The introduction to the perek-long listing of the various festivals tells us that ‘these are the Mo’adim of HaShem which you shall call ‘holy callings…’’ (23:2). What does it mean to ‘call’ a festival? The Rashbam explains that this ‘calling’ means that we must fix the times of the Mo’ed. As the gemarra highlights, the beis din are supposed to fix the day of Yom Tov by declaring and fixing the month. Indeed, this naming/declaring of the date fixes the kedusha of the day in that it allows the kedusha to ‘come down’ on the appointed day - which is why we say mekadesh Yisrael ve’hazmanim in our Yom Tov davening. Shabbos, in contrast, is fixed by HaShem - so we say mekadesh haShabbos in our davening; there’s no reference to Yisrael there, for the day of Shabbos is automatically holy, without it being fixed by us. The Sforno gives us another explanation of the ‘calling’ here. He explains that it refers to the gathering of the people together for holy matters. This is similar to the explanation of the Ramban here, that ‘calling’ means that the people are called to gather in the Mikdash on the festival (aliyah le’regel). So amongst the commentators we have seen a good mixture of bein adam le’makom and bein adam le’chaveiro explanations of the word ‘calling.’

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