The Torah Reading cycle is suspended for the holiday week of Unleavened Bread (called "Passover Week" in the Jewish tradition), with each day of the week (from Nisan 15 through Nisan 22) assigned additional readings from the Torah and Haftarah.
Because the Jewish calendar is solar-lunar, the dates for each day's readings are not fixed, but vary from year to year. This means that the intermediate days of Passover, called chol hamo'ed (CH"M) will vary from year to year. Remember the day begins at sunset. To ensure the accuracy of a particular day's readings, always check a good Jewish holiday calendar.
Click on the links to display the Scriptures:
Erev Pesach (14 Nisan - Mon. Apr 14) (night of Passover)
We read the haggadah during the Seder...
Pesach 1 (15 Nisan - Tues. Apr 15) First day of Passover
Note: Chol Hamo'ed (CH"M) are "intermediate days" of Passover, i.e., the days sandwiched between the two beginning and two ending days of the festival. (In Israel, Passover is seven days long with the middle five days regarded as Chol Hamo'ed.)
The Song of Solomon is customarily read during the morning service of the Sabbath of Passover, or during morning service on the Seventh Day of Passover... (more here)
Note: The 49-day Omer Count begins the day after the Passover (i.e., Nisan 16), which this year is April 16th, 2014. Shavuot ("Weeks/Pentecost") begins Tues., June 3rd, at sundown this year.
About Passover - פסח
Passover (i.e., Pesach) is an eight day holiday that commemorates the liberation of the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt by the outstretched arm of the LORD and the blood of the Lamb some 3,000 years ago. Since the events of the Exodus led directly to the covenant given at Sinai (and the revelation of the altar), Passover also memorializes the emergence of the nation of Israel in history.
The Passover Seder remembers the fateful night when the faithful were protected by the blood of the lamb - foreshadowing the great sacrifice of Yeshua the Messiah as Seh HaElohim - the "Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29). Before his crucifixion, Yeshua used the symbolism and imagery of the Passover Seder to foretell of the New Covenant given in his broken body and shed blood (Matt. 26:26-28). His followers are expected to purge out the "the old leaven" and to keep the feast, understanding how He is the embodiment of this sacred holiday (see 1 Cor. 5:7).
Note: Passover begins on Monday, April 14th this year, with the seder beginning approximately 18 minutes before sundown. With only a week before Passover, time is running out to begin preparing for your seder! To help you get started, I have created a free Seder Guide you can download here. Let's keep the feast, chaverim! (1 Cor. 5:7-8).
Day 1 Reading
In Exodus 12:21-51, Moses instructs the elders of Israel in the laws of Pesach. All generations to come are to observe the Passover traditions. In addition, the children of succeeding generations are to be instructed at Passover as to the origin and significance of the festival.
The Haftarah is taken from the Book of Joshua (Joshua 5:2-6:1, 6:27) and describes the historic Passover that the Israelites observed at Gilgal after they had crossed the Jordan River. It was the first celebration of Passover in the Holy Land. (In the Reform tradition Isaiah 43:1-15 is the prophetic reading for the first day of Passover.)
Day 2 Reading
In Leviticus 22:26-23:44, Moses instructs the Israelites in the observance of the Sabbath and festivals, including Passover, Shavu'ot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. The maftir (additional) reading from Numbers concerns the Passover sacrifices at the Tabernacle.
The Haftarah for the second day of Passover (2 Kings 23:1-9, 21-25) regards great Passover celebrated after the good King Josiah initiated reformation among apostate Judah.
Day 3 Reading
In Exodus 13:1-16 Moses calls for the consecration (and redemption of) the firstborn and instructs the Israelites regarding the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The resurrection of the Mashiach Yeshua corresponds to Reishit Katzir (first fruits) and the tenufah (wave offering) that marked the countdown to Shavu'ot (the day the Ruach HaKodesh was given to the Church).
Nisan 14 - Yeshua crucified Nisan 15 - Yeshua in the tomb Nisan 16 - Yeshua in the tomb Nisan 17 - Yeshua resurrected
Yeshua rose from the dead on the 1st day of the week, after being in the tomb three days and three nights. The disciples then encountered the risen Lord on Nisan 17, a Sunday morning (Matt 28:1-10). In short, He was crucified on Nisan 14 and resurrected on Nisan 17 (the corresponding Gregorian dates for these dates vary from year to year).
Day 4 Reading
In Exodus 22:24-23:19 various laws are given, including the laws regarding shelosh regalim (the three pilgrimage festivals), beginning with Passover/Unleavened bread.
Day 5 Reading
The fifth day's reading has to do with Moses' intercession for Israel and God's response (as given in the Shelosh Esrei Middot - the 13 attributes of God's mercy). The LORD then renewed the Sinai covenant after Israel's sin of the Golden Calf. The Maftir (from Numbers) details the specific offerings to be made at the mishkan during Passover.
The Haftarah from Ezekiel speaks of the famous "dry bones" vision - a picture of Israel's future restoration after the Mashiach returns to establish the millennia kingdom.
It also customary to read the Song of Songs (Shir HaShirim) on the Intermediate Sabbath of Passover. Rabbinic tradition interprets the book as a love song where the "beloved" is taken to mean God and "the bride" is Israel (though the picture of Yeshua and His bride, the Church, is also a fitting analogy, especially because the Beloved Son comes disguised to woo and win his bride).
Day 6 Reading
The sixth day's reading has to do with the first anniversary of the original Passover in Egypt. Moses repeated God's law that Passover was to be observed at its appointed time every year by every Jew. A second chance for observing Passover (Pesach Sheni) was given to accommodate those who are ritually unclean for the seder. This second day would be one month later, on Iyyar 14.
Day 7 Reading
The Torah reading (Exodus 13:17-15:26) describes Israel's experiences following the Exodus. Pharaoh mobilized the Egyptian army and began his pursuit of the fleeing Israelites. When the Israelites reached the Red Sea, Moses raised his rod, the waters split apart, and the Israelites were miraculously saved. When the Egyptians reached the water, they became bogged down, sank to the bottom, and drowned. Moses and the Israelites sang a magnificent song of thanksgiving (the Song of Moses).
In the Haftarah, King David composes a song of thanks to God for all of his victories over his enemies. The Haftarah concludes with this sentence, which is also included at the conclusion of the grace after meals, "A tower of salvation of His king, who shows mercy to His anointed, to David and to his Seed forever" (2 Samuel 22:51).
Day 8 Reading
The Torah reading for the eighth day of Passover (Deuteronomy 15:19-16:17) deals with a variety of laws, including those related to tithes, the year of release (Yovel), the release of slaves, and further description of Shelosh regalim, the three pilgrimage festivals.
The Haftarah (Isaiah 10:32-12:6) gives Isaiah's message of hope that the Israelites will be gathered together from lands of exile and return to Israel. Several allusions to the exodus from Egypt are given. It includes a vision of the Millennial Kingdom era when peace and harmony will reign supreme among all people.
About the Spring Holidays...
The commandment to sanctify the very first new moon of the year (i.e., Rosh Chodashim) reveals that it is our responsibility to sanctify (i.e., observe) Biblical time in general. In other words, when we observe "the beginning of months," we are acknowledging that time itself is rooted in the Biblical calendar with its divinely inspired cycle of festivals (i.e., the moedim). Note that this year the Biblical New Year began on Monday, March 31st at sundown, and therefore Passover begins exactly two week weeks later, Monday, April 14th at sundown:
Three spring festivals occur in the month of Nisan and overlap and run into each other: Pesach (Passover), Chag Hamotzot (Unleaved Bread), and Yom habikkurim (Firstfruits). The fourth and climactic spring festival is Shavu'ot (Pentecost). Shavu'ot is held exactly seven weeks (or fifty days) following the morning after Pesach. In general, the spring holidays portrary the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah: Yeshua was crucified on erev Pesach, buried during Chag Hamotzi, and was resurrected on Yom Habikkurim (Firstfruits). Shavu'ot was the day the Holy Spirit fell on the followers of Yeshua in fulfillment of the promise given by our Lord. Click the timeline below for more information.
The Holiday of Passover is really a month long celebration. Over and over it is referred to as the "month of spring" (חדֶשׁ הָאָבִיב), the "month of redemption," the month of Nisan, and so on. The word Nisan might come from either the word nitzan (נִצָּן), meaning "bud" (Song 2:12), or the word nissim (נִסִּים) meaning "miracles," both of which suggest physical and spiritual resurrection in our lives. Others think the word comes from the verb nus (נוּס), meaning "to flee," both in relation to Israel's flight from Egypt and Egypt's flight from Israel (i.e., when the pursuing Egyptian cavalry fled (נָסִים) before the sea closed upon them (Exod. 14:25, 27). We also see this usage in the verse: "The wicked flee (נָסוּ) when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion" (Prov. 28:1). The devil's power is found in the lie. If he can make you afraid, you will not think clearly. Establishing your faith in the truth will embolden you to deal with the lies and distortions that are intended to enslave you in fear. As Yeshua said, the truth will set you free (John 8:32).
Blessing before Torah Study:
Parashah is the weekly Scripture portion taken from the Torah. Each parashah is given a name and is usually referred to as "parashat - name" (e.g., parashat Noach). For more information about weekly readings, click here.
Aliyot refer to a smaller sections of the weekly parashah that are assigned to people of the congregation for public reading during the Torah Reading service. In most congregations it is customary for the person "called up" to recite a blessing for the Torah before and after the assigned section is recited by the cantor. For Shabbat services, there are seven aliyot (and a concluding portion called a maftir). The person who is called to make aliyah is referred to as an oleh (olah, if female).
Maftir refers to the last Torah aliyah of the Torah chanting service (normally a brief repetition of the 7th aliyah, though on holidays the Maftir portion usually focuses on the Holiday as described in the Torah). The person who recites the Maftir blessing also recites the blessing over the Haftarah portion.
Haftarah refers to an additional portion from the Nevi'im (Prophets) read after the weekly Torah portion. The person who made the maftir blessing also recites the blessing for the Haftarah, and may even read the Haftarah before the congregation.
Brit Chadashah refers to New Testament readings which are added to the traditional Torah Reading cycle. Often blessings over the Brit Chadashah are recited before and after the readings.
Mei Ketuvim refers to a portion read from the Ketuvim, or writings in the Tanakh. Readings from the Ketuvim are usually reserved for Jewish holidays at the synagogue.
Perek Yomi Tehillim refers to the daily portion of psalms (mizmorim) recited so that the entire book of Psalms (Tehillim) is read through in a month. For a schedule, of daily Psalm readings, click here.
Gelilah refers to the tying up and covering the Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll) as an honor in the synagogue.
Divrei Torah ("words of Torah") refers to a commentary, a sermon, or devotional on the Torah portion of the week.