NISAN 14 IS TODAY!!! (3/21/2008) * READ INSIDE *

by sacolton 3 Replies latest jw experiences

  • sacolton

    Why the Jewish Calendar will be Incorrect in 2008

    This article explains why most observant Jews and others following the Jewish calendar will be celebrating God's annual Holy Days one month late in 2008.

    In trying to follow Exodus 12:2, Exodus 13:3-4, 7-10, and Numbers 9:2-3, Judaism says that Passover, which they celebrate on Nisan 15 rather than on Nisan 14, must not fall before the northern hemisphere spring equinox (Tekufot Nisan). The spring equinox currently occurs each year on March 20th or 21st and is that time when day and night are of approximately equal length. The spring equinox establishes the first day of spring. It is a solar, not a lunar, phenomenon.

    But current Jewish calendar procedures periodically conflict with the use of the equinox to establish the first month of the religious year:

    In 2008, Nisan 14 (Passover) can fall on March 21, the first opportunity for the 14th day of a month to occur after the equinox. But the Jewish calendar sets Nisan 14 at April 19th. Why? Because the Jewish year 5768 (the spring months of 2008 fall within the Jewish year 5768) happens to be the 11th year of the 19-year calendar cycle and is then, by Judaic definition, a leap year (the 13th month must be added). This forces the first month to begin one month later than it normally would. Unfortunately, their calendar leap year tradition is so rigid that they fail to follow what we agree is the correct interpretation of the scriptures listed above, that God gave them, which strongly imply that the Passover must be kept at the first opportunity on or after the spring equinox.

    What allows them to ignore their own calendar rules? One reason they feel free to adjust the calendar to their liking is because Leviticus 23:2 and 4 are interpreted by Jewish Oral Law as saying that the people are allowed to keep the Holy Days on whatever day is most convenient.

    It should be pointed out that the Jewish calendar leap year designations are NOT Biblical.

    Let's add a little more detail: The spring equinox occurs on March 20th at 7:50 AM, Jerusalem time. The Jewish calendar calculates the new moon of Adar II (the 13th month of the previous religious calendar year) to be at 8:50 AM on March 7th and, due to the one-day postponement of the previous Tishri 1, March 8th as the first day of the month. Either day will place the 14th day of Adar II on or after the spring equinox and thus the month should be Nisan (Abib), not Adar II. The result of this error is that the Jewish calendar is ONE MONTH LATE from March 2008 through March 2009! By making 5768 a leap year, they ignore the fact that, by their own interpretation of the Torah, Passover must be observed at the first opportunity on or after the spring equinox. This is the way the lunar calendar is kept synchronized with the solar calendar, and is an essential part in keeping the Passover (and every other Holy Day) in its season.

    But some may wonder why it matters when Abib occurs, as long as it is in the spring. One of the major justifications why Abib should be assigned to the first qualifying month relative to the spring equinox is that there needs to be a consistency between years so that crops will be in approximately the same stage of development at the same time each year. The importance of the maturity of grain for the wave-sheaf offering (Lev. 23:9-14) is obvious. Another reason is that the one month delay will push the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) too late and too close to the Israeli fall rainy season. For this reason we should avoid delaying Abib until the second month after the equinox as the Jewish calendar does in 2008. It is peculiar how the spring equinox is called "Tekufot Nisan", but when a conflict with the designated leap year occurs, the equinox is forced to fall in Adar II, not Nisan.

    The Church of God Most High believes that the first day of every month must begin at the true conjunction of the sun and moon (the new moon) and that Passover (Abib or Nisan 14) must occur at the first opportunity on or after the spring equinox. That places Abib 1 on March 8th and Tishri 1 on August 31st. The result of all this is that in 2008 the Jewish calendar will keep the holydays one lunar month late.

  • Robdar

    My Jewish boss is laughing his ass off as we speak.

  • sacolton

    According to the Jehovah's Witnesses:

    “We use the Jewish Calender, common in the 1st century. The beginning of the month of Nisan was the sunset after the new moon nearest the spring equinox became visable in Jeruselum. The memorial date is 14 days after.”

    So the sunset after the new moon for this month would be on March 8 th , so if you count from Sunday the 9 th …14 days later it’s March 22 nd .

  • Leolaia

    But if the intercalary month of Adar II isn't inserted this year, it has to be inserted sooner or later, next year or the year after, because the lunar year is only 354 days and there has to be some way of picking up the slack. I'm not sure if the post is arguing against having the extra month in the first place, but it should be apparent that Nisan would be a month "late" every so often.

    It is worth noting that in the first century AD, Josephus (Antiquities 3.10.5) claimed that Passover is celebrated "when the sun is in Aries", i.e. AFTER the spring equinox. Similarly, Anatolius of Laodicea alluded to Josephus' remark and the lost treatise of Aristobolus (second century BC), noting that "these writers when they resolve the questions relative to the Exodus, say that all equally ought to sacrifice the passover after the vernal equinox, at the middle of the first month; and that this is found to occur when the sun is passing through the first sign [i.e. Aries] of the solar, or, as some have named it, the zodiacal cycle. And Aristobulus adds that at the feast of Passover it is necessary that not only the sun should be passing through an equinoctial sign, but the moon as well. For, since they are two equinoctial sections, the vernal and the autumnal, and since they are diametrically opposite one another, and since the day of the Passover was assigned to the fourteenth of the month after evening, the moon will stand in the position opposite and over against the sun" (cited in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 7.32.17-18). It is also significant that Anatolius was defending the Quartodeciman view that Pascha ought to be celebrated on the same day as the Jewish Passover, so he suggests that the dating of Passover in this manner held not only in Aristobulus' day but in his as well (i.e. in the third century AD).

    But it still appears from the Talmud that the intercalary month was occasionally inserted on an ad hoc basis, depending on agricultural conditions like immature crops or on account of the seeming lateness of the vernal equinox. There is, for example, this excerpt from a letter sent to the Jewish communities in Parthia: "We beg to inform you that the doves are still too tender and the lambs still too young and the crops are not yet ripe. It seems advisable to me and to my colleagues to add thirty days to this year" (Sanhedrin 11b).

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