6 Feasts and 1 Fast are divinely ordained, and are called mo’edim (appointments) in Hebrew. They are commanded as appointments with the Lord in Jerusalem. The rest of the Feasts including those mentioned in the Bible (Old Testament, for example Purim; or New Testament, for example, Hanukkah, which means The Dedication) are not commanded by God Himself. Purim was commanded by Esther and Mordecai as mentioned in the book of Esther. Hanukkah was commanded by Judah Maccabee, and was observed by Jesus in the New Testament as mentioned in John 10.
Cycle of Appointments with the Lord (Mo’edim) (that’s the Biblical term for them, since they are appointments to travel to Jerusalem to observe the “feast”)
- Pentecost, also known as Feast of Weeks (Shavuot)
- Feast of Trumpets (Yom Terua), Day of Blowing
- Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
- Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)
Cycle of Fasts
- 17th Tammuz (The Fast of the Fourth Month) The walls of Jerusalem were breached in 69 CE after a long siege by the Roman Army. The Jerusalem Talmud states that the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem before destroying the First Temple, on this day, 423 BCE.
- Tisha b’Av – Ninth of Av (The Fast of the Fifth Month) The First Temple was destroyed in 423 BCE by Nebuchadnezzar. The Second Temple was destroyed in 69 CE by General Titus of the Roman army. The city of Betar was conquered by the Romans in 133 CE (which ended the Bar Kochba rebellion), the city was pillaged and hundreds of thousands of Jews were slaughtered. The Temple Mount was ploughed exactly a year after the conquest of Betar. The Jews were expelled from England in 1290. The Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492. World War I was declared on the 9th of Av in 1914.
- 7th of Adar, the date set by Jewish tradition to commemorate the Death of Moses. Many Jews fast during the day, and hold a banquet after sundown, to celebrate Moses’ life!
- The Fast of Esther was a 3-day fast, undertaken by Esther to prepare herself to risk her life by going into the presence of the King unsummoned, knowing that for any inmate of the harem to go to the king without being summoned could result in her instand execution. The Fast of Esther is one in which the Jews commemorate the bravery of Queen Esther, and is observed on Adar 13. The full story is told in the Book of Esther, which is read every year on the 14th of Adar at theFestival of Purim
- Yom Kippur (The Fast of the Seventh Month). This was mandated in the Torah, in Leviticus 23.
- 10th Tevet: Asarah b’Tevet (The Fast of the Eleventh Month) This was the date that the Babylonian armies laid siege to Jerusalem. Thirty months later, in 423 BCE, the city walls were breached, and on the 9th of Av of the same year the Holy Temple was destroyed by fire.