SEDARIM (Triennial Reading)

The Psalmist tells us that he hid the Almighty's Word in his heart so that he would not sin against Him (Psalms 119:11). The Almighty commanded Yehoshua to meditate on the Word day and night so that he would be successful in everything he did (Yehoshua 1:8).

There are many more verses in Scripture that command us to read, meditate, study and obey the Scriptures. To practically carry this out, the Jewish people worked out a method of study of Scripture so that the Torah (the first 5 books of Moses) could be read through systematically over a period of time. The practice was documented in the writings of Ben Sirach from about the 2nd century BC, and thus this practice existed at least 200 years before the coming of Yeshua.

Today, most Orthodox Jewish synagogues use the Annual reading cycle, ie. they read through the Torah within 1 year. This practice seems to have originated among Babylonian Jews and became the universal standard around the 12th century AD.

However, there is evidence that the Jews of Israel in earlier times used the Triennial reading cycle, ie. they read through the Torah within 3 years. Some evidence of this can be culled from the fact that the Torah was divided in the Masoretic text into 154 passages (called sedarim) and if one seder is read every Sabbath, it takes about 3 years to finish the sedarim.

The conservative branch of Judaism has in recent years advocated a return to a Triennial reading system. The reasons are simple. The passages are shorter (about 1 to 2 chapters a week instead of 3 to 6 chapters), making for easier reading and more time for study, analysis and understanding of the text.

At MTC, we use the Triennial Reading, although in a different format than the method advocated by the conservative Jewish synagogues.

This year, we have had the joy of producing a special Biblical calendar for Aviv 2008 to Adar 2009. This desktop calendar contains both the Biblical dates and the Gregorian dates for easy reference. Feast days, fast days and special Israeli holidays are marked on the calendar. The dates do not always sync with the Rabbinical Jewish calendar used today due to certain calculations used which are different.

If you are interested in getting a copy of the calendar, please contact us.

Below, you will find the Triennial reading for the new year commencing Aviv 2008 to Adar 2009 (included in the calendar). We are now in Year 2 of the Triennial Reading. You can find out more about the Biblical Calendar through the Articles on the website.

Moncy Mathew, Leader
Mishkan Torat Chaiim (Tabernacle of the Living Word)