|Maggid ben Yoseif / Jerusalem Torah Voice in Exile|
17 TISHREI 5748 / September 28, 1988
revised & edited, yearly 1989-2007
Succot and Chanukah:
The Festivals of Joseph
The Holy Torah 'Christmas' Story
NOTE: The writings below are oriented toward NON-JEWS. Although they contain VERY controversial material, they are in no way intended to have ANY relevance to the faith of the Torah-observant Jewish community. These writings may greatly aid the understanding of the Orthodox Jews whose hearts are turned to their father Judah, for his brother Joseph, in helping them to better understand JOES and the JOEISH path back to Hashem and Torah. These writings will no doubt raise many questions for which we humbly submit that you may find answers elsewhere at our website. The addition this year is this simple challenge to ponder the significance of being born in a 'succah' on Simchat Torah. Last year's additions dealt mostly with the New Testament evidences that Y'shua was sent exclusively to the Assimilated House of Israel and not to the Torah-observant Jewish community. As with everything we write, please feel free to freely disseminate.
Maggid ben Yoseif
Succot and Chanukah: The Festivals of Joseph
The Holy Torah 'Christmas' Story
1. The mystical Chanukah
2. The Holy Torah 'Christmas' Story
3. The Simhat Torah birthday of Y'shua
4. How the Church has gotten it wrong
Succot and Chanukah:
The Festivals of Joseph
The 2007 version of A Holy Torah Christmas Story
Succot and Chanukah were intended as festivals for the nation of Israel but they might well be called the Festivals of Yoseif! Their mystical and prophetic dimensions offer NON-JEWS a most meaningful alternative to the pagan worship of December 25 and at the same time, make a convincing argument for a Torah-based re-interpretation of the Renewed Testament, the terms of which spell out a heretofore vastly misunderstood covenant applicable to JOES and whosoever will among the Gentiles.
In fact, the festivals of Succot and Chanukah, which commemorate the birth and conception respectively of Y'shua, give JOES the very foundation by which to understand the parabolic interpretations of this most misunderstood of books; misunderstood for 2,000 years because the interpreters have tried to take those Drashim (parables) and Sodim (mysteries) and Ramzuz (associations and links) LITERALLY.
1. The mystical Chanukah
'Nes Gadol Hayah Sham'
The Festival of Succot and Chanukah have traditional messages associated with the "tabernacling" of the nation of Israel after its Exodus from Egypt and the rededication of the Temple and the miraculous one-day supply of oil which burned for eight days. But the manger in which Y'shua was born was actually a succah. Chanukah, which occurs approximately 9 months and two weeks earlier, calls to mind the victory of the Hasmonean Maccabees over everything one would call Greek or Hellenist. And it alludes to a curious game called Dreidel, the sides of which contain four Hebrew letters (Nun-Gimel-Hey-SHin -- which allude to the Hebrew phrase, Nes Gadol Hayah SHam or a great miracle happened there). Curiously those letters have the gematria (numerical value) of 358, which is the same as the gematria for messiah.
Prophetically, Chanukah may also allude to the current intensification of the conflict between the children of Jacob and the children of Esau, in which the Return of the House of Joseph plays the decisive role in giving Israel its ultimate victory! At least the same two Torah portions and their corresponding Haftorahs read yearly in the synagogue during the two weeks containing Chanukah both pertain to Yosefs exile and reunion with his brothers and to the prophetic future of Ephraim and dire fate of the House of Esau that does not disengage from Judea-Samaria.
The three commands of Torah
Mystically, however, the festivals are SATURATED with Yosef, the three commands of Torah he kept in Egypt before the Torah was given at Sinai; the reminder of the forbidden sinew which empowered Esau and which Yosef removed in Egypt, the transformation of Josephites in Exile to Zionists and the tikkun (remedy) for their jealousy of their Jewish brothers.
It is no wonder that these festivals further clarify the unique path BACK to the Covenant at Sinai (which their Jewish brothers never left) and is exclusive to the House of Joseph still in exile. This is because a Torah-based re-interpretation of the New Testament reveals a TZADDIK, in the words of Jewish parlance, a living, walking, talking, breathing Torah so much so that he became the covenant to the people to whom he was sent. More on this below.
And the festive lights of Chanukah commemorate the CONCEPTION of this holy fire which stood at the right hand of Hashem beforehand (Deuteronomy 33:2) and which was evidenced in the life, ministry and message of Yshua (Jesus, Yehoshua or Yeshkah), which the non-understanding have misread as something and someone estranged from Torah.
Need to know the language, symbols
But before we re-tell the Christmas story in the language and symbols of Succot and Chanukah, we need to better understand that mystical language and those prophetic symbols and their relevance to the days in which we NOW live. Remember also that the language of mysticism is the highest level of Torah interpretation which can contain many secrets which may specifically pertain to the children of Tzafnat Paneah, the name YOSEF was given in Egypt which means the one to whom the hidden is revealed. And it is our contention that these secrets although revealed to us by Jewish mystics have little relevance to Jews and certainly none to their covenant and legal standing with Hashem.
Chanukah is spelled in Hebrew: Chet-Nun-Vav-Caf-Hey and the mystic sages split it into two words: Chet Nun Vav or CHANU (which means encamped) and Caf Hey which spells 25. So Chanukah is literally the 25th encampment. From the time the children of Israel were redeemed in Egypt until they settled in Eretz Yisrael they camped 42 times, 39 of those stops after leaving Egypt. The 25th stop in the Wilderness was named HASMONA, which curiously has the same Hebrew root as the name of the Hasmoneans who later opposed the Greeks when the festival of Chanukah was inaugurated. The Hasmoneans adopted this name because of the root letters Chet, Shin and Mem associated with CHADASH or the renewal of the moon each month, SHABBAT and MILAH, circumcision. These were three commands given to the children of Israel BEFORE they received the covenant at Sinai. In fact, if you read the Torah carefully you find that Shabbat was given as a TEST to see whether the children of Israel were ready to receive ALL of the Torah (Exodus 16:4-30) and they could not journey any farther into the wilderness until they passed that test. Similarly, many JOES are going NOWHERE until they also pass that test and voice and evidence their desire before Hashem to again embrace Shabbat and ALL of the everlasting commands of Torah.
Observances instituted by Yosef
The monthly renewal of the moon is specifically commanded of the children of Yosef in Psalm 81:7. According to Jewish tradition, Yosef also instituted the observance of the new moon, Shabbat and circumcision even among the mixed multitudes when he chimesh (equipped) the land of Egypt as Pharoahs overseer. Chimesh is also spelled chet, mem, shin in Genesis 41:34. But the point to emphasize is that when the Greeks opposed the Hasmoneans at the time the Temple was defiled, they sought to PROHIBIT these same three commands, the observance of the new moon, Shabbat and circumcision. It should therefore be no wonder that JOES today, contrary to their Goyish neighbors, are being led by the true Spirit of Hashem and are gravitating away from the Hellenist view that would discount these commands, and toward their restoration.
Chanukah begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, which suggests an early tradition associating it in the Christian camp with December 25. But the word, Kislev comes from the Hebrew root that means security as in the Hebrew verse declaring peace and security during which sudden destruction comes. This phrase has particularly significant meaning these days and COULD we dare not say WILL offer a time for the unfolding of this prophecy. Also, according to a mystical writing called Kedushath Levi, the 25th level of spirituality is the threshold at which lower beings are awakened in order to be able to fathom the reality of Hashem. This takes into consideration that the children of Israel in exile had sunk to the 49th of the 50 levels of impurity, the 50th being the point of no return. Those who embrace the observance of Chodesh, Shabbat and Milah may accelerate their ascent. These are called in the mystical writings, the three foundations of holy existence.
Chanukah veiled in the forbidden sinew
Talmudic scholars discovered the word CHANUKAH hidden in the phrase tvoach tevach uchachan or slaughter and prepare which has curious links to both Yosef and Esau. These are the words Yosef spoke to have food prepared for his brothers before he identified himself to them in Egypt. But since neither Yosef nor his brothers ate the forbidden sinew, this should have been a clue to them as to Yosefs identity, a clue which unfortunately his brothers missed. But the mitzvah of removing the forbidden sinew calls to mind Jacobs struggle with the guardian angel of Esau, in which Jacobs leg was twisted injuring his sciatic or pereoneal nerve. The removal of the forbidden sinew as it is called, therefore calls to mind the ongoing conflict between Jacob and Esau. This conflict, which started in the womb of their mother, Rebecca, is also called in the writings of the mystic sages, the birthpangs of the messiah (which are getting louder and more frequent on a daily basis these days). The sages further state that Jacob will finally get the ultimate victory over Esau through Yosefs remembrance. The mystic sages wrote that the righteous strength transmitted to the Children of Israel (who certainly include the children of Yosef), through the removal of the forbidden sinew enabled Mattathias and the rest of the Hasmoneans to rid the Temple of the Greek impurity. More to the point, the mystic sages refer to this righteous strength transmitted to the children of Israel specifically called the remnant of Joseph. If Chanukah was mystically hidden in the meal prepared for his brothers, which should have given them a clue to his identity, then the observance of Chanukah today by Joes may have a similar purpose. Certainly its observance allows Joes to become partakers of the same spirit of the Hasmoneans which is ironically called the remnant of Joseph," even though the Hasmoneans were a priestly sect.
The tzaddik's power to transform Hellenists into Zionists
Mystically it is the sons of Yavan (the Hellenist Greeks) who oppose the sons of Tzion (Zion) yet note the power of the Tzaddik (the righteous man, represented by the Hebrew letter Tzadey) to transform the heathen into Zionists! Greece (Yavan) is spelled in Hebrew Yod-Vav-Nun, but place a Tzadey in front of it and you have TZION, Tzadey-Yod-Vav-Nun. Yosef is the only of the sons of Jacob who was given the title Tzaddik because he overcame his evil inclination and was the harbringer of the indwelling 'Ruach Hakodesh' or Spirit of the Holy. The virtue of righteousness so heavily emphasized in many Jewish texts, including the Renewed Testament, is therefore the very foundation of the festival of Chanukah, again SATURATED with Yosef. It should not escape us that Josephs overcoming his evil inclination also has given his true descendants the power to transform the Greeks into Zionists.
Same gematria for Yosef and Zion
The gematria of Yosefs name is 156, which is the same as the gematria for Tzion. (Thus our personal campaign we have waged beginning in Jerusalem: Lo Tzion bli Yosef, or No Zion without Yosef.) But these Zionists must realize that an instrumental part of their return is linked to the tikkun or repair of the 3,000-year-old enmity and vexation between JOES and JEWS which resulted in the split of the kingdom into two rival houses, Civil War and alliances by the Northern Kingdom to destroy the Southern Kingdom. This is because the gematria for Yosef and Tzion is also the gematria for KANAH or jealousy.
Whom was jealous of whom?
I am reminded of a psychology class I was required to take back in undergraduate school in 1969 in which the professor asserted that we are actually mirrors for other people to reflect their character and we have the tendency to judge people according to our own judgment or the judgment we merit. The biblical narrative has suggested all along that Yosefs brothers were jealous of him, but if psychology works the way the psychologists claim, it was actually the other way around! How do we explain Yosef being jealous of his brothers? We can only explain it as a spiritual root that first entered into his mother Rachel AT THE BIRTH OF JUDAH, who was envious that Leah had given Jacob his fourth son and here, she was barren. (Portion Vayeitzei Genesis 30:1). The sages further wrote that spiritual traits, such as enmity and jealousy, are passed down through generations. When the son finally came to Rachel, the name given to Yosef, reflected Rachels jealousy for in it, she prayed to Hashem for ANOTHER son, as though the birth of Yosef was only a fleeting moment of joy! Possibly Rachel realized this when the name she first chose for Benjamin, as she died in giving birth to him, was Ben-Oni or son of my sorrow. But Hashem will have the last word in this mass production of sons for Abraham, through Ephraim, whose name means "doubly-fruitful." Yet the spiritual root of jealousy (or enmity if you want to call it that) REMAINS until it is uprooted in some form or fashion by Hashem. Perhaps the festival of Chanukah has some role in this but it certainly glosses over the problem for JOES merely to convert to the Jewish family and may in the long-run exacerbate it.
A light to the outcasts and forsaken
Rising from the psychologist couch, Chanukah is also the festival to which the outcasts and forsaken are attracted by the festive lights. This is one reason the Chanukiah with its candles or oil lamps are to nightly be placed in a window sill where they can be seen by passers-by. Unlike the Shabbat, which requires spiritual preparation (and which JOES are forbidden by Jewish halachah to observe in exactly the same way as JEWS), even souls which occupy the lowest rung on the spiritual ladder merit the blessings associated with Chanukah. This is indicated by the writings of the sages who state that oils and wicks unfit for Shabbat may be used in the Chanukiah. By sanctifying an 8-day period, even ordinary weekdays are endowed with light and holiness. As even the Christian gospels indicate this (when understood from a mystical view): The people that walked in darkness have seen great light. Darkness is mystically referred to as neglect of Torah, which was the very judgment of the Northern Kingdom who perished for lack of knowledge because they counted the Torah a strange thing. The Chanukiah then points and directs even the heathen toward the LIGHT of Torah, which we hope to clarify below.
Coming from the root CHANUK (which means teach especially as it applies to the very young) we find references in the Talmud to the light of Chanukah pertaining to the teaching of halachah or the Oral Law. (A five-volume work teaching the halachah to Israeli children, which is standard in the religious schools, is called the Sefer Chanuk.) The relationship between Chanukah and halachah also is evident because Chanukah is not a festival ordained in the Torah. It is strictly rabbinic or a mitzvah of the elders in its origin and practices. Yet it is the light of Chanukah which the sages wrote is destined to be revealed by the Messiah son of David, who will raise Israel to the level of perfect repentance, a level even higher than that of the righteous who have never sinned.
Halachah needed to complete Josephite faith
Here, we also find reinforcement for the idea that the Josephite faith REQUIRES the dimension of halachah in order to be complete. As Y'shua related this, it was not enough for his followers to be doers of the Torah. Their righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. They also must SHOMER or "guard" the Torah, a clear reference to the oral traditions of halachah, which serve to guard the commands of Torah. We also find once again that this puts the burden of formulating a framework for Joes to be returned and reunited on the shoulders of the framers of halachah.
Light of Chanukah and the soul
The Chanukah light and the oil which fuels it contain parallels to the different parts of mans soul. The word ner (lamp, candle) indicates the Nephesh (the lower level of the soul) while the letters of ha-shemen (the oil) permute to the word Neshamah (the highest level of the soul). The light itself comes from darkness as the sages write, Chanukah refers to the verse alluding to the messiah in Isaiah 9:1 The people that walked in darkness have seen great light. From out of the darkness springs light and the light shatters this very darkness. The sages go on to describe this darkness as the age, culture and assimilation of Greece, which has attempted to darken the eyes of Israel by obstructing the light of the holy Torah. The Hebrew words shachach (forget) and choshech (darkness) contain the same letters indicating the power of Satan (the guardian angel of Esau) to make Israel forget the Torah crept into the nation through the wound to the sinew in Jacobs leg. This is because the sinew is the gid ha-naseh. The naseh stems from the Hebrew nashiah which also means to forget. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsh also pointed out that the gid ha-naseh relates to nashim (women). So the major means Satan uses to manifest the evil inclination and cause men to forget Torah is in the form of lust for women.
Purity: A merit of the soul linked to remembrance
Acording to the Zohar, during the days of Greek rule many Jews were accused of not obeying the laws of circumcision. Shem MiShemuel explains that the sin mentioned by the Zohar was actually the marriage of Jewish men to non-Jewish women, for the sages wrote that a man who intermarries encourages and abets the continuance of non-circumcision. This assimilation is the sin Greece forced upon Israel causing many to forget the covenant of circumcision. The sages write that forsaking this covenant in turn causes a deterioration of the memory because zachar (memory) is from zach (purity). The word zachar in modern Hebrew is also the term for the masculine gender in Hebrew grammar. The sages further state that purity is a result of the merits of the soul, while darkness represents the world of material bodily pleasures and lusts of the flesh which cause a man to forget Hashem and forsake His mitzvoth.
The 36 lights
But the 36 lights kindled during the eight days of Chanukah (not including the Shamash or servant candle used to light the Chanukah candles) are so bright that they can cause us to awaken and remember the Hasmonean victory and the virtures for which they stood, Chodesh (the renewal of the moon), Shabbat and Milah (circumcision). This is because the 36 lights represent, according to the mystic sages, the entirety of the Torah. The word light occurs in the Torah 36 times. It is as though the Chanukiah is a manifestation or immaculate conception of the Torah itself in the form of these 36 lights! But the mystic sages stated that the 36 lights also represent the entirety of the Talmud which is comprised of 36 tractates. The name for each of the tractates (mishchat) is derived from masach which means covering or veil. This indicates that the tractates of the Oral Law act as a veil for the hidden light of the Torah, which Hashem expects his tzaddikim (righteous ones) to extract. This is the meaning of the verse, Light is sown for the righteous. This light is specifically intended to pierce the veil of Yavan (the Greeks). According to Sefath Emeth, the name Yavan comes from the word for deceit. Greek philosophy and culture has endeavored to deceive the Children of Israel and dull their minds with its impurity.
On Chanukah a special Torah portion is read which deals with the dedication of the Holy Tabernacle by the princes of Israel. Each prince brings 12 silver dishes, 12 silver bowls and 12 golden spoons or 36 vessels. This is an assurance by Hashem that in every generation there should be 36 righteous men upon whom the worlds existence depends. These light-bearers bring their light to the mitzvah of the Chanukiah candles, thus Chanukah becomes a time of intensification of the light of the righteous and the ideal time for Israel to wage spiritual warfare against her enemies, thus Chanukah serves as an introduction and preparation for the future redemption empowering Israel spiritually over the source of evil and impurity, for the corporeal enemies of Israel are personifications of the evil spiritual forces. True to the spirit of the songs sung, it is the time when a spiritual war is ignited growing in strength and momentum as we join with the lights of the tzaddikim.
8th Day and the ethereal world
The illumination of the Chanukiah, according to Rabbi Tzadok Hakohen, continues each Shabbat throughout the year, and because of this, he writes Chanukah is the initiator of the light present each Shabbat. Just as the laws and matters of Chanukah are explained in tractate Shabbat in the Gemara, the link between the two is evident because the holy light of Shabbat draws its strength from Chanukah, which taps and channels the spiritual currents of the ethereal world. This occurs in the same way a newborn male child experiences a Shabbat and the ethereal world of an 8th day before circumcision. Similarly Chanukah and Sukkot are 8-day festivals. In fact, the 8th day of Sukkot (Simchat Torah when the Torah actually comes to life in the synagogue as a living dance partner for the men who parade with him) and the 8th day of Chanukah are linked in the origin of the festival of lights, in that the Hellenist suppression of the festival of Sukkot diminished its joy until the victory of the Hasmoneans. Chanukah therefore is seen as the liberating force for the joy of Sukkot to be fulfilled or "joy to the world." It could be said that Sukkot therefore FOLLOWS, flows out of and originates in the hidden festival of Chanukah, an important concept as will be realized below.
With some hint of the cycles, patterns and rhythms associated with the symbols of Chanukah out of which Sukkot flows, we can now re-tell the Holy Torah Christmas Story.
2. The Holy Torah 'Christmas' Story
First, the story suggests NOT the birth, but the conception of Yshua during Chanukah, possibly the second day, since there was obviously no miracle associated with the first days supply of oil.
The Renewed Testament itself is the source for this crucial conception date, which redefines Yshuas ministry and message in a Torah context that can for the open-minded -- reconcile many of the differences between the Jewish and non-Jewish paths to Hashem. This is because, as will be explained below, the birth of Yshua nine months later, during the week of Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) and specifically on Simhat Torah (the last day of the feast) coincides with the one feast and the one week of the Hebrew year which commemorates the Shchinah (Glory of God) tabernacling among men and the Torah itself coming to life.
Nothing to do with Deity
But before one gets the idea that we are associating anything at all relating to DEITY with this concept, (which would make it idolatrous) we have it in the words of the highly respected, even revered Jewish tzaddik, Rabbi Nachman of Breslev:
If the Tzaddik displays exceptional spiritual powers, the mystery does not lie in some notion of intrinsic superiority. The spirituality he possesses IS THE SPIRITUALITY OF THE TORAH ITSELF!! for the Tzaddik is one who has brought his entire being so totally under the dominion of the Torah that his every thought is a Torah thought, every word he says is Torah, and every deed is for the sake of Torah. This explains why the Rabbis said, How foolish are the people who rise out of respect before a Sefer Torah (Torah scroll) but will not stand up in honor of a great man (Maccot 22b). For the Tzaddik is one whose every thought, word and deed is a MANIFESTATION OF TORAH. It is in this sense that the Tzaddik is the perfect exemplar of the COVENANT because the TORAH ITSELF IS THE COVENANT. The Tzaddik does more than merely conform to the letter of the Law. Even in what is permitted to him, he sanctifies himself to the ultimate degree. It is through his complete devotion to the highest ideals of Torah that the divine power of the Torah shines through him and gives him access to powers unattainable by those who have not reached a similar sanctity. (From Rabbi Nachmans Tikkun, Tikkun HaKlali, page 100, compiled and translated by Avraham Greenbaum, Breslov Research Institute, 1984)
The false gospel about Y'shua
In the thinking at least of the Breslev community, the concept of the Torah itself coming to life is perfectly is keeping with our contention that Yshua was a Tzaddik who embodied the Torah like no man before him and few, if any, after him. In this light, he does not HAVE to be the stumbling block he has been made out to be by Christian evangelicals who want to force him on the Jewish people. (See '05 Thesis: The Disputations) And just as the Palestinian people are perverting the holy soil of YESHA (Judea-Samaria and Gaza) with their lies, deceptions and false claims as the true heirs to Judea-Samaria, which have resulted in the deaths of Jews and shaped world opinion against Israel and ITS territories, so a false Gospel has been preached about YSHUA that has spread lies and deceptions and has resulted in the deaths of Jews and maligned him.
But this concept of the embodiment of the Torah if given a fair chance can help reunite the Orthodox Torah-observant Jewish community with the Assimilated non-Jewish descendants of the Northern Kingdom led by the House of Joseph: "Jews with Joes."
Rebbe Nachman's tikkun
Orthodox Jews will never reconcile with non-Jews who hold to the idolatrous beliefs in a second God in the person of Yshua or a unity of God as a tripartite person or a God made flesh, or even an intermediary between God and man. But they should be willing to concede the role of mediator to a Tzaddik who embodies the Holy Torah. Rabbi Nachmans Tikkun operates on this same principle; that he will personally intervene from the world to come for those who come to his grave in Uman, Ukraine, and grasp them by the payis (sidelocks worn by many Orthodox Jews) if necessary to keep them out of hell.
Yshuas mediation is unique because it involves BECOMING A COVENANT in accordance with Isaiah 49:8 ( and I will preserve thee and give thee for a COVENANT of the people) Sinai Tanach, page 816. While the Torah observant among Judah have no need for this covenant mediation themselves, if the Assimilated non-Jewish descendants of Israel could be persuaded that Y'shua's mission was limited in scope to the embodiment of the Torah initially and the internalization of the Torah in their maturity, there would be no need to perceive him to be the stumbling block to reuniting with Judah. (Regarding the limitations of this covenant and the context of its application, see The Four Cups of the Passover Seder
A non-idolatrous view of Y'shua
We submit in this writing that viewing Y'shua as such, the Word or Torah made flesh -- and not God made flesh, takes nothing away from Y'shua as he is described in the Renewed Testament and re-establishes a believable stream of continuity between the Torah, Tanach (Old Testament) and the more than 3,600 manuscripts from which the current English Renewed Testament texts have been edited. With a rudimentary understanding of the errors in redacting the text, it is also possible to show its complete conformity to the Torah and Tanach that preceded it. And such an understanding and acceptance of Y'shua takes gigantic strides toward bringing together the Jewish and non-Jewish faiths all gravitating around Torah.
The identity of Y'shua as the embodiment of Torah, his mission and message consistent with Torah and most importantly the MEDIATION of Torah are crucial to the acceptance by Orthodox Jews -- not of Y'shua -- but of those non-Jews who share in the heritage of Israel, who can be shown a non-idolatrous path to believe in him and his mission.
The fast of Gedaliah and petition to the Torah
In fact, during the liturgy of the fast of Gedaliah, observed on the third day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, the Orthodox Jewish community makes a direct petition to the Torah itself, the one time during the year when prayer is not addressed directly to Hashem but is mediated through the Torah.
This 32-verse prayer rather, is addressed entirely to the Torah. It begins:
Holy Torah, supplicate in petition before the Rock (Hashem) revered in His holiness. Pour out a mellifluous prayer, and mention the event at Mount Sinai, where they said, We will do and we will listen! to be able to approach.
Jewish prayer for the return of the House of Israel
The prayers relevance to finding and returning the lost sheep of the House of Israel, for which Yshua explicitly said he was Hashems shaliah or sent one is also addressed specifically in the 27th through 29th verses:
O (Holy Torah) seek out the lost and straying sheep! May he heal the sick, remove all illness, and repopulate Zion, the lauded city.
The fast of Gedaliah commemorates a moment in the history of the Jewish people, when they were completely undone and felt they were unable to approach on their own merit or in their own behalf. Gedaliah was the governor of Judah appointed by Babylonian rule who was assassinated by fellow Jews led by Ishmael ben Nethaniah at the instigation of Baalis, king of the Ammonites. The Ammonite king had convinced those involved in the plot that the assassination would instigate the overthrow of Babylonian rule. The plot misfired badly and resulted in the Jewish soldiers loyal to Gedaliah having to flee to Egypt (taking the prophet Jeremiah with them) concerned that the Babylonian rulers might consider them responsible for the murder of Gedaliah (II Kings 25:25-26; Jeremiah 41:1ff).
An untimely assassination
The assassination occurring during the 10 Days of Awe from Rosh Hashana (the beginning of the civil year) to Yom Kippur (the day of Atonement) was especially heinous as this is the 10-day period during which Hashem abandons His throne of Judgment for one of Mercy and expects the highest moral character of His people. Yet the death of a Jewish ruler at the hands of a fellow Jew and instigated by an Ammonite king, certainly was deserving of Judgment instead of Mercy. So the day of Gedaliahs murder is observed as a fast day and is called in the Bible, the fast of the seventh month or during Tishrei in the Levitical calendar. (See Zechariah 7:5 and 8:19) One can understand why the Jewish observers of the fast of Gedaliah would petition the Torah himself to plea for mercy to Hashem on their behalf.
The agency of God
The idea of a messianic redeemer garbed in the person of the Torah as the Agent of God, is also a concept that is not entirely alien to Jewish Orthodoxy. Halachah (the Jewish Law) of Agency allows the Agent to stand in the place of the One who sent him, as though he were that One; to represent His interests, speak His words and carry His authority.
The main point of the Jewish Law of Agency is expressed in the dictum, A persons agent is regarded as the person himself (Ned. 72b; Kidd 41b). Therefore any act committed by the principal, therefore bears full responsibility for it with consequent complete absence of liability on the part of the agent. A number of results stem from this basic premise. The agent must be of the same legal status and standing as his principal. The appointment of a minor, imbecile, or deaf mute as an agent is invalid, as is any appointment by them (Bava Kamma 6:4). Similarly, the death of the principal automatically voids the agency. Betrothal or divorce by proxy is effected by appointing the proxy as an agent. The agent is regarded as acting in his principals interest and not to his detriment, and in any dispute as to whether the agent exceeded the terms of his agency, this consideration is taken into account. The only exception to the plenipotentiary powers of the agent within the terms of his agency is the rule that One cannot be an agent for a transgression (Kidd. 42b); the law of agency applies only to legal acts, and a person committing a crime as the agent of a principal is held responsible for his act. (Volume 1, page 15, Encyclopedia Judaica).
What does all of this legal jumbo mean? By the Law of Agency, a shaliah, including a messiah would be reckoned as the same as God, but would not be God. Every action and word of the shaliah/messiah is the action and word of God and God alone bears total responsibility for these actions and words. Yshua, as Gods agent, had the same legal status as God in his dealings with man. Therefore, he is the lord (master) of the Shabbat and is exempt from certain strictures standing in the position and office of the Lawgiver, which is to say, God. Yshuas commandments, therefore are the same as Gods, which is to say, the Torah.
Since the agent and not He whom the agent represented experienced physical death, God is free to send others (shaliachim or apostles) to continue the work of agency and even to send Yshua again, should He so please.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away, (Matthew 24:35).
In other words, the agency has never been voided. Through the agency of Y'shua, Covenant has been established or re-established between God and those who formerly had no covenant, or had been removed from the covenant. While Yshua was not an agent in committing a crime or transgression against the Torah (since God is above the Law which He sends His shaliah/messiah to preach), his agency had the effect of reconciling the transgressions of those to whom He was sent by believing that the pardon offered by the agent was the pardon of God Himself, or believing as the Renewed Testament states this in me and the One who sent me.
Legal standing of the agent
The provision that the agent have the same legal standing as the one who sent him, requires a partnership of some kind. And it is consistent with both Jewish and later Christian mysticism that the Torah was with Hashem at the beginning of Creation. Since the Torah represents the very legal standing between Hashem and mankind, no greater example of equal legal standing could exist to satisfy this demand of agency than for Hashem to send His Torah in the person(s) of Tzaddikim.
Now, on to the Holy Torah 'Christmas (Chanukah to Succot) Story:
The Torat Chayim (Living Torah)
We can conclude from these Jewish concepts that a man later identified as the messiah born (or circumcized) on Simhat Torah would point his followers toward the Torah as the Torat Chayim (Living Torah).
And the Word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
Thus, while a messiah born (or circumcized) on Simhat Torah in the person of the Torah would certainly qualify as being divine in the literal sense of the word meaning of or from the vine, he would not be THE Deity. And any words spoken by him that might imply otherwise, refer rather to his function as an Agent of the True Vine, Hashem.
The most divisive of doctines
Non-Jews uninformed of these Torah precepts have for untold centuries debated this most divisive of doctrines, chosen friends and shunned enemies by it, and congregated around one side or the other of it. They should be willing to concede that a messiah clearly identified as the Word made flesh, is properly positioned as the mediator and reconcilor between man and God. But in the Spirit of unity with their Jewish brothers, at least the Josephites among the non-Jewish world should have the eyes to see only One God, who is the God of Israel.
In the final analysis, the trinitarian challenge to the Hebrew Shema (Here O Israel, Hashem your God, Hashem is One), and dozens of other Torah passages that clearly spell out the singularity of the Divine Creator, is even more of a stumbling block to unity with Jewish Orthodoxy than the messianic claims of Yshua, which we hold are not relevant at all to the Torah observant of Judah. This doctrine purporting Yshua to be DEITY must therefore be re-examined in the light of Torah revelation as a necessary step to begin the reconciliation between Judah and the assimilated non-Jews of Israel.
3. The Simhat Torah birthday of Y'shua
So we hereby present the case for a Simhat Torah birthday (or circumcision) and a Chanukah (around December 25) conception of A messiah, thus more literally fulfilling the inspired and revelatory purposes of those biblical celebrations: Simhat Torah commemorating the advent of the Torah, or as the Renewed Testament phrases this, the Word made flesh and Chanukah, a miraculous conception of an eight-day supply of oil to burn the lamps in the Temple menorah, when the supply should only have been sufficient for one day. Also, Chanukah commemorates the rededication of the Temple through the victory of Torah faith over Hellenism, a battle which is ongoing in the many non-Jewish assemblies today indoctrinated with unchallenged centuries of biblical interpretations based on Greek beliefs, thoughts, values and mindsets.
We begin our case with the evidence that the time span of 284 to 292 days from the second day of Chanukah to the first day of Sukkot and the last day of Sukkot respectively, is within the normal human gestation period or the period from conception to delivery. The first day of Sukkot is also a viable option for the birth of Yshua since the circumcision would have occurred on Simhat Torah and life is counted as beginning when a male Jewish child survives to the day of circumcision eight days after his birth, at which time he formally receives his name.
The courses of the priesthood
Now we will establish the date of Miriams (Marys) conception by marking the birth of Yohanan (John the Baptist), who preceded Yshua in birth by exactly six Hebrew months. In order to determine this date we must first determine the date of Zacharias angelic visitation. This is provided through our understanding of the cycle of duties of the priests in the Temple and through knowing the course of service under which Zacharias, the father of Yohanan ha-machvil (John the Baptist), served.
The Bible tells us clearly that Elisheva (Elizabeth, the mother of John) conceived immediately after Zacharias returned home from his priestly service. Luke 1:5 also states that Zacharias was a priest of the course of Abijah. 1 Chronicles 24 divides the priestly families into 24 groups or courses. 1 Chronicles 24:10 designates the eighth course as that of Abijah.
Each course had Temple duty two weeks out of the normal 50 week and four-day Hebrew year; one week in the first half of the year, another week in the last half. But since there are only 24 courses, this leaves two weeks and four days unaccounted for. These 18 days correspond to the 8-day Hebrew feasts of Passover, and Sukkot (Tabernacles), and the 2-day festival of Shavuot (Pentecost) when ALL of the priests would be assigned duty in the Temple to handle the abundance of sacrifices and other priestly duties necessitated by these mandatory pilgrimages by all of the men of Israel.
The conception of John the Baptist
Unlike the civil Hebrew calendar, (which begins in the early fall with the month of Tishrei,) the Levitical calendar (by which the priestly courses were reckoned) begins with the first day of Nisan in the spring. The first and second courses of priests would serve the first and second weeks. But the third week, beginning with 14 Nisan is the 7-day feast of Unleavened Bread and the week-long festival culminating in the 8th day of Passover. All of the priestly courses would have Temple duty this week because of the enormous number of sacrifices required (Deuteronomy 16:16). The fourth week would therefore be the duty of the third course of priests. This would offset the Temple duty for Zacharias and the other priests of the eighth course during the first half of the Levitical year so that it would occur during the ninth week of the year, instead of the eighth.
The ninth week begins on 27 Iyar, which marks Zacharias course of duty from 27 Iyar to the eve of Shavuot (Pentecost) on the fifth day of the month of Sivan. The 49 days preceding the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost), which the Hebrew people mark by counting the omer (and spiritually reflecting on the tares of pride which have mingled with their good deeds over the previous six months since their last Day of Atonement), begin on the evening of 15 Nisan or in the third week, which coincides with the week of Passover. The 50th day would fall on the sixth day of the month of Sivan or at the beginning of the 10th week reckoned by the Levitical calendar, which also marked the end of the priestly duties assigned to the course of Abijah. During the two-day festival of Shavuot, Zacharias would have been obligated to remain and serve in Jerusalem even though he was unable to speak during this time.
Zacharias would have returned home to his wife, Elisheva on 8 Sivan. So 8 Sivan becomes the earliest possible date for the conception of Yohanan by Elisheva. Assuming the long-held belief that the menstrual cycle usually coincided with the phases of the moon, with most women having their most fertile period during the first week of the new moon, (which also marks the beginning of Hebrew months), she could have conceived that very day (or night). Luke 1 indicates that the conception occurred soon after Yohanan returned from his priestly duties. Knowing the desire of a childless man for a son, most probably very soon after.
The conception of Y'shua
Assuming that Elisheva conceived on 8 Sivan, she would have hidden herself the five months of Sivan, Tammuz, Av, Elul, Tishrei and the first week of Cheshvan. So the angel, Gabriel would have been sent to Miriam in the sixth month of Elishevas pregnancy or during the latter part of Cheshvan or early part of the month of Kislev. We know that the conception took place sometime after the appearance of the angel from two accounts:
Virgin birth is irrelevant
(I am not intending to debate the idea of a virgin birth as it is totally irrelevant to the stature of a Tzaddik and it speaks more of Hashems greatness to raise up a Tzaddik from among the normal ranks of sinful man. Plus the title Son of God is not unique to Yshua evidence Hosea 1:10 (or 2:1 in some Bibles). Rather the point made -- whether or not the idea of a virgin birth is redacted into the text -- is that Miriam was not THEN pregnant when this angel appeared before her.) At the same time, the redeemer of Israel must be called the "son of God" if God's relationship to Israel is conditioned on the same laws Israel must follow. This is evidenced by the marriage of Judah and Tamar as we have explained elsewhere on this website.
Nevertheless, the most appropriate time and the most appropriate celebration for an unusual conception by Miriam would have been the second day of Chanukah, which commemorates a miracle of light (remember there was sufficient oil for the first day) and which is probably the day, if we can believe the redacted text on this account, that Miriam was herself overshadowed by the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit) and conceived.
Elisheva's third trimester
The evening of the 24th of Kislev marks the beginning of Chanukah, also called the Feast of Dedication. It would have occurred from the 164th to the 172nd days of Elishevas pregnancy or just as she was about to enter her third trimester.
Until God could send an angel to speak to Yosef about Miriams unusual conception, Miriam went to live with Elisheva and her husband Zacharias, probably to assist her elderly cousin with the demands of her pregnancy. It is possible, that since Zacharias was a Kohen (priest), he may have performed the ritual of having Miriam drink the water of the Sotah to verify that there was no immoral act connected with her conception, although this must be done in the Temple precincts, we have no record of it and this is speculation to a great extent. Again, I see no reason why a virgin birth is vital to the scenario and this may have been a further redaction of the text to make it palatable for the pagans-turned-Christian who had such beliefs about their deities.
The Passover birth of John and link to Elijah
At any rate, she remained with Elisheva for three months. It is 109 days or 15 and one-half weeks from Chanukah to the first day of Passover and 117 days or 16 and one-half weeks from Chanukah to the eighth day of Passover. Again assuming a conception on 8 Nisan, Elisheva would have been in her 273rd-280th day of pregnancy, during the week of Passover ... or in other words at full-term, especially for a child born from the womb of a mother of advanced years
Interestingly, the Jewish people to this day, set a place for Eliyahu (Elijah) during the Passover Seder meal ... and Yshua himself identified Yohanan as having the mantle of Eliyahu, (for those who could believe in reincarnated souls or that John the Baptist somehow came across the same camel-hair mantle worn earlier by Elijah). Passover would therefore be the most appropriate week for the birth of Eliyahu. The 8th day of Passover may have actually coincided with Yohanans circumcision .
Six months later
Exactly six months later, from Nisan 15 to Tishrei 15, the first day of Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) follows the Passover. If Miriam conceived on Kislev 24, the first day of Chanukah, Yshua would have been full-term (in a younger woman) around 285-293 days later or the 15th to 22nd of Tishrei. Again, since life is reckoned to begin after a male child is circumcized and the child is customarily not given a name unless it survives to be circumcized, either date qualifies as a birthday for Yshua.
The 22nd of Tishrei (8th day of the Feast of Sukkot) is Simhat Torah, which literally means the rejoicing of the Torah. On this day, the rabbis in the synagogues take the Torah scrolls out of their sacred places and dance with them around the synagogue and even in the surrounding streets as though the Torah had come to life. There is even a symbolic wedding and procession held between the Torah and a chosen member of the congregation.
Also during the Feast of Tabernacles, every male Israelite of bar mitzva age is required to come to Jerusalem and abide in tents or primitive lean-tos called Sukkot. The Hebrew word Sukkot describes stables or lodging places for animals as reflected in Genesis 33:17.
Dwelling in these booths seven days and nights out of every year, which were no better than shelter constructed for animals, served to remind the Hebrew people that these were their ancestors normal shelters for the 40 years they lived in the wilderness.
No room in the proverbial inn on Simhat Torah
Also, there would be no room at the proverbial inn on Simhat Torah because the pilgrims to Jerusalem would have vacated their Sukkot in favor of more accommodating lodging, especially if -- as the Renewed Testament says of the circumstances surrounding Yshuas birth -- they could not return to their homes immediately because they must register for the census imposed by Herod. This mass and mandatory visitation to Jerusalem during Sukkot was the most logical time for Herod to impose his census and tax, which could not be collected during the festival itself. It is important to note that the Chanukah season, which coincides with the traditional December 25th birthdate for Yshua, does not make such a demand for the sons of Israel to journey to Jerusalem.
Ruling out the second half of the Levitical year
Still, it is important to point out that Zacharias was engaged in his first course during the first half of the Levitical year rather than his second course. To ascertain this fact, we rely on the historical record of the death of King Herod and events shortly before his death. Matthew 2:7-8, 16 states that Herod inquired diligently of the wise men (magi). According to recent research, these magi were Parthian mystics who lived East and North of the Euphrates at the waning of the Persian empire. Parthia was a kingdom whose power rivaled Rome in the First Century. The royal class (from which Parthian kings were chosen by a combined vote of the magi and the royal class) were known as Kings of Kings, a popular appellation also attributed to Yshua, which attributes nothing about deity but everything about royalty and his pedigree being from the House of David. Apparently this custom carried over from earlier Persian rule. For instance, both Artaxerxes and Nebuchadnezzar, are referred to in Scripture by this title. (Ezra 7:12, Ezekiel 26:7 and Daniel 2:37).
The Parthian quest for a 'King of Kings'
The magi also believed that the Torah blessing of Jacob to Judah that the sceptre (of rule) should not depart from Judah (Genesis 49:10) meant that even the nations should be ruled by the royal line of Judah. This belief coupled by the appearance of the Star of Bethlehem convinced them that a true King of Kings selected by the hand of God, was to be found among the House of David within Judea.
As a king of the Jews Yshua was an early candidate for kingship in the Parthian empire, which had always remained friendly to Judah, and which many scholars -- including the first century historian, Josephus -- wrote comprised the vast hordes of the ASSIMILATED NORTHERN KINGDOM who had escaped Assyrian exile!! Later in his life and ministry, Yshua specifically defines (if not limits) his mission to these lost sheep of the House of Israel. (Matthew 10:6 and 15:24)
The death of King Herod
At any rate, Herod had inquired of these knowledgeable magi and must surely have known when Yshua was born as the shepherds informed of the event made the news widely known.
This would make it dangerous for Yosef and Miriam to bring Yshua to the Temple for his formal dedication 40 days after his birth UNLESS HEROD HAD DIED. Indeed an angel warned Yosef and Miriam to flee to Egypt until that time. The Jewish historian Josephus, who lived during the First Century, documents in detail the death of King Herod.
Herod's illness in the spring
Josephus relates that Herod became very ill immediately following an act of impiety against the priesthood, at which time an eclipse of the moon occurred. This eclipse, the only one mentioned by Josephus, happened March 13, 4 BCE, according to a footnote inserted in the text by the translator of Josephus' Complete Works, William Whiston. (Antiquities Book 17, Chapter 6, Paragraph 4). Herods death occurred about September, Whiston contends, based on the well-documented reign of Tiberius, which began on August 19 in the year 14 of the Common Era. As Josephus writes, Herod's brother Philip died in the 20th year of Tiberias (which would have had to also begin in the fall towards the end of 33 C.E. or beginning of 34 C.E. Since Philip ruled 37 years as tetrarch of Trachonitis and Gaulonitis and over the nation of the Bataneans, regions under Herod before his death, Philip's rule therefore had to fall to him in the fall of 4 BCE. (Antiquities Book 18, Chapter 4, Paragraph 6). This means that Herod was ill for several months following the eclipse in the spring before dying in the fall, according to Josephus record. The seven days of Sukkot fall in mid-September to October, according to the Julian calendar. This means that Herod, who first grew sick in the spring of 4 BCE, died AFTER the Feast of Tabernacles. It is possible that he died shortly AFTER Yosef and Miriam had fled with the infant, Yshua. But they returned ... after Herods death ... in time for his dedication in the Temple, when Yshua was 40 days old, around Kislev 12 or the day we now call Thanksgiving Day. Or, if there is merit to the astronomical observations of the "Christmas Star," in the year 7 BCE, it is possible that Y'shua was born between 7 BCE and 4 BCE. during the festival of Sukkot and Yosef and Miriam did not return from Egypt until after Herod's death.
The rectification of the judgments against the House of Israel
Regardless, during this presentation of the infant Yshua in the Temple, the prophecies of Simeon and Hanna were delivered to Yosef and Miriam. Those prophecies of Consolation from Isaiah 50:1052:11 coincide with the readings of the Prophets read in the synagogue during the ancient Triennial Cycle, during Kislev. (The best documented source for this ancient Torah reading cycle is Encyclopedia Judaica, which states that it was the practice in Eretz Yisrael and Egypt until the year 1170 C.E. The custom of reading the Torah through on a yearly basis today adopted universally, according to EJ, stems from Babylonian Jewery). As we have written elsewhere, these prophesies at Y'shua's infancy and earlier before his birth are the clearest evidence in the New Testament that Y'shua's mission would be to rectify the judgments of Hosea 1 in which God proclaimed the House of Israel to be Yizra'el (the seed He would scatter) lo-ruhamah (without mercy) and no longer His people (lo Ami). However, these judgments were not pronounced on the House of Judah as reflected in Hosea 1:7.
The beginning of Y'shua's ministry
We also have an indication that Y'shua's adult ministry began in the last week of Heshvan according to the Triennial Cycle when the Haftorah reading that Shabbat was the passage from Isaiah 61:1-2, which he stood to read in the synagogue in Nazareth.
The New Testament account in Luke 4:16-22 indicates he did not complete verse 2 and left out the phrase " and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn."
One messiah or two?
Immediately after reading this portion, Y'shua sat and the Jews present in the synagogue wondered "Is this the SON OF YOSEF?" (For more about this, request our cassette teaching on the MESSIAH SON OF YOSEF). The point we wish to make for now is that the Jews of the first century were divided over the question of whether there would be one or two messiahs.
The Scribes and some of the Pharisees took the position that there would be only one messiah -- the Messiah Son of David. Y'shua himself challenged this teaching. (Matthew 22:42-46; Mark 12:35-37 and Luke 20:41-44). But other Jews were looking for two messiahs. First would come the Messiah Son of Yosef, whose mission would include initiating the regathering of the exiles (alluded to in the consolation of Isaiah and the prophecies of Hosea). Then would come the Messiah Son of David. Naturally the Jews in the synagogue were wondering if Y'shua was the first of these two messiahs when he read to them the verses that capsulize the Consolation and avoided the phrase "day of vengeance of our God" which was associated with the Messiah son of David.
Targeting the prodigal son
The point we are making is that the co-incident readings bear closer scrutiny because they may define if not limit the ministry and message of Yshua AT HIS FIRST APPEARANCE as targeting the prodigal son, the assimilated northern kingdom -- the lost sheep of the House of Israel -- who required a renewal or restoration of their covenant. The House of Judah, which had returned from Babylon and rebuilt the Temple, represented the faithful son, the well who had no need of a physician, etc. of Yshuas parables, since their covenant with Hashem had never been abrogated. (Request our exposition of Hosea 1 and the Renewed Testament prophecies about Yshua before his birth and during his infancy, which verify this limitation of his first visitation as Agent of Hashem). Also, the very term New Testament in Hebrew (Brit Hadashah), literally means renewed, restored or repaired covenant (thus our usage, Renewed Testament,) implying its link to the covenant the House of Israel established at Mount Sinai but which was abrogated through the Northern Kingdoms transgression of Torah and Hashem removing His MERCY, again, with NO relevance whatsoever to the southern Kingdom of Judah. A key validation to Yshuas mission as it pertains to rectifying the judgments spoken by Hashem at the time the Northern kingdoms exile was first prophesied (See Hosea 1), would be the restoration of Hashems Covenant of Mercy ... also known as the Consolation of Israel ... to the scattered seed of Israel. If references about Yshua before his birth and at his infancy specifically address this mercy, then the mission of Messiah becomes linked more directly with the major theme of the Torah and Prophets, once Hashems judgments have run their course. For instance in the so-called magnificant of Miriam when she was greeted by Elizabeth:
Another is the instance when Simeon prophesied as he beheld the infant Yshua in the Temple when he was 40 days old.
Consolation: The major theme of the Prophets
We interrupt the narrative here to point out that the Consolation of Israel is THE major theme of the Prophets calling for the return of the Northern Kingdom (House of Israel), to be reunited with the Southern Kingdom (the House of Judah).
These words by Simeon paraphrase the two-pronged misson of messiah recorded in Isaiah 49:5-6:
The first last and the last first
As Yshua may have hinted, the first mission of restoring the exiled of Israel would be last, and the last mission becoming a light of salvation to the Gentiles would be first. This would be especially necessary if the Assimilation of the Northern Kingdom would be found within the Gentile nations. They would have to be returned to Hashem and the Torah before becoming restored to Israel.
The prophesied and necessary reconciliation between non-Jewish descendants of the assimilated northern kingdom and the Jewish descendants of the southern kingdom is the forerunner that will usher in the messiahs latter mission to restore and console the preserved of the House of Israel.
This ministry with the spirit and power of Elijah turns the hearts of the sons of Yosef to their father Yosef and gives them his (Yosefs) heart for his brother Judah. At the same time, the sons of Judah are having their hearts turned toward their father, Judah and his love for Yosef. In this manner, the never before reconciled enmity and vexation between the families of Yosef and Judah is about to be reconciled. And again, the Torah has the pre-eminent role in this reconciliation. In fact the rabbis say that all Torah revelation stems from the spirit of Elijah. This is also indicated by the words which preface the pronouncement in Malachi 4 that Elijah will return: Remember the Torah of my servant Moses.
4. How the Church has gotten it wrong
If the Bible is so clear that Yshuas birthday is really during the Feast of Tabernacles, how has the Christmas season gained such widespread acceptance? The answer to that question is beyond the scope of the discussion here, but is easily ascertained. We recommend, The Two Babylons, by Alexander Hislop, A& C. Black Ltd., England 1916. The influence of Babylonian mystery religion on traditional Christianity has also been widely disseminated at numerous web sites. Let me especially recommend the profound Stewarton Bible School studies by the late David Loughran of Scotland. http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/sbs777/index.html.
These materials and others like them, show how December 25, the winter solstice of the sun and the date observed by Romans of the first century to worship GAD, (the god of fortune) and MENI, (the fates) is in direct violation of Isaiah 65:11.
What need have ye to make Y'shua an idol?
When Yshuas mission and message and very identity is understood in its Torah context, these pagan celebrations are exposed for what they really are. Similarly, the Torah context of the Passover exposes Easter, and the nativity of St. John and the assumption of Mary as pagan celebrations of the Babylonian idols, Yule, Ishtar, Tammuz and Proserpine, (the mythological wife of Pluto, later known as the Madonna of Rome). We must not forget the Roman influence under which Christianity crystalized and the universal declaration of Constantine that "everyone in his kingdom was a Christian." The early Roman church, to accommodate Constantine's edict, permitted many elements of pagan doctrine to placate the masses. The belief in a virgin who would give birth to a god (the Semiramis legend) was just one of these beliefs. The other factual miscues in Matthew 1 and 2, where the "story is told" suggest at the best, well-intentioned but erroneous proof-texting (request our tape series on Errors in the New Testament), and at worst something more sinister. By no means can we submit that the Christmas story account has any degree of accuracy comparable to the Torah.
Rather, the challenge to the non-Jewish world is to return to the Torah of the God of Israel and declare as a true and repentant son of Ephraim, What have I to do any more with idols? (Hosea 14:8)
Maggid ben Yoseif
For the TRUE meaning of quote unquote Sukkot/Christmas ... according to our personal experience ... see the Story Behind the Story.