily visible had there been no clouds. 

Nehemia Gordon
Jerusalem, Israel

Monday, January 23, 2012

Services Feb. 18th Sabbath 2012

You are invited to services on Sabbath Feb. 18th 2012 at the Millerstown Community Center from 2-6pm.  Since we will not be meeting again until after Purim in March (Purim falls on sundown March 7th and we are meeting at the Grange on March 10th that month) we will be studying the book of Esther this month.  We are asking that everyone who would like to, please bring items to fill a basket with (for example, canned foods, crackers, hard candies, tooth brush, lap blanket, soap, gift cards to Giant or Weis, etc.) and we will have baskets avail to be filled.  Once filled, we will deliver to the Newport Sr. Citizens organization on Thurs. March 8th (sorry, Purim starts at sundown the 7th my bad :) with instructions to please hand out to widows/poor in the organization.  If you would like to make a card to go with it, that would be wonderful.  The baskets are just regular sized, so we will fit as much into each one as we can and make more if there are any items left over.  Please bring a kosher dish to share if you like, also.