Triennial Cycle

Please follow this link to view our 2018-2019 Triennial Cycle readings, beginning in April on the Biblical New Year (March 2019 corresponds to Adar 2), with readings selected after careful topical study): Triennial 6th cycle ’18-’21 2nd year

The term Triennial Cycle refers to the practice of reading the entire Torah in three years. This was the custom in Israel, while the Babylonians read the Torah in one year. The difference is noted in Bavli Megilla 29b, “… for the people of Palestine, who complete the reading of the Pentateuch in three years.” The Bodleian Library contains a manuscript from a synagogue in Cairo which still observed the Triennial Cycle in the twelfth century (Hilchot Tefilla 13:1 and Binyamin of Tudela). 

By 200 BCE the reading of the Triennial cycle was well established. Jewish Encyclopedia article Triennial Cycle, by Joseph Jacobs tells us: “The reading of the Law in the synagogue can be traced to at least about the second century B.C., when the grandson of Sirach refers to it in his preface as an Egyptian practice; it must, therefore, have existed even earlier in Palestine. It has been suggested that the reading of the Law was due to a desire to controvert the views of the Samaritans with regard to the various festivals, for which reason arrangements were made to have the passages of the Pentateuch relating to those festivals read and expounded on the feast-days themselves.”

We concur with Servants of Messiah Ministries and Kehilat HaTikkun Yisrael, which follow a Triennial Cycle rather than a one year Torah cycle. They state, “We have come to this conclusion based on evidence that the chronology of the ministry of Yahshua follows a three year Torah cycle rather than a one year cycle. We have also discovered that the three year cycle’s readings match Yahweh’s calendar by having readings that pertain to the annual feasts read during that time of the year.”

Regarding the Haftarah in the Triennial Cycle, Jewish Encyclopedia indicates that the Haftarah selections were not fixed until after the 2nd century C.E: “In the second century the choice of the passage was still left to the scholar who was called upon to read from the Torah” (Megillah iv.1). So we have chosen to distribute chapter readings of the entire Haftarah according to the appropriate Psalm and Torah readings in the Triennial Cycle. Likewise the Brit Chadasha is read in its entirety, its chapters matched to appropriate Torah and Haftarah readings. “The complete Scripture is thus read topically in the three year cycle, except 1 and 2 Chronicles (found in other books) and Proverbs (one for each day of the month” (Triennial Cycle, (c) Northwest Messianic Fellowship.org).

 

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