Please forgive me for not publishing this information sooner for you to consider.
I realize the ‘lateness of the hour’ for those who may wish to observe Passover/Unleavened Bread this week. (Even as soon as Wednesday night.)
I have been travailing on this issue of when to keep the Passover this year ever since I found out about the “other” aviv barley reports. But it was not until this Monday evening that I achieved a peaceful Spirit on this very important subject, so that I could clearly make my own decision.
It was only then that I was able to prepare a complete document to freely share with the community of those who wish to observe the Feast according to the Aviv Barley and New Moon sighted in Israel. If I had merely published my conclusions in order to get the message to you sooner, I believe that I would have been grossly misunderstood, and I was not willing to put myself or anyone else through the probably fallout of that. Wisdom constrained me to wait until I was able to publish a thorough report, even if is not currently as polished as I would have liked.
Sorry if publishing such a report seems to be “shaking things up” unnecessarily, and doing so last-minute. I believe, if you will take the time to consider what I have written, prayerfully and diligently, that you will see the beauty of why YHVH has deemed to put us all through this trial.
I could not rightfully just keep this to myself.
I understand the personal risks of publishing this, and can only hope that it will be received by all in the spirit of unity, love, and shalom in which I attempted to write it.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read it and discover if it is a “good word” and a solution for you also.
To My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Y’shua Messiah,
If you are still wondering at all when the right dates are to keep the Passover and Unleavened Bread this year, then please read this report.
Or if you are sure you know the right dates, and you have determined those dates by what you consider to be the best evidence of the Aviv Barley and New Moon sighting in the Land of Israel, then please read this also.
Or, if you are following the calculated Hillel 2/Jewish/rabbinic calendar, you may find this interesting too, so you are also more than welcome to join us on this journey.
I have spent much of the past week fasting, praying, and massively researching this issue, including speaking personally with some of those involved in the purported “controversy”, and I have attempted to humbly bring you my findings and conclusions in the most concise and easy-to-consider way.
I have not written this so that you will consider me your authority and follow what I am doing, but so that you can make the best sovereign decision for yourself, your family, and (if you have one) your community.
I pray you find this helpful as you seek to walk in holiness and serve our Father in every aspect of your life.
I apologize in advance for anything that may not be 100% accurate, or if my evidence is in any way incomplete, or for any typos, etc. Obviously, any of that is not my intention, but I was operating under a huge deadline to publish this for you as quickly as possible.
I’m just one man seeking to serve the Almighty the best I can, and hope this report is nothing but a blessing that brings peace to you and unity within the Body of Messiah!
If you take the time to go on this journey with me, I believe that you will no longer see this seeming controversy as divisive, or even unfortunate. Instead you will find that YHVH is fully in it, and is blessing us with great opportunity, more than we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
I now thank Him for not making our decision about the Aviv and Passover simple this year, but that He saw fit, in His infinite wisdom and love for us, to confound us, so that we would press in to Him even further
Isn’t that just like our Father!
Please read on….
The Weightier Matters
I was going to save these few crucial considerations for my ‘dramatic ending’, but knowing that some of you may not read this whole document, I wanted to make sure to put right up front what I believe to be the most import matters:
- Our central goal as Believers must be Unity, knowing that YHVH’s path to that Unity is Love, and that our steps on that path are Holiness (our sanctification). If we lose sight of this essential truth, then (in my opinion) keeping the Feasts, even in their fullness with the Temple and everything, is absolutely meaningless.
- Remember that we are NOT KEEPING the Feasts, we are “rehearsing” for what is to come (Colossians 2:16-17). No matter the dates you choose, you will not be going to the Priests in Jerusalem with a lamb, etc. You will be rehearsing the Passover wherever you happen to be, which is awesome and not to be taken lightly, but it is still not “keeping” the Feast. So, please chill out, with full faith that YHVH knows you are just now getting this information, and so if you choose to rehearse Passover/Unleavened Bread this month or next month, do it to the best of your ability and have a great time! YHVH wants you serious about His commandments, but not stressed!!
- By travailing through the process that enabled me to come to my own decision, and then to prepare you this report, I am now sure of this one thing: What seems to us to be a confusing situation, bringing more division within the Messianic/Hebrew Roots community, is actually a complete blessing from our Father in Heaven….if we would just see what He is doing here and are able to receive His gift with wisdom and humility!
OK, still with me? Great…
The purpose of this writing is not to endorse any man, woman, or organization as an authority. It is to provide you with what I consider to be the most relevant issues and information that I found after sorting through A LOT of data that I have accumulated over the course of my life, as well as what is being shared and debated over the past couple weeks within the Messianic/Hebrew Roots movement.
My goal is to see Unity in the entire the Body of Messiah. You might think this is impossible before Y’shua returns, but the Unity of which I speak is “achdut” in Hebrew. Achdut doesn’t mean that we agree to think, look, behave, believe, or act the same, but that even though we look, think, behave, believe, or act differently, we still genuinely feel and behave as if we are all one big loving family. When another family member doesn’t do things the way we believe he should, even if we “know” he is not obeying Torah, we love him and want to be a part of his life anyway, and we want him to be part of ours. (http://www.yeshiva.co/ask/?id=2529) Can we do this? Of course, if the Holy Spirit we claim lives inside us really does have residence, then we can by yielding to it and walking in the gifts of the Spirit. Let’s face it folks, we MUST do this, or we have no unity amongst us, and no real testimony in this world, or the next!
Who Am I
I’m Chaim Goldman. You may have heard of me, or maybe not. No matter. I don’t have time right now to tell you my whole story, but know that I have sought to live out a Torah lifestyle as a Jewish Believer, and in so many ways, for more than two decades.
I’m now 49 years old, and have been Jewish the entire time, and a Believer for the past 21. I have dual American/Israeli citizenship, have lived in Israel for nine years, and have been involved in some way with most major “expressions” (or “sects” if you prefer) found within the Messianic/Hebrew Roots movement . It has been my honor to know, learn from, and even personally work with many great leaders and teachers in all of them; it has also (at times) been a crushing struggle to deal with all the baseless hatred within our community, as well as with the way I have been personally treated by some.
I have also been a media professional for almost 30 years, so I am skilled at figuring out what the story is, and telling it as plainly as possible. I have asked YHVH to place me, even in my currently-exhausted state, at the top of my game in preparing this document.
My relevant bio and personal testimony can be found at www.RepairingTheBreach.global/chaim-goldman, and please feel free to “Google me”. 😉
But, you know what? In the end, it doesn’t matter who I am. The information and conclusions in this document should stand for themselves, and not be dependent on the wisdom (or lack there of) or integrity (or lack there of) of any person, certainly me included. Let the Holy Spirit show you if I am right or not-so-right.
If you decide to continue reading this report, I request that you do so with the following understanding:
- This document has been written with some amount of haste. I wish I had more time to research, pray, and write, but I am publishing this with no time to spare for those who might decide to observe Passover this week. Being a TV and journalist guy, I am very deadline-oriented, and I’m simply out of time, actually well past out of time.
- That said, I’ve been travailing greatly over all of this ever since I heard about the “other” aviv reports, and have basically worked around the clock to try and figure out what was going on. But once, as of Monday evening (March 21st), I came into the understanding I am presenting here, I have had great peace. (I hope you do also, no matter whether you agree with me or not.)
- This work is primarily written for those who are deciding when to observe Passover/Unleavened Bread according to the sighting of both the Aviv Barley in Israel and the New Moon in Israel, and have some background in doing so. If this is not you, then it may not be so relevant — but you still may find it interesting what those who reckon the Feasts this way are currently dealing with, and how I have decided to personally approach it.
- For the sake of time, and in the hopes that more people will make the effort to read this report, I am attempting to be as brief as possible in everything I write. I provide links to websites where you can delve deeper, and I encourage you to do as much research as you believe is necessary. Your “out” is that there is not much time at this stage to do so. So…as going to the Father and hearing His voice is what you must eventually do anyway, may I suggest that you ask for His discernment now as you read this report, and then simply go to prayer when you have finished reading it to see whether or not He confirms it? That should save you a lot of time and stress.
- Please forgive me if I get any of this wrong. I welcome correction, as long as it is given in the same spirit of love and patience as this report is being written. I’ve done a lot of research in a very short amount of time, and then spent more than twelve straight hours preparing this document. I’ve given it everything I have. Please do your own research before writing me with any constructive criticism, no “knee jerk” reactions. And if you do feel the need to unload any anger or other nastiness in my direction, please have the courtesy to address it to the following email: hatemail@RepairingTheBreach.global, rather than to our main email address. Yes, that’s a real email address, and this way I can read it when I choose, knowing what I am going into, and can be properly prepared spiritually to engage in it.
- All of this may seem confusing, or even crazy, to those who have yet to study all the issues. I am sorry for this, but in this as-brief-as-possible report I do not have time to share my decades of accumulated information and life experience that allowed me to come to these conclusions. I pray that this seeming “controversy” doesn’t discourage anyone from pressing in, because (the way I see it) this is not a problem from which to run away. Rather, it’s actually a blessing from our Father in Heaven — if we are wise and humble enough to receive it!
Along with all the information I have learned from others and gleaned myself on these issues over the years, in order to make decisions about our most pressing concern, namely: When is Month of Aviv, Passover, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread THIS Year?, I primarily used the below-listed sources.
I need to clearly state that I am not endorsing any person or ministry, but just letting you know what my primary personal sources were. I do not necessarily agree with any specific thing they believe or teach, and please do not infer that I do. If you choose to research these sources, and their materials, that is your choice; please take any questions or disagreements you may have with what they present up with them personally, in love.
In this report, I will not be directly quoting ANYTHING from these sources, nor inferring exactly where I got any specific information. Much of it was from their published articles, some from private conversations or correspondence, and I do give you links to relevant published articles. As I said above, the information should stand on its own, I only am letting you know my resources so you know I took counsel with others who truly wish to serve YHVH, and have histories doing so, at great personal sacrifice. Again, this does not infer that I am in full agreement with any of them on any specific topic, but only that I truly appreciate their work and devotion to the Kingdom. I hope you appreciate their devotion also.
My Primary Sources with Links (some of these links were not part of my research, as I had personal conversations, but I have provided them to be helpful):
Nehemia Gordon: I have greatly benefited from his Aviv Moon reports, blog posts, personal instant messages, and a 2-hour personal conversation on March 21st. Nehemia has been my friend for almost 15 years; I have been a moon-sighting witness for his team in Israel, and have worked with him professionally. He is a Karaite Jew, not a Believer in Y’shua as Messiah, and is one of the most committed and genuine people I know, with a huge heart for serving YHVH. I have counted on his team’s Aviv and New Moon reports for my Feast keeping since before I met him, as Nehemia has been working on this since 1994, and was trained by Karaite Jews who were sighting the barley long before that. Nehemia believes that the barley was NOT Aviv before the New Moon, and that the correct time of Passover this year is next month.
Joseph Dumond: I spoke with Joseph briefly back in 2004, and thereby helped him begin his deep study of the Biblical Calendar. Joseph is a great truth seeker, and has written extensively on Biblical timelines, including the Shemitah year. Joseph researches and writes in great detail (often too much so for most people to have the time to read), and so his published articles over the past week have given me fast connections to the reports of others on both sides of the issue. I have been in contact with Joseph on and off over the past year in regards to his research on the Shemitah year, and I spoke with him for 2 hours on March 21st. Joseph was planning to observe Passover next month, relying on Nehemia Gordon’s aviv report, but after a few days of looking at the other evidence, has decided to declare this Month as the Aviv and Passover, with the caveat that if the barley is not ripe enough for the Wave Sheaf offering, he will stand corrected. (we go into that more below)
Norman Willis: I have known Norman for 10-15 years. I did not speak with him for this report, but I read his recent article where he first fully supported going with Nehemia’s aviv report, but then, after more consideration, switched to observing the Passover this month. His reports are a wonderful resource for helping to decide what to do, whether you agree with his decision or not.
Brian Convery: I do not know Brian, nor did I speak with him. I read his articles, in which he gives his background on why he is able to be a judge of the aviv, as well as a report of his trip to Israel and the results of his aviv search.
Solomon Meyer: As with Brian Convery, I do not know Solomon, nor did I speak with him. I read his articles, in which he gives his background on why he is able to be a judge of the aviv, as well as the report of his trip to Israel and the results of his aviv search.
No one else I am aware of has an “official” Aviv report from Israel, and so I did not take time to do any more research in this area, as I have been researching this issue, and living according to my beliefs regarding it, for about 17 years.
I know that 119 Ministries and some others have decided to go with the reports that this is now the Month of the Aviv, but pretty much everyone else I know of who goes by Aviv and Moon, has decided to use the Aviv report of Nehemia’s team, and will be observing it next month. Michael Rood (who I have worked with extensively) had already planned a Passover event this month, but is going with Nehemia’s report for when to actually observe Passover, and is now considering his March event a “rehearsal” (which, as I have already stated, is a wonderful way to look at it!)
Onward and Forward
OK, let’s get to the meat!
Among many other things, I am a professional interviewer, and also a business coach (working exclusively with Believer entrepreneurs), so my process involves asking very specific questions in order to then tell the story.
So, to assist you, I have attempted to isolate the primary questions I believe one must ask, and then consider his personal answers to, in order to make a proper decision on when to observe the Passover this year. I believe that by going through this process, you have the best chance of figuring out what you should do.
As I stated above, I am going to keep these answers as short as possible for the sake of time and so that more people will read the whole report. I have posted relevant links above next to each of my primary sources. Please do you own research as you decide is necessary:
- What does Aviv mean?
Read this post for a great, relatively brief explanation of Aviv barley, according to Nehemia Gordon: http://www.nehemiaswall.com/aviv-barley-in-the-biblical-calendar#more-7240
His bullet point answer is three necessary characteristics:
- It is brittle enough to be destroyed by hail and has begun to lighten in color (it is not “dark”).
- The seeds have produced enough dry material so it can be eaten parched.
- It has developed enough so that it will be harvest-ready 2-3 weeks later.
Most people agree that aviv is what modern day farmers call the “soft dough” stage, still green, but ripe enough to be eaten if parched. How long the development from aviv to harvest-ready or “hard dough” stage is, is somewhat debatable, and of course depends on the environmental conditions during that stage of development. Most of this year’s “controversy” centers around this development stage, and how we can be sure the barley in Israel will be ripe enough at the time of the Wave Sheaf offering of First Fruits.
Decision #1: What do you consider to be the meaning of “aviv” with regard to the maturity state of developing barley?
2. What percentage of the observed barley must be in this state to declare “aviv”?
Nehemia believes that two fields must be found in Israel that are Aviv. How Aviv? Like 60+% of those fields. In all of the searches that his team did this year, he did not find even one field even close to that state before the new moon, and so declared “Not Aviv”.
In other reports, they declared 10 – 30% aviv, and believed that was enough go declare “Aviv”.
Others do not feel that ANY aviv barley must be found before the New Moon, but that the barley must merely be in a state that it will be mature enough in time for the Wave Sheaf offering on First Fruits (more on that below). That said, if no percentage of barley is aviv before the new moon, than the chance of any being ready for the Wave Sheaf (16 – 22 days later) is highly unlikely. (I would believe that no one would proceed into the new month declaring Aviv if no barley at all was found in ANY percentage of aviv, but there are lots of people out there with lots of different theories.)
Decision 2: To determine where you fall on this issue of “aviv-ness”, you would need to take your definition of “aviv”, and then decide (1) what percentage of the barley needs to be in this development state to declare it “aviv”, and (2) whether or not you believe/trust the specific witnesses who gave the reports from Israel this year (report links above), as well as how they came to their observations and conclusions.
3. Must the barley be “aviv” BEFORE the new moon is sighted at the end of the 12th month in order to declare the “new year” (rather than adding a 13th month/Adar Bet), or can the barley become aviv in the week or so after the moon is sighted and still have that new month be considered “The Month of the Aviv”?
Nehemia and many others believe the barley MUST be aviv, according to their understanding of aviv, before the New Moon is sighted. After all, if only part of a month needs to have aviv barley in it to be declared Aviv, then we should call the 12th month the Aviv when we find aviv barley at the very end of it. (And before you tell me this wouldn’t be the case, because the Biblical calendar must have 12 months, please find where a 12-month year is commanded in Scripture. The written Torah assumes a calendar, but does not specify tell us what it is.)
Others disagree that we must have aviv barley before the moon, and believe that what makes the month the Month of the Aviv, is that aviv barley is present in that month and, most importantly, that ripe barley is available for the Wave Sheaf offering (more on that below).
Decision #3: With your understanding of what “aviv” means and what witness reports you believe/trust, you now need to decide whether or not having the barley properly “aviv” BEFORE the New Moon is crucial to declaring the Month of the Aviv, or whether it is NOT the absolute cut-off factor.
4. If you believe that the barley does NOT need to be 60+% “aviv”, or even aviv at all, by the sighting of the New Moon, is the true sign of the Aviv/New Year that the barley must be in some specific state by the time of the Wave Sheaf cutting/offering on the day of First Fruits?
I believe everyone would agree that having sufficiently ripe barley by the time of the Wave Sheaf is crucial for the month to be the Month of Aviv. Otherwise, the Torah commandments for Passover, First Fruits, the Counting of the Omer, and Shavuot cannot be obeyed.
Nehemia, and most others I know, believe this so much that they will not declare the month to be Aviv if the barley is not 60+% aviv before the new moon. If it is any less, they don’t believe we can make such a guess and risk that weather conditions are not favorable to rapid development, so that the Aviv would be declared and yet the barley would not be ripe in time for the Wave Sheaf. While it is possible that it will not be 60+% aviv by the New Moon and still be ready for Wave Sheaf, they believe it is too risky to go that way. Therefore, with such a scenario they do not declare aviv, but call for a 13th month
Others believe that some lesser amount of aviv (even as low as 10%) is enough to declare Aviv, as then they expect the barley will develop to at least aviv stage and probably “hard dough” stage by the Wave Sheaf. (This is the case with the two reports sighted that that conclude we are now in the Month of Aviv.)
Still others believe that all that needs to happen is for there to be mature enough barley by the Wave Sheaf offering. How much aviv before the New Moon is irrelevant, as long as aviv barley shows up, and is ripe by the Wave Sheaf, then everything is cool.
Some also believe that if it is merely in the aviv stage by First Fruits, the barley can then be parched and used for the Wave Sheaf (see below for more information on parching.) Of course, the question becomes, how would you declare it at the beginning of the month, if you could not be totally sure it will be ready by the Wave Sheaf, as Israelites would need time to travel up to Jerusalem with their offerings in time for Passover, and this could not be done last minute in the age before cars and planes?
Decision #4: If you do not think that the barley needs to be 60+% aviv by the New Moon, then you need to decide where you stand on the above, and if having sufficiently ripe barley by the time of the Wave Offering is the only definitive factor in determining the Month of Aviv.
5. Can “parched barley” (the drying out of barley by fire) be used for the Wave Sheaf, or must the barley be in “hard dough” state, where it is fully mature?
Some quote Leviticus 2:14 (And if you offer a grain offering of your first fruits unto the YHVH, you shall offer for the grain offering of your first fruits green ears of grain dried by the fire, even grain beaten out of full ears.), to show that somewhat immature grain could be used for the Wave Sheaf. Meaning, if the barley is merely “aviv” by First Fruits, and not in “hard dough” stage, then the Priest can still cut it and “parch” it by fire for the Wave Offering.
While I understand this assertion, I believe it falls short and cannot be properly used. Why?
Because Leviticus 2:14 seems clearly to be referring to the First Fruits offering brought by different farmers in Israel, and NOT to the barley used in the priestly Wave Offering. Since there are different agricultural conditions all over Israel, individual farmers are permitted to bring their First Fruits offering of anything from aviv-stage barley that is parched to make it acceptable, all the way to fully mature barley (“full ears”).
However, the stage of barley referred to specifically for the priestly Wave Offering in Leviticus 23:10 is “qatsiyr”, and this seems to refer to “fully harvest-ready ripe grain”, and not aviv or “soft dough”-stage grain. This would make sense, considering that in Deuteronomy 16:9 (which we discuss below) it implies that First Fruits is also the official start of the national harvest.
Decision #5: This decision depends on how you consider Leviticus 2:14 and 23:10, and if you believe the barley used for the Wave Offering can be parched aviv-stage grain, or must be fully-ripe “hard dough” kernels.
6. Can the Wave Sheaf be made by consolidating stalks of mature barley, rather than having to be able to cut an entire sheaf of mature barley, to assure a Wave Sheaf in the Month of Aviv?
I believe most will say no to consolidation, but some believe this is allowable in order to make sure there can be a Wave Sheaf offering as soon in the season as possible, so that the harvest may begin (see below about the harvest). Feasibly, this would then allow for somewhat risky decisions in declaring the Month of the Aviv when there is little or now actual aviv barley at the time of the New Moon, and still allow for full sheafs to be manually assembled for the purpose of doing the Wave Offering.
Decision #6: I did not have time to research this much, but the historical reports I’ve read show that the priests went out at the end of the Sabbath the night before the Wave Sheaf offering, and cut entire sheafs, not consolidations. (There may be other evidence of this being allowed in extreme circumstances, so please let me know if you have such evidence.) Your decision here would be whether you believe consolidations could be used as a fall-back method, if necessary, in case the Aviv was declared too early, and consolidating was necessary for making the Wave Sheaf offering.
7. Does Deuteronomy 16:9 mean that no farmer in Israel may begin commercial harvesting until the Wave Sheaf offering on First Fruits? And if so, would declaring the barley to be aviv a month “late”, possibly cause both the barley and wheat harvest to “go to seed” before the harvest was allowed, thereby losing both crops and starving the nation of its basic food supply?
Out of the handful of significant assertions that I was introduced to for the very first time this year, this is the most interesting, and compelling, as it suggests that it is imperative to declare aviv as soon as possible, and that adding a 13th month could be perilous for the nation of Israel.
Deuteronomy 16:9 states: “Seven weeks shall you number unto you: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as you begin to put the sickle to the grain.”
What this seems to be saying, is that the seven week count from First Fruits to Shavuot (Pentecost) begins when the “you begin to put the sickle to the grain”. Not when farmers cut their First Fruit offering, but when the actual commercial harvest begins.
Therefore, one could conclude, as we have other Scripture that this same seven week count begins specifically on the day of First Fruits, that no farmer in Israel would be allowed to start harvesting his crops before the Wave Sheaf offering. And, I’m told (but do not currently have the exact source) that Jewish Law states this prohibition to be true. But as there is currently no Temple, nor binding Wave Offering today (only a ceremonial service), farmers in Israel are not currently bound by this restriction.
If this is accurate, and this putting the sickle to the grain refers to any Israelite farmer harvesting his crop, then no farmer can begin harvesting before the Wave Offering on First Fruits, OR the seven week count to Shavuot would begin when the first farmer begins harvesting, and that would not be in alignment with the other Scriptures about how we are to count the omer to Shavuot starting on First Fruits.
So, IF this is the case, think about how detrimental an error it would be to determine NOT AVIV, if it was Aviv: We would declare a 13th month, and the farmers would then not be able to begin harvesting for another 45 – 52 days. If their crops became ripe before that time, they would not be able to harvest them, and they would “go to seed” before they could harvest, losing some or even all of their entire crop. This would also delay the wheat harvest by the same amount of time, and so the wheat harvest could be lost too. Think of the devastation in Israel to lose, possibly completely, their entire barley and wheat crops!
Now, I must note that specific Scripture only states that we cannot EAT of the crop before the Wave offering (Lev 23:12,14), so it could very well be that farmers can harvest their crop whenever they need to, as long as no one eats of it until First Fruits. But if Deuteronomy 16:9 prohibits even the harvesting of the crop before First Fruits, it would be incumbent upon those in authority to declare the Aviv as early as possible, or the crops could be completely lost due to their error. This might then make declaring Aviv early, even if the barley is not much or at all aviv before the new moon, a necessary calculated risk.
I have also read and heard the opinion of those who believe Deuteronmy 16:9 prohibits any harvesting of crops in Israel before First Fruits, and therefore conclude that we must do whatever we can to declare the Aviv as soon as possible, even if it means having to end up parching barley for the wave offering, so that the crops are not lost. While others believe that this verse neither prohibits farmers from harvesting before First Fruits, nor means that the first farmer to “put the sickle to the grain” would begin the count to Shavuot. They believe the farmers can and will harvest whenever they need to, and that as long as they don’t eat of it (per Leviticus 23:14), then they are not breaking Torah.
Decision #7: Do you believe that Deuteronomy 16:9 prohibits any harvesting before the Wave offering, and if so, does that mean that it’s more important to risk declaring a possibly too-early Aviv (and maybe having to use parched grain for the Wave Offering), by declaring Aviv even if the crop is only 10% aviv, or waiting until after the New Moon to declare Aviv. Or, should the criteria of 60+% aviv before the New Moon be the accurate cut-off, even if it is quite possible that you will have mature grain in time for the Wave Offering, because the farmers can harvest when they need to without violating Deuteronomy 16:9? (I hope that makes sense.)
8. What about the four blood moons over the past two years on Passover and Sukkot, and then the solar and lunar eclipses this month, as Genesis 1:14 tells us that the celestial bodies were put there to help us determine times and seasons? Or what about other evidence such as the signs of an early spring in Israel this year? Do they give us any clues as to which month is Aviv?
While super-interesting, I do not see conclusive proof from Scripture that any factors other than the aviv barley and new moon are to be used for determining the Month of the Aviv. Maybe you do.
Some claim that Jeremiah 8:7 reveals other evidences for the coming of the Month of Aviv (Even the stork in the heavens knows its times; and the turtledove, swallow, and crane observe the time of their coming; but my people do not know the ordinance of YHVH.), but this is super-hard to prove, as the text does not clearly state that, but merely mentions “observing times”.
Also verses in Song of Solomon speak of signs of spring, and may cryptically allude to looking for the aviv barley and moon, but that is a stretch, although this book is filled with much allusion: Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. Listen! My lover! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills. and See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig-tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me. 3:7-8, 11-13
Decision #8: For these or any other verses to be determining factors for you in which month is Aviv, you would need to decide how factual or relevant you believe them to be, as the plain text does not seem to be speaking of the Feasts, the Aviv Barley, or the New Moon.
These above eight questions are what I have found to be the heart of the matter in the decisions that are being made on both sides, to determine whether the Month of Aviv and Passover/Unleavened Bread is this month or next month.
As you see, most of these have to do with YOUR DECISIONS about the Scriptures, not on the testimony of others regarding the aviv barley this year. So, it’s mostly a matter of you searching out the Scripture, probably with help of the historical record of how the barley was determined “aviv” during Temple times…and then deciding which of the witnesses you wish to believe/trust based on their published reports.
I’m not saying this is easy, but I have tried to make the process as simple as possible for you. I hope and pray I succeeded.
I will now share with you, based on my weighing of the above information, and going through those questions myself, what I believe YHVH has shown me to do regarding the Passover and Unleavened Bread this year. This is what my family is doing, but please do not just follow us. I know time is short for making this decision, and YHVH knows that too. Go through the questions I outline, visit the links I sent, and PRAY about what He wants you to do…and then DO THAT! OK?
** If you have just skipped down to the bottom here, without considering what I have written above, then please do not judge what I am about to write, as you do not know what journey I went on to get here. Fair enough? **
As I stated at the outset….
- Our most important goal as Believers must be Unity (achdut), YHVH’s path to this Unity is Love, and our steps on that path are Holiness (our sanctification). If we lose sight of this essential truth, then (in my opinion) keeping the Feasts, even in their fullness with the Temple and everything, is absolutely meaningless.
- Remember that we are NOT KEEPING the Feasts, we are “rehearsing” for what is to come (Colossians 2:16-17). No matter the dates you choose, you will not be going to the Priests in Jerusalem with a lamb, etc. You will be rehearsing the Passover, which is awesome and not to be taken lightly, but it is still not “keeping” the Feast. So, please chill out, with full faith that YHVH knows you are just now getting this information, and so if you choose to rehearse Passover this month or next month, do it to the best of your ability and have a great time! YHVH wants you serious about His commandments, but not stressed!!
Honestly, I see validity of what is being asserted on both primary sides, and in my opinion, it’s just too close to call.
Come’on Chaim, what?!
Yes, that is my conclusion, but you’ve come this far with me, so please stick around to hear me out, as now it gets really really good!
REMEMBER…having gone though this trial that enabled me to come to my own decision, and then to prepare you this report, I am now sure of this one thing: What seems to us to be a confusing situation bringing more division within the Messianic/Hebrew Roots community, is actually a complete blessing from our Father in Heaven….if we would just see what He is doing here and are able to receive His gift with wisdom and humility!
Isn’t He just like that?!
Please read on to see what I mean….
Here is what my family is doing:
- We are going to rehearse the Passover this Thursday evening (as we believe the Passover is to be kept at the end of the 14th/beginning of the 15th day.) This way, if it is to be kept this month, we will not miss it.
- We will then rehearse Unleavened Bread while we wait to see if there is enough mature/”hard dough”-stage barley available for the Wave Sheaf on the first day of this coming week. (From the reports I am getting from Israel, there is a high probability the barley will be mature enough for this, no parching necessary, but we must wait and see.)
- If there is not enough “hard dough” barley available for the Wave Offering , then I believe we must conclude that the barley was NOT Aviv (as Nehemia’s team reported) and we will be set straight by the evidence. We should then all look for the moon this coming month, declare the Aviv, and keep Passover then.
- BUT, if there IS “hard dough” barley in time for the Wave Offering this week, then I am going to determine that both sides have very valid proofs, and that this year is actually too close to call either way.
So, where will that leave us? Confounded by YHVH!
And contrary to what you may think, “confounded by YHVH” puts us in a super-enviable position! Thank you YHVH!!
OK, Chaim…what in the world do you mean?!
A Double Portion of Passover/Unleavened Bread!
I am absolutely excited to inform you that, with things too close to call, we get to rehearse the Feast in two separate months (awesome, no?!), so that we can be sure that we definitely show up on the “right” date, while not having to argue with anyone about who is right?
Wouldn’t that be refreshing?
And who can argue that two Feasts is a problem?! For almost 2000 years, Jews in the Diaspora have been keeping two consecutive nights of Passover to make sure they observe the right one. And even in Israel, today and in Temple times, Yom Teruah (Trumpets), aka Rosh Hashanna (Head of the Year), is celebrated two consecutive nights, because it falls on the first day of the month, and no one could be sure which is the right day until all the New Moon witnesses were interviewed.
I believe that there is NO PROBLEM in observing two different days if we are not absolutely sure. After all, it’s just another rehearsal, another celebration, another party. It’s all good!!
Would you really be upset about getting to celebrate Passover and Unleavened Bread twice?
This is not double-mindedness (like straddling between the Aviv/Moon calendar and the Hillel 2 calendar — which I did many years in the past.) Why? Because, I completely wish to rehearse the Passover according to the Aviv/Moon calendar this year, it’s just that I cannot determine 100%, based on all the evidence at hand, when that is. Can you?
And, back to our priorities of Unity, Love, and Holiness….two Passovers give us the incredible opportunity to celebrate with more of our brothers and sisters. We can invite others to our celebration, and we can go to theirs!
And, may I suggest, that you keep them different ways?
We’re going to do the first one more relaxed, with lots of testimonies and free-flowing interaction, along with telling the story of the Exodus and the Passion Week of Messiah.
While next month, which should also line up with the Hillel 2 calendar, which the Jewish world keeps, we’re going to be involved in a more traditional Jewish seder, but of course that will also connect the Exodus account to the Passion Week of Messiah. All other years we had to decide how to balance those two methods in the same evening, and not have the whole event go super-long, but now we can do both fully in the same year! Halleluyah!
How We’re Approaching It
My family will rehearse on both sets dates of the 14/15th of Aviv and Unleavened Bread (March 24 – 31, and April 22 – 30 — as long as the new moon is sighted on April 8th).
Most importantly, we will do both “full on”, not wondering whether we are keeping “the wrong date”, but rather knowing we are completely showing up to rehearse YHVH’s Feast.
Have you ever been in a play? Dress rehearsals are crucially important and intense. Everyone must perform his or her roles and stage jobs as if the play was live, going all the way through without stopping. And yet, there is no one in the audience, so there is no way to “flop”, even if you do give a lousy performance. It’s full on, but without the chance for failure. How great to have the opportunity to do that twice this year, as considering what we are “rehearsing” for, can we really have enough rehearsals? Praise YHVH!
(You might ask, “What about all the other Feasts this year, would you then keep two of each of those?” To that I answer, “I will not be addressing that now, as I do not believe it’s a crucial decision to make at this hour. And, until we know whether or not there will be properly mature barley in time for the Wave Sheaf offering, it’s a moot point.)
So, to review what’s so cool about this seemingly “confusing predicament” we are in:
- It’s not a “confusing predicament”, it’s a Double Portion blessing from our loving Father!
- We get extra rehearsals, which means more partying with each other!
- We have time to experiment with different styles and methods for rehearsing the Feast, to help us get more experience as to how to do it, as we prepare for the Great Day when the curtain goes up and the show must go on!
- “Knowing” that you are not missing the date YHVH commanded removes basically all the stress you may have about “getting it wrong”!
Don’t you just love “win-win”?!
Therefore, Let Us Keep the Feast…Quickly!
So, what now? Well, based on this super-short time we have between now and Thursday evening (or even Wednesday evening if you believe the Passover is to be kept on at the start of Aviv 14), if you feel you should do what my family is doing:
- De-leven your house
- Get provisions for Passover and Unleavened Bread
- Plan and conduct a Passover service/dinner/seder celebration that you think is best, one that remembers our deliverance from bondage in Egypt AND our deliverance from sin, both by the mighty Hand of YHVH, and by the blood of the lamb. Include as much “Jewish Tradition” as you choose, but make sure that ahead of time you read the primary scriptures about this Feast (Exodus 12:1 – 13:10, Leviticus 23:5-8, Numbers 9:1-5, and Deuteronomy 16:1-8), so you can make sure your experience is as Biblical as possible.
- Finally, remind yourself about YHVH’s “mercy” in the Torah, in case you think you or someone else (including me) might be getting this wrong. Read Numbers 9:6-12 about our Father’s provision for a second Passover for those who miss the first for a variety of reasons.
Oh, and please share the link to this report with as many people as possible: www.RepairingTheBreach.global/when-is-passover-2016, as the clock is really ticking to get the word out.
And you can even go to our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RepairingTheBreach.global, Like us, and Share our latest post about this with all your Facebook friends. That would be awesome!
Wow! You stuck with me to the end! Todah rabah! (Thank you very much!)
So, what do you think? Is this the heart of the Father on what we have been going through as a community, or did I miss something?
As far as I see it, there is no downside — except maybe the trouble of getting more time off from work, if that is necessary in your current situation. (BTW, if this is the case, please consider hiring me as your coach, and we can get you free and walking in your true calling through having your own “business that ministers”. Shameless plug for my business that ministers: www.Kingdom.consulting)
By following this Double Portion plan, we maximize our possibility of observing Passover and Unleavened Bread on the right dates, while having more parties with each other, and no one has to be wrong! But even if I am wrong, we end up with extra rehearsals/parties, which is extra time to worship YHVH!
You’re most welcome! 😉
Make Unity your goal, His Love your path, and your steps Holiness, and you can only succeed in the eyes of our Creator!
And, remember, this is a “rehearsal”. So show up as ready as you can be in the time you have, give it your best, and know you get to rehearse again. You can’t fail!
If you have questions or comments, more information you think should be considered, or even lovingly-delivered constructive criticism or difference of opinion, please write us on our Help Desk: www.RepairingTheBreach.global/help.
If after reading this document completely, and doing your own research and praying, you feel the need to attack me in writing for any reason, please have the courtesy to write us at this special email address, so we can decide when to engage with your message, at a time when we are spiritually prepared to do so: hatemail@RepairingTheBreach.global Thank you for honoring this.
Respectfully submitted in love and humility, for our mutual benefit, and to glorify YHVH to the fullest!
For such a time as this,