This new interpretation (System C) was built under the heavy influence of the Talmudists (spiritual offshoots of the Pharisees). It flourished primarily among the Karaites and neo (later)-Samaritans but was also practiced by some less well-known groups.
Since the first century C.E., the most prevalent and popular view for the observance of Passover and the seven days of Unleavened Bread has been Hasidic System B—an interpretation first expressed by the ancient Hasidim.
This practice has the Passover sacrifice offered during during the afternoon of Abib 14 with the Passover meal eaten at the beginning of Abib 15. All leavening is removed from one’s home by noon on Abib 14. Abib 15 begins the 7-day Feast of Unleavened Bread and continues through Abib 21. There is a total of 8 days of Unleavened Bread counted from Abib 14-21.
The questions that must be asked are:
• What is the ancient evidence of this interpretation? Also, just how and on what days did they keep the Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread?
• When did this Hasidic view of Passover and the seven days of Unleavened Bread first appear?
• What issues created their interpretation and how did they derive their understanding of בערב (be-arab; in the mixing of light and dark [twilight]) and its cognate term בין הערבים (byn ha-arabim; between/among the mixings of light and dark [twilight])?
In our first installment titled 10. Passover – Sadducees & Pharisees I, we discussed the religious philosophy of the Sadducees. With our second installment we will proceed to address the viewpoint of the Pharisees and their power struggle with the Sadducees.
It is within the framework of the evolving political and religious conflict between the Sadducees and Pharisees that we can understand just how and why the Pharisees ultimately became victorious in the officially recognized practice of Passover and Unleavened Bread which we have labeled “Hasidic System B.”
The “Hasidic System B” Passover and Unleavened Bread method originated among the early Hasidim but became dominant as a religious practice because of the political power of their spiritual descendants, the Pharisees.1
From Pharisaism derived what is now called Orthodox Judaism.2 Their conflict with the Sadducees was in force from the time of the Hasmonaean revolt.
One of the most important historical and cultural developments in Judaism during the Hellenic period was the formation of the movement, during the late third century B.C.E., that later became the Hasidim.
From them are derived the Pharisees, Essenes, Zealots, and others, including the later Rabbinists and Talmudists, who are their spiritual descendants.1
The name Hasidim means “pious, devout” ones.2 These early Hasidim must not be confused with the German mystics of the 12th–13th centuries C.E. or with the modern Hasidic movement, founded in 18th century Poland by Israel ben Eliezer.3
To fully understand this dispute we must begin with an examination of the historical and cultural context wherein the division of views took root in Judaism.