Hebrew Month Shevat 5774 Begins At Sundown January 1, 2014

Posted: January 1, 2014 in Hebrew Months
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Shevat (shvat)  is known as the ‘eleventh month” according to the sacred calendar and is the ‘fifth month’ on the civil calendar.

The only mention of Shevat is found in Zachariah 1:7,On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat (Shevat), in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the son of Berechaih, the son of Iddo the prophet.” This month is mentioned with reference to the angels ‘walking to and fro throughout the earth’ (Vs 11) so this month is associated with our awareness and cooperation with heavenly messengers. The significance of this vision was God’s message that He will again be merciful to Jerusalem. (Vs 14, 16, 17)

The word Shevat is not a Jewish word, but a word coming most likely from Babylon. The word means ‘rod’. Which is a symbol of judgment to God’s enemies. For us, we find the rod and the staff of our Shepherd as a comfort (Ps 23:4). As we walk through these dark last days we find comfort that the Lord, Jehovah Rohi, is protecting us with His rod and staff.

For 37 days Moses gave his last message to Israel. He began the message on the 1st day of the 11th month (Shevat) and ended on the 7th day of the 12th month of Adar. Deuteronomy 1:3 reads, “And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first [day] of the month, [that] Moses spoke unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the Lord had given him in commandment unto them.” Note: “Now it came to pass” means behind the phrase- ‘begins in turmoil and ends in a blessing’. (Genesis 22:1; Ruth 1:1)

The 15th of Shevat is called Tu B’Shvat, the “New Year of Trees”, which is the Jewish Arbor Day. This is technically the day when trees stop absorbing water from the ground, and instead draw nourishment from their sap. No fruit is eaten from a tree under three years old. Tu B’ Shevat is celebrated by eating some of the varieties of fruit found in Israel (dates, pomegranates, figs, grapes). Food is made from dried fruit and gifts of fruit are often given and received. This is also a celebration for the Tree of life, which symbolizes the Messiah who give true life. The first blooming in Israel is the almond. Nehemiah 10:35 reads, “And me made ordinances to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, to the house of the Lord.”

In History, this is the month that 2 Space Shuttles were destroyed in Space, both carrying Israeli astronauts- 1986 & 2003. (see historical dates below)

TRIBE- Asher,  the 8th son of Jacob and the 2nd son of Zilpah, the handmaiden of Leah. His name means ‘happy’.  Genesis 30:13, “Then Leah said, ‘I am happy, for the daughters will call me blessed.’ So she called his name Asher.”

Asher’s symbol was a fruitful olive tree.This symbol was given to Asher because of the abundance of joy that comes from the Holy Spirit. It is not that Asher never had problems, but he was able to overcome all of the problems with his optimistic attitude. Asher is fearless, optimistic and has the strength to go to hard and dangerous places.

Asher’s weaknesses were that he did not like to fight and compromised.  Judges 1:31, “The tribe of Asher also failed to drive out the residents of Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Aczib, Helbah, Aphik, and Rehob (32) In fact, because they did not drive them out, the Canaanites dominated the land where the people of Asher lived.”  As a result Jezebel was able to introduce Baal worship to God’s chosen people in this area.

His strengths were that the tribe is optimistic and gets things right in the end. Judges 7:23, “Then Gideon sent for the warriors of Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh, who joined in the chase after the fleeing army of Midian”. They became part of Gideon’s mighty men and proved to loyal, faithful and committed to the end. They were part of Solomon’s soldiers as recorded in I Chronicles 7:40, part of Hezekiah’s revival as recorded in 2 Chronicles 13:10-11. Anna, the prophetess, was a true example of a loyal, faithful and committed servant of God in the House of the Lord as recorded in Luke 2.

CONSTELLATION/MAZAL- AQUARIUS, ‘THE WATER BEARER’. This represents the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The symbol is shown of a man, symbolizing Jesus Christ, who physically poured forth literal waters from an inexhaustible source, removing the curse and turning the world into a paradise.

LETTER- Tzadik- (pronounced tsadee) is the 18th letter in the Hebrew Aleph Bet and has the numerical value of 90.  The number 90 represents the fullness of life: Psalm 90:10,  Sarah was 90 when she became pregnant with Isaac. In the classic Hebrew script this letter looks like a tree. The word tzadik means ‘righteousness or righteous one’. Tzadik is the pictograph of a man lying down and represents need.

HISTORICAL EVENTS IN SHEVAT:

  • 1-Moses began his farewell address after 40 years in the Wilderness as recorded in Deuteronomy 1:3
  • 3-In 1933, Adolph Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany
  • 6-In 1393, following a massacre of Jews at Majorca, an edict was issued guaranteeing the Jews protection. (Majorca is one of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea.) In just a few short years the protective decree was forgotten; persecution of the Jews began again in 1413. By 1435, the Jewish community had been completely destroyed, with many Jews forcibly converted to Christianity. These forced converts retained Jewish practice in private, but they publicly boiled pork lard in large pots, as a way to appear non-Jewish. (Hence these Jews were nicknamed Chuetas — “pork lard.”)
  • 7- In 1943, plans were finalized to deport the Jews of Athens, Greece. From 1941-1943, Greece was under control of the Italians, who by and large protected the Jews against the Germans. In the Holocaust, 77 percent of Greek Jewry were murdered — 60,000 Jews
  • 8-On this date in 1960, Jonas E. Salk finalized a proposal to build the Salk Institute for Biological Studies near San Diego. Salk (1914-1995) had achieved fame as the physician who discovered the first polio vaccine while working at the University of Pittsburgh. Polio was a widely-feared disease that caused paralysis and oftentimes death.
  • 11-On this day in 1601, Hebrew books that had been confiscated by Church authorities were burned in Rome.
  • 12-In 1945, the Russian army liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp. The gas chambers of Auschwitz II (Birkenau) were blown up by German troops in November 1944 in an attempt to hide their crimes. In January 1945 the Nazis began to evacuate the facility; most of the prisoners were ordered on a death march, which lasted for weeks in the cold and snow. In the end, some7,000 people survived Auschwitz; over one million perished.
  • 13-In 1790, France granted full and equal citizenship to Sefardi Jews. (Ashkenazi Jews gained citizenship a year and a half later.) In the 1940’s the French turned over 61,000 Jews to the Nazis.
  • 15- Tu B’ Shevat, New Year for the Trees, the Jewish Arbor Day
  • 15- In 1925, the Technion opened in Haifa, becoming Israel’s first modern university. Albert Einstein served as president of the first Technion Society.
  • 18- In 1980, following its peace treaty with Israel, the Egyptian parliament voted to end its economic boycott of Israel, which began in 1945.
  • 18-1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds after the launch of its mission, when an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster failed. All seven crew members were killed, including Judith Resnik, 36-year-old Jewish American. Challenger was one of two space shuttles destroyed during a mission, the other being Columbia in 2003 which included Israeli Ilan Ramon.
  • 19- In 1349, Jews in Basle, Switzerland were burned alive in a wooden house, erected specifically for that purpose.The Jewish community of Basel had flourished until 1348, when they were accused of poisoning wells during the Black Plague. This triggered a variety of persecutions: Jewish children were forcibly baptized, 600 Jews were burned at the stake, and the remainder were burned alive in the wooden house. In modern history, Basel became better known as the host of the first Zionist Congress in 1897. Ironically, on this date in 1949 — exactly 600 years after the massacre in Basle — the State of Israel elected its first president, Chaim Weizman
  • 21-In 1948, a car bomb exploded in front of the Palestine Post (later the Jerusalem Post) on Havatzelet Street in Jerusalem.
  • 23-On this date in 1918, the Jewish Legion left England to join the Allies in liberating Palestine from the Turks.  This would be remembered as the first organized Jewish fighting force since Roman times, and a precursor to the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).
  • 24-In 354 BC, the prophet Zechariah predicted the rebuilding of Zion, as recorded in  Zechariah (1:7). King Darius of Persia had given permission to rebuild the second Holy Temple, and Zechariah rebuked the people for not quickly taking the opportunity to do so
  • 27-In 1583, a convert to Judaism named Joseph Sanalbo was burned at the stake in Rome. In the second half of the 16th century, Jews were subject to grave Church-sponsored persecutions: Pope Julius III and Pope Clement VIII condemned the Talmud and other Hebrew writings as “obscene,” “blasphemous” and “abominable” — and ordered them all seized and burned.
  • 28- 163 BC, King Antiochus V lifted the siege of Jerusalem. The day was observed in subsequent years as a holiday. Antiochus V was only nine years old when he became head of the Seleucid dynasty, following the death of his father Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the oppressor of the Jews who provoked the Maccabees’ revolt.
  • 29- On this date in 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry, killing all seven crew members aboard, including Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon. During his 16 days in space, Ramon defied gravity by lifting his country from the morass of terror, by making Jews feel connected and proud. Ramon’s space luggage included a small Torah scroll that had survived Bergen-Belsen. He also brought along a mezuzah adorned with barbed wire — symbolizing the Nazi concentration camps — in tribute to his mother who survived Auschwitz and his grandfather who was murdered there. On board the Shuttle, Ramon ate kosher food and welcomed Shabbat with the first intergalactic Kiddush. And as he passed over Jerusalem, he recited “Shema Yisrael,” the age-old declaration of Jewish faith.
  • 30-In 1667, the Jews of Rome ran the humiliating “Carnival race” for the last time. Every year, during Rome’s annual carnival, scantily-clad Jews had been forced to race along the main street, while the crowd mocked them, threw trash, and reigned heavy blows. (The event often proved fatal.) As further indignity, Jews were forced to contribute financially to the operation of the Carnival. During this time, Jews were confined to living in the Roman Ghetto, a walled quarter with three gates that were locked at night. The Jews were subjected to other degradations, including having to attend compulsory Catholic sermons on Shabbat. Outside the ghetto, Jews were required to wear identifying yellow clothing.
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Comments
  1. Janice Sturkie says:

    Hey! I had looked some stuff up on Sh’vat earlier and couldn’t remember the Tribe associated with the month so I googled it and low and behold…up came your blog on she vat from 2011! Cool!

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