When I was a Christian, we were taught that Sunday was the Lord’s day. There were set religious holy days that followed a calendar, such as Easter and Christmas, Then our faith changed as I researched the origins of much of what is in Christianity. We no longer kept the fertility feast of Ishtar , nor the birth of Mithras in December. We adopted different holy days, based on the Hebrew text, the Tanak. We began keeping Shabbath from Friday evening until sundown on Saturday, Pesach / Passover, Chag HaMatstsoth / Feast of Unleavened Bread, Chag Shabuoth / Feast of Weeks also called Pentecost, Yom Teruah / Day of Trumpet Blasts, Yom HaKippuriym / Day of Atonements and Sukkoth / Feast of Tents. But what if you were shown that much of what you had been following or practicing was of pagan origin and assimilation, no differently than Easter and Christmas, or the meaning and names of certain days had been altered? What if keeping a calendar, fixed days of worship was actually contrary to YHWH? What if what was required of us was a wee bit different than what has been handed down through Judaism, Christianity and Islam? Would you be willing to weed through hundreds and thousands of years of doctrine to find the truth? If not, dont even bother reading further, you will only get angry. Actually, I got angry when I found out the truth, having followed hand me down lies for so long.
The following is an introduction to my journey of observation, which began many years ago in researching the Hebrew feasts and culminated when I began the Stumbling Block section, studying idolatry. I previously had a section of my site called Moediym – Appointments, until I learned of the origin of the word moed. That became another study for the Observe section of this site. Due to the origins I could not in good conscience relate the title of a section dealing with the shabbath, feasts, etc., to moed. I also had learned the origins of some of the “appointed” times that Judaism deemed law. I could no longer accept the traditions of men in dealing with the relationship of YHWH, especially since they had idolatrous origins. I will not follow a “law” of men, no matter how established, just “because”.
Just to let y’all know, I did not go out of my way looking for any of this. I was comfortable believing that I was doing what was required of me, taught my children to follow these holy days and wrote of it on my site. While I can correct what I am now observing and that of my children, I am horrified that I had this on my site for so many years and may not be able to reach those people with this information. In my ignorance, I contributed to the continuation of the traditions of men. I apologize that while researching, I did not follow where I was being led sooner. For me though, the truth of YHWH is far more important than tradition and acceptance of men and where He leads. I am willing to follow on this narrow path. If I had the courage to research the different teachings of Christianity, to abandon those that were of men, then it is just as necessary to apply that to the teachings of Judaism. So in dealing with the Tanak / Hebrew Bible, we need to acknowledge the fact that it is a work of primarily later Jewish editors. The tribe of Yahudah does not comprise the whole house of YHWH, nor does it have all the truth. With this in mind, we need to take nothing at face value, but test all things and seek the will of YHWH, the Creator.
Shamar xny – to observe, keep, heed, watch over and guard.
Most translators translate the Hebrew word shamar as keep, especially when it applies to the thorah / law. Other times it is translated as watch, as in watchers or watchmen. But I believe that a better rendering of the word shamar is observe. Observe involves watching, keeping and guarding. While this is just semantics to some, it is my preference for what I believe to be a wee bit better rendering, especially in the many applications that occur in the thorah of YHWH. Shamar / observe is not just visual, it also involves an action of what is observed. Observe is also not just a one time deal, but involves repetition of what is being observed, whether you are dealing with the thorah of YHWH or siting the first light of the new moon to determine the months and shabbaths. By the way, shabbaths is an odd word. Shabbath is the Hebrew singular. The plural is shabbatoth. Since most would be confused by the Hebrew plural rendering, I have chosen the more widely accepted use of simply adding an s on the end of shabbath to indicate a plural form. While this goes against my grain borging two languages in one word, I feel that it is necessary for the ease of those that do not know Hebrew.
The first verse that the word shamar occurs in is dealing with Adam and the garden. This verse is a great example of observe, because it not only entails our “watching” and “guarding”, but also “keeping”, showing the necessary action involved and continued observance. Bereshiyth [Genesis] , “and YHWH elohiym took the man and put him in the garden of eden to work it and to observe [shamar] it.” As you can see, this use of observation does not involve just looking at something, it involves an action, a prolonged, involved action of maintenance. YHWH did not just want Adam to see the plants growing and do nothing about it. Watching a plant die does not make you a good steward. This verse shows that what YHWH provided needs to be worked to bear fruit, fruit that will house, feed, nourish and clothe us. The Thorah of YHWH teaches us in all aspects of our life, not just the spiritual that so many focus on, but the physical. If we do not observe the heavens, the land, our bodies and our souls, what is the point of the relationship with YHWH?
Observing Thorah and Beriyth [Covenant] In General
The following verses show a general application of observance to the Thorah [Teachings] of YHWH and the beriyth [covenant] that is established between ourselves and YHWH. These passages do not cover all the instances that it is used, but are merely to show a cross section. Please note that there is an effect from the observing of the thorah and beriyth of YHWH. And observation is not just the learning of a teaching, but the application to your own being – again the action. Nothing with YHWH is pointless. A teaching is only as good as the application in your life, in your relationship with YHWH.
Bereshiyth 17:9,10, “elohiym said further to abraham, now as for you, you will observe [shamar] my beriyth, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 this is my beriyth, which you will observe [shamar], between me and you and your descendants after you, every male among you will be circumcised.”
HaDebariym [Deuteronomy] 4:5-9, “see, i have taught you rules and ordinances, as YHWH my elohey has commanded me, to do them, in the midst of the land where you are going in, to possess it, 6 and you will observe and do them, for it will be your wisdom and your understanding before the eyes of the peoples who hear all these rules. and they will say, this great goy [nation] is a people wise and understanding. 7 for who is a great goy [nation] whose elohiym is coming near to them, as YHWH your elohey is, in all our calling on him? 8 and who is a great goy [nation] whose rules and judgments are as righteous as all this thorah which i set before you today? 9 only, observe for yourself and observe your being carefully, that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen; and that they not depart from your heart all the days of your life. and you will make them known to your sons, and to your sons' sons. ”
YeshaYahu 26:2-4, “open the gates, and the righteous goy [nation] will come in, observing [shamar] faithfulness. 3 you will keep in perfect shalom the mind stayed on you, for he trusts in you. 4 trust in YHWH forever, for in Yah YHWH is everlasting strength.”
YeshaYahu 56:1-6, “so says YHWH, observe [shamar] justice and do righteousness, for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. 2 blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; observing [shamar] shabbath, from defiling it; and observing his hand from doing every evil. 3 and do not let the son of the foreigner speak, he who joins / attaches [lewiy] himself to YHWH, saying, separating YHWH separates me from his people; and not do let the eunuch say, look, i am a dried tree. 4 for so says YHWH to the eunuchs who observes [shamar] my shabbaths and chooses things i am pleased with, and takes hold of my beriyth [covenant]. 5 i, even i will give to them in my beyth [house] and in my walls a hand and a name better than sons and than daughters; i will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off. 6 and the sons of the alien who join / attach [lewiy] themselves on YHWH to serve him, and to love the name YHWH, to be his servants, everyone who keeps from defiling the shabbath, and takes hold of my beriyth, ”
Mishley [Proverbs] 2:7-20, “he lays up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to the ones who walk in integrity, 8 to guard the paths of judgment, and he observes the way of his chasiyd [faithful ones]. 9 then you will understand righteousness and judgment and honesty, and every good path. 10 when wisdom enters into your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your being, 11 discretion will observe [shamar] you, understanding will watch over you, 12 to deliver you from the evil way, from the man who speaks perverse things, 13 those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, 14 who rejoice to do evil, they delight in the perversities of the wicked, 15 whose paths are crooked, who are devious in their tracks; 16 these will deliver you from the strange woman, from the foreigner who flatters with her words, 17 who forsakes the guide of her youth and forgets the beriyth [covenant] of her elohey. 18 for her beyth [house] leads down to moth [god of death], and her tracks to the refaiym [dead, hero/king ancestors that were worshipped as gods]. 19 all going in to her do not return, nor do they reach the ways of life. 20 then you may walk in the ways of the good and observe [shamar] the ways of the righteous.”
Mishley 4:4, “and he taught me and said to me, let your heart cling to my words; observe [shamar] my commands and live.”
Not Observing Thorah and Beriyth
As with any aspect of this walk with YHWH, if you neglect His teachings, you lose the benefits, the blessings that are conditional with this beriyth. Seeing, but not observing is a spiritual blindness. Not observing the thorah of YHWH is likened to idolatry. Not observing takes you from the path of YHWH, away from life. It is safe to say that if you do not observe the thorah and beriyth of YHWH, you have no relationship with Him.
YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 42: 18-21, “deaf ones, hear. and blind ones, look to see. 19 who is blind but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger whom i send? who is blind as he who is at shalom, and blind as YHWH's servant? 20 you see many things, but do not observe [shamar]; your ears are open, but not any hears. 21 YHWH is delighted for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the thorah and make it honorable. ”
YirmeYahu 16:10-13, “and it will be, when you declare to this people all these words, they will say to you, why has YHWH spoken all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity, or what our sin that we have committed against YHWH our elohey? 11 then you will say to them, because your fathers have forsaken me, says YHWH, and have walked after other elohiym, and have served them, and have worshiped them, and have forsaken me, and have not observed [shamar] my thorath. 12 and you have done more evil than your fathers. for, look, you each one walk after the stubbornness of his evil heart, without listening to me. 13 and i will cast you out of this land into a land that you do not know, you nor your fathers. and there you will serve other elohiym day and night, where i will not grant you favor.”
Malakiy [Malachi] 3:7a, “from the days of your fathers, you have turned aside from my rules and have not observed [shamar] them. return to me, and i will return to you, says YHWH tsebaoth.”
Observing Specifics of Shabbath and Harvests
The following verses show the observance to specific teachings of YHWH, dealing with Shabbath and the three original feasts in the Tanak. Later these four observances were grouped with other days, by the priesthood, under the heading of the moediym, generally translated as appointments. It was implied by the editors of the book of Wayyiqra [Leviticus] that the moediym were appointments with YHWH, which included Shabbath and the three original feasts: Unleavened Bread, Harvest of Firstfruits and the Ingathering, but also added the New Moon, and the days of Passover, Trumpet Blasts and Atonements. Also, two of the agriculture feasts were changed in name and association to Shabuoth – Feast of Weeks and Sukkoth - Feast of Tents. The full studies for Shabbath and the three feasts are their own studies and are included in the Observe section, as well as the research showing the origins of Pesach and Yom HaKiffuriym.
Shemoth 31:13-17, " '13 but as for you, speak to the sons of yisrael, saying, "you will surely observe my shabbaths; for a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that i am YHWH who sets you apart. 14 therefore you are to observe the shabbath, for it is set apart to you. everyone who defiles it will surely be put to death; for whoever does any work (melakah) on it, that person will be cut off from among his people. 15 for six days work (melakah) may be done, but on the seventh day there is a shabbath of complete rest, set apart to YHWH; whoever does any work (melakah) on the shabbath day will surely be put to death. 16 so the sons of yisrael will observe [shamar] the shabbath, to celebrate the shabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual beriyth [covenant]. 17 it is a sign between me and the sons of yisrael forever; for in six days YHWH made the heavens and earth, but on the seventh day he ceased, and was refreshed.' "
YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 56:2,4,6, " ' blessed is the man who does this, and the son of a man who lays hold on it; observing [shamar] shabbath, from defiling it; and observing [shamar] his hand from doing every evil.”
Shemoth 20:8-11, " ' remember the shabbath day, to observe [shamar] it qadesh. 9 six days you will labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a shabbath of YHWH your elohey; in it you will not do any work (melakah), you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your ger who stays with you. 11 for in six days YHWH made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore YHWH blessed the shabbath day and made it qadesheh (set apart).' "
Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 20:12-24, "and i also gave them my shabbaths to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that i am YHWH who sets them apart. 13 but the beyth yisrael rebelled against me in the wilderness. they did not walk in my rules, and they despised my judgments, which if a man does them he will even live by them. and they greatly defiled my shabbaths. then i said, i will pour out my fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them. 14 but i worked for the sake of my name, that it should not be defiled in the eyes of the goyim, before whom i brought them out, in their eyes. 15 and i also lifted up my hand to them in the wilderness, that i would not bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey which i had given; it is the honor to all the lands, 16 because they despised my judgments, and they did not walk in my rules, and they defiled my shabbaths; for their heart went after their idols. 17 and my eye spared them, from destroying them, and i did not make an end of them in the wilderness. 18 but i said to their sons in the wilderness, do not walk in the rules of your fathers and do not observe [shamar] their judgments, and do not defile yourselves with their idols. 19 i am YHWH your elohey, walk in my rules, and observe [shamar] my judgments, and do them. 20 and set apart my shabbaths, and they will be a sign between me and you, that you may know that i am YHWH your elohey. 21 but the sons rebelled against me. they did not walk in my rules, and they did not observe [shamar] my judgments, to do them, which if a man does them, he will live by them. they defiled my shabbaths. then i said i would pour out my fury on them, to fulfill my anger against them in the wilderness. 22 but i withdrew my hand and acted the sake of my name, that it should not be defiled in the eyes of the goyim, from whom i brought them out in their eyes. 23 and i lifted up my hand to them in the wilderness, to scatter them among the goyim and sow them among the lands, 24 because they had not done my judgments and had despised my rules and had defiled my shabbaths. and their eyes were after the idols of their fathers."
Three Original Feasts
Shemoth [Exodus] 23:14-17, “three times you will hold a feast [chag] to me, in the year. 15 chag hamatstsoth [feast of the unleavened bread] you will observe [shamar]; seven days you will eat matstsoth, as i commanded you, at the appointed time, the month abib, for in it you came out from mitsrayim [egypt] and none will appear before me empty. 16 and chag haqatsiyr bikkurey [feast of the harvest of first fruits] of your work that you sow in the field; and chag haasif [feast of the ingathering] on the going out of the year, at your gathering of your work from the field. 17 three times in a year, all your males will appear, before the face of the adon YHWH.”
YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 5:24, “and they do not say in their heart, let us now fear YHWH our elohey who gives both the former and the latter rain in its season; he observes [shamar] for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.”
Now some of you might wonder how observance comes into play,
since there is a calendar, which directs what to practice at which times. Ah,
but is a calendar of YHWH? No. This is why the observance is so important. A
calendar was instituted, at the time of Hillel II,
also known as Hillel the Nasi,
about 358 or 359 CE. This was a mathematically calculated calendar, which
replaced one of observation. This was “necessary” since so many Jews had been
dispersed far from
This was not the first calculated calendar though. Others had to have existed because of a verse in YeshaYahu [Isaiah]. I found this one while working on the Perpetual Idolatry study, translating a passage. YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 66:1-6, “so says YHWH, the heavens are my throne, and the earth the stool of my feet. where then is the beyth that you build for me? and where then is the place of my rest? 2 and all these my hand has made and all these things exist, says YHWH. and to this one i will regard/look on, to the needy and injured of breath, and trembling at my word. 3 ritually slaughtering the bull is as striking a man; sacrificing the lamb is as breaking the neck of a dog; offering the grain/ meal offering is as blood of swine; recording/ remembering the moon is as blessing vanity/evil, also they have chosen their way and in their abominations their being delights. 4 i also will choose/assay/examine in their mischievous deeds and their terror i will bring to them because i called and no one cohabited/marital rights; i spoke and they did not observe, but they did evil in my eyes and that which i did not delight, they chose. 5 observe the word of YHWH, those who tremble at his word. your brothers have said, hating you, banishing you for the sake of my name, YHWH is honored. but he will appear in your joy and they will be ashamed. 6 a roaring voice from the city, a voice from the heykal [temple/palace], the voice of YHWH completing recompense to his enemy.”
The YeshaYahu passage is instrumental in showing that the religious system that man has set up is evil in the eyes of YHWH. Here we see that YHWH mocks them about the beyth they have built, as if it could contain the Creator, who made everything. He says that the heavens are His throne and the earth is His footstool. What is that tiny beyth that they have built in Yerushalim, to house Him, in comparison? Nothing.
He then goes on to compare their religious practices in that temple to those of the idolatrous nations: the slaughtering of the bull is the same as striking and killing a man; the sacrificing of a lamb is the same as the Canaanite practice of breaking a dogs neck for religious purposes; the grain/meal offering is the same as sacrificed blood of pigs, another idolatrous practice; and recording/remembering the moon [lunar calculation instead of sighting] is the same as blessing an evil thing, instead of denouncing it as unrighteous. YHWH states that they have chosen their own way, which is contrary to the Way of YHWH, that they delight in their abominations, instead of being ashamed of them. As a result, YHWH is going to assay them.
Assay is a metallurgical term. An assayer determines the purity of a metal, whether or not it has impurities, what kind and at what levels. This term is used in the book of YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] as well. YirmeYahu is appointed an assayer of the people by YHWH. YHWH says that no matter how many times they are heated up to refine, they remain impure, and therefore they are rejected silver – dross, and are cast out.
Do you see the evil of calculation when YHWH states to shamar – observe? The only purpose for a calendar, recording of the moon, is for a man to have dominion over another. YHWH provided everything we need to observe, to take personal responsibility for ourselves and our families, the communities directly around us.
As you can see, the practice of shamar, observance applies to shabbath and the three feasts. This is not to say that the editors never used shamar in association with the other days, because they did. What I am trying to provide is a foundation for how we are to view these days, in respect to our relationship with YHWH. As stated earlier, the full studies of these connecting subjects are in the Observe section.
It is my hope that this introduction will whet your appetite for the understanding of these days. The following study in this section is on the Moed. Its origin and use in the Tanak, which should help to clarify what these days are not, helping to solidify our understanding of how to approach these days. The Two Luminaries study deals with the controversy of solar and lunar calculation in observations, how to reckon a day and the beginning of the month. The Shabbath study deals with the specifics of how to determine when Shabbath is, not on every Friday evening to Saturday evening. As well as the purpose of the day of rest, what are we resting from? The Three Feasts deal with what each feast is truly about and how it applies to out lives and what YHWH desires for us. And finally, the two origin studies deal with just that, the origins of Pesach and Yom HaKiffuriym. As you will see, if you have been keeping these days, you have been keeping pagan holy days, just as Easter and Christmas for Christians, not days that YHWH directed we should be observing.
I know much of this breaks terribly
with tradition and will freak some of you out. If you are comfortable with the
traditions of men and the assimilated practices of
Thehillah 19:7-11, “the thorath of YHWH is perfect, converting the being. the testimony of YHWH is sure, making the simple wise. 8 the precepts of YHWH are right, rejoicing the heart. the commands of YHWH are pure, giving light to the eyes. 9 the fear of YHWH is clean, enduring forever. the judgments of YHWH are true, they are righteous altogether. 10 they are more precious than gold, even much fine gold, and sweeter than honey and drops from the honeycomb. 11 also your servant is warned by them; in observing [shamar] them is great reward.”