Defective and full Months
The Pharisees established rules that limited not only the number of months which could be defective (i.e., only 29 days long) or full (i.e., consisting of a full 30 days) but even limited which months were eligible.
The Mishnah states:
There are never less than four “full” months in the year, nor do more than eight (full) months require to be taken into account.31
In turn, they point out that there were never more than eight or less than four defective months. Meanwhile, a 12 lunar-month year has no less than 352 days and no more than 355 days, while a 13 lunar-month year has no less than 383 days and no more than 385 days.32
These reckonings were further encumbered by other restrictions which ignored the reality of the new moon phases. For example, the last month of the year, Adar—the month which precedes Nisan, the first month of the next year—is always defective,33 as was, except in special cases, the sixth month, Elul.34 The first and seventh months, on the other hand, i.e., Nisan and Tishri, were “never intercalated,” that is, they were always full.35 Continue reading “Sanctification of New Moons – Pt. 2”
The Hillelic Pharisees differed from their religious counterparts in that they followed the Babylonian custom of demanding that there must be witnesses who could testify to a Calendar Court confirming the sighting of the moon’s crescent on the very first day of the new moon. They also required official sanctification of the new moon by their Calendar Court.
Our attention will now shift to examining the rules for sanctification and dissemination for the Hillelic New Moon Day. As we shall see, many of these regulations prove to be arbitrary and counter to scriptural intent.
The Hillelic Pharisees considered it “a religious duty to sanctify (the new moon) on the strength of actual observation.”1 This duty was required, “even though the observation is not necessary for the purpose.”2
Maimonides argues this Pharisaic position when he writes: Continue reading “Sanctification of New Moons – Pt. 1”
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
Continue reading “9. Passover – The Dark Period II”