When is Passover?

This year (2016), the Biblical date for Passover (The Feast of Unleavened Bread) will begin Saturday night April 23, 2016 at sunset until Saturday night April 30 at sunset.

There are several issues that are confusing many people. The first confusion has to do with how to begin the Hebrew month. In 359 CE (AD), the Romans abolished the Sanhedrin and a Rabbi named Hillel II replaced the Biblical calendar with a calculated one. Up until 359, the Sanhedrin (actually a court of three appointed by them) would interview new moon witnesses who sighted the new moon every month. With the Sanhedrin abolished, Hillel II swapped out the visible new moon for conjunction also called the "dark moon". In the 4th century, it was relatively easy to calculate conjunction but impossible to calculate visibility, so Hillel settled for what he could do with the state of technology at the time. However, rabbis ever since have proclaimed that when the Messiah comes and reestablishes the Sanhedrin, they will go back to sighting the new moon.

Today most Jews observe the calendar of Hillel II based on conjunction, while many Karaite Jews continue the pre-Hillel system of sighting the New Moon. Based on Hillel II's calculation, Passover would be Friday night April 22, but based on the actual visible New Moon it should really be Saturday night April 23. I prefer to celebrate according to what King David would do and not Hillel II, even if it means I'm a day off from 99.99% of my Jewish brothers and sisters.

If that wasn't complicated enough, there is the issue of how to begin the new Hebrew year. Biblically, we are commanded in Deuteronomy 16:1 "Observe the month of the Aviv". Hillel II replaced this with an approximate calculation, which just happened to get the month right this year (even if it's one day off). However, some Christian and Messianic groups will be observing Passover based on other considerations. I wrote a piece about this recently, which you can read here.

I want to honor those who are observing Passover at a different time for at least striving for Biblical truth. They deserve credit for making an effort and not blindly following what others say, even if in my humble opinion they are in error.

If you aren't confused yet, I need to throw in one more complication and that has to do with the definition of the word "Passover". In every language, the meanings of words change over times. A great example in English is the word "computer". In the 1910s the English word "computer" referred to a person (usually a woman) whose job it was to sit with a pen, paper, and a slide rule computing complex calculations for banks, astronomers, and the military. A hundred years later "computer" refers to an inanimate machine that does everything from taking photographs to running the word processor on which I am writing this message. In the Torah, Pessach or "Passover" refers to a sacrifice and the holiday is called Chag HaMatzot (Feast of Unleavened Bread). However, in late Second Temple times the name "Passover" took on a new meaning and was used to refer not only to the sacrifice, but to the holiday that followed the sacrifice. If you said to King David you are "doing Pessach" he would know you are offering a sacrifice. If you said the same thing to a 1st century CE Jew, he might think you were observing the Feast of Unleavened Bread or maybe offering a sacrifice. He wouldn't know and might have to ask you. If you said to most Jews today you are "doing Pessach" they would immediately know you meant the Feast of Unleavened Bread and not a sacrifice.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a 7-day holiday that begins on the 15th day of the First Hebrew Month and continues until sunset on the 21st day of the First Hebrew month. This year that coincides on the Biblical calendar with sunset April 23 through sunset April 30. The Torah says the Passover sacrifice itself was brought at the end of the 14th day of the First Hebrew month, which this year would be late afternoon on April 23, 2016 according to the Biblical calendar. Of course, we don't have a Temple today so according to Deuteronomy 16:5 we can't bring the Passover sacrifice, we can only commemorate it. However, we still can observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The confusion comes from some 19th Century German Bible scholars headed by Julius Wellhausen who wanted to separate the Passover sacrifice from the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They claimed that the Passover was originally sacrificed at the beginning of the 14th day of the First Hebrew month rather than at the end. They didn't have a shred of historical proof. No Jewish group ever observed the Passover sacrifice this way. However, it fit in with their beliefs about the Torah being compiled from four different "documents". This was part of a larger Anti-Semitic doctrine aimed at separating "The Jews" from "Israel". To do this, they picked out the parts of the Torah they liked and attributed them to "Israel" whereas the parts they didn't like were assigned to "The Jews". "Passover" was Israelite whereas the "Feast of Unleavened Bread" was a later Jewish invention. The overall theory is sometimes referred to as the "Documentary Hypothesis".

Unfortunately, this Anti-Semitic doctrine is the basis of so-called "Higher Criticism" of the Torah taught in most secular universities and liberal seminaries. I was even taught this at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where they admitted its Anti-Semitic, origins but still taught it as truth! Decades ago Herbert Armstrong accepted this "scholarly" theory without understanding its origins and broader ramifications. As a result, he taught that Passover (or a commemoration of it) was to be observed as a separate event from the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is why some Messianic groups are "doing Passover" on April 22, but then beginning the Feast of Unleavened Bread a day later. I prefer to stick with what King David did. He was both an Israelite and a Jew and if it was good enough for him, it's good enough for me.

I know this is a lot to follow and may be confusing to some people who are new to all this and even to some who are old to it. Here's the bottom line: If you want to follow the Biblical calendar, then the Feast of Unleavened Bread is sunset April 23 through sunset April 30, 2016. The Passover would have been brought if there were a Temple late in the afternoon on April 23, 2016, but today Jews don't bring this sacrifice outside the Temple. They do commemorate it by telling over the story of the Exodus. I'll be doing my telling-over on April 23, 2016 at sunset.

Whether you are keeping the Biblical calendar, the Hillel II calendar, or some other calendar, I want to wish you a happy and healthy Chag HaMatzot!

Enjoy this music video from the Maccabeats who sing a Passover version of Les Miserables!

Related Posts:
Torah Pearls Passover Special
Passover and Leaven
When was the Passover Sacrifice Brought
Was the Last Supper a Passover Seder
How Long were the Israelites in Egypt
From Slavery to Freedom
Guess Who’s Coming to Seder

  • Jeff Moss says:

    Hi Nehemia,

    As usual, your post contains much interesting food for thought and lots of very useful information. Part of it, however, indicates that you misunderstand something quite significant and I consider that it needs to be corrected – particularly because you express that misunderstanding in a manner that is disparaging of other people (dead and alive).

    You wrote: “Decades ago Herbert Armstrong accepted this ‘scholarly’ theory [Wellhausen’s Documentary Hypothesis] without understanding its origins and broader ramifications. As a result, he taught that Passover (or a commemoration of it) was to be observed as a separate event from the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is why some Messianic groups are ‘doing Passover’ on April 22….”

    I attended Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God between 1968 and 1979. Also, I graduated from that organisation’s liberal arts institution, Ambassador College, in1972. Based on those substantial experiences, you could say I have a pretty solid grounding in the beliefs adopted by that group. At no time during those 11 years (or since) did I hear or read anything related to the Documentary Hypothesis when Armstrong himself or other ministers explained the reasons why that group commemorated Passover during the night phase at the start of 14 Aviv/Nisan instead of on 15 Aviv (as you and most other Jewish people do, leaving aside the issue of what calendar is being used).

    Having examined and re-examined the WCG/Armstrong doctrines very carefully, it is obvious to me that Armstrong studied the Torah and concluded – quite correctly – that all elements of the Passover sequence were to be observed during the calendar date of 14 Aviv. It was clear to him – as it is to me – that there is not a single passage indicating that any element of the Passover is to occur on 15 Aviv.

    At that point Armstrong had two options available to him in order to square practice with the biblical record: (a) Conclude that the Passover sacrifice occurred at sunset right at the start of 14 Aviv with the Passover meal taking place that same night (i.e., the night that begins 14 Aviv) in order that all elements of the Passover were observed on 14 Aviv (this is the option he adopted); OR (b) Reconsider his belief in a sunset-to-sunset reckoning for the biblical ‘day’ (an option that I doubt even crossed his mind) and commemorate the Passover within a different timeframe for 14 Aviv – with the result outlined below.

    So while he was on solid ground with his recognition that all elements of Passover observance were required to occur on 14 Aviv, he failed to re-examine his long-held belief that a calendar date (such as 14 Aviv) went from sunset-to-sunset – a practice he had adopted without question from traditional modern Jewish practice. If he had examined closely the calendar operational at the time of the Egyptian exodus, he would have found that the reckoning used by Moses and all Israel involved a day beginning at dawn then ending with dusk (day-time) and each calendar date (24-hour period) beginning with dawn and ending with the next dawn (i.e., the sequence of day-time first and night-time second). This is quite well known. Even the JPS ‘Jewish Study Bible’ (2nd Edition, 2014), when commenting on Passover (verse 5) as part of the overall festival sequence in Leviticus 23, highlights the following: “The date of the evening is that of the preceding day… only in post-biblical tradition was the method reversed and evenings given the date of the following day.”

    If Armstrong had combined his accurate understanding about all Passover elements occurring only on 14 Aviv with a correct reckoning of the biblical day, he would have been able to recognise that the Passover sacrifice occurred during the late afternoon (i.e., daytime) of 14 Aviv with the memorial meal taking place during the night that followed – which was still part of 14 Aviv.

    The practice that Armstrong preached had nothing to do with the Documentary Hypothesis. I think you need to amend your understanding of how he reached the conclusions that he did and to avoid being disparaging of the well-intentioned – and often insightful – efforts of others. You never know, you may learn something from what Armstrong did determine correctly.

  • Alberto Trevino says:

    To add further clarity for those who are completely new to:

    The Biblical view of what a Day is comprised of from the perspective of the Torah aka the Old Testament.

    In contrast to the Western Hellenized contemporary view of the Beginnings & Endings of a 24 hour day.

    One must be aware that the Torah.
    Begins & Ends a Day as the sun goes down not
    Beginning & Ending as the sun comes up in Morning. Therefore,

    Torah = Dark then Light
    Gentile = Light then Dark

    That being said it should, I hope explain how the Passover Sacrifice is divided from the Feast of Unleavened Bread by a gap or vacuum of 12 hours or half a Day or from the gentile point of view a whole Day!

    Effectively separating The Nations that is the gentiles, The Nation of Israel, & The Nation of Judah.

    It is the Divide & Conquer strategy documented in the Torah, 1 & 2 Maccabees, Antiquities of the Jews, Book of Jubilees, & other manuscripts. Practiced by the Roman conquer Constantine with the spirit of Nimrod.

    The following statement made by Nehemia has great weight & I concur we should not be made to divide, it is after all a abomination to Yehovah which He hates.

    Proverbs 6:16-19
    16 There are six things which the YHWH hateth,
    Yea, seven which are an abomination unto Him:
    17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    And hands that shed innocent blood;
    18 A heart that deviseth wicked thoughts,
    Feet that are swift in running to evil;
    19 A false witness that breatheth out lies,
    And he that soweth DISCORD among brethren.

    “The confusion comes from some 19th Century German Bible scholars headed by Julius Wellhausen who wanted to separate the Passover sacrifice from the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They claimed that the Passover was originally sacrificed at the beginning of the 14th day of the First Hebrew month rather than at the end.”

    As Yehovah lives, we should all sow.

  • Lavonne says:

    I agree with what you say and I will also be telling-over on the 23rd @ sunset. Thank you for all that you do in your teachings to help others to understand what YHVH commands us to do. Blessings to you & yours! Shalom

  • Judith says:

    He Nehemia, thank you so much for posting this. I was just going to ask this question about the feast! This has been so helpful thank you so much!!

    So if I am correct, the seder will be eaten the 23thrd after sunset? For me this will be the first time that me and my family will be celebrating this at home. I really want to learn and do it the biblical way!!

  • Edward Jones says:

    All of these verses say that ‘Passover’ is on the 14th of the month at evening.

    Lev 23:5
    Num 9:5
    Num 28:16
    Num 33:3
    Jos 5:10
    2Ch 30:15
    2Ch 35:1
    Ezr 6:19
    Eze 45:21

    And these say that ‘Unleavened Bread’ begins the 15th of the month.

    Lev 23:6
    Num 28:17

    There for the 14th and 15th Passover and Unleavened Bread cannot start on the same evening.

    This verse says we are to also eat unleavened bread * with * the Passover starting on the 14th.

    Exo 12:18

    So from scripture I see 8 days of eating unleavened bread starting with Passover on the evening of the 14th and continuing through the 7 days of the feast of Unleavened Bread.

    These verses define the evening beginning at sunset and ending the following sunset.

    Lev 23:32
    Gen 1:5
    Gen 1:8
    Gen 1:13
    Gen 1:19
    Gen 1:23
    Gen 1:31

    We all agree that the new moon was sighted just before sunset late in the evening on the Sabbath of April 9th.

    Now as for the counting the days. Beginning with the sighting of the new moon at even it would stand to reason that the counting would also start that same evening just as it does in Genesis.

    Starting that Saturday evening (night) when the moon was sighted in Israel and counting forward 14 nights I get Passover on the 14th day of the month that Friday night April 22nd (gregorian) and the next night according to the above verses to be the 15th and the start of Unleavened Bread on April 23rd (gregorian)

    When not using gregorian dates that start at “midnight” those same dates move forward numerically by 1. Remember God starts the next day at sunset. This very important to keep in mind. So the dates would correspond to the following.

    Just after Friday sunset would begin the Sabbath night of the April 23rd ,the Passover. The next night would be Sunday the April 24th, Unleavened Bread. Remember the night comes first.

    Seems pretty straight forward and simple to me but if you see it differently let’s discuss it using ‘scripture only’ as we are all trying to obey Yehovahs’ will.

    • Nicholas Mansfield says:

      I cannot see anything but seven days. Surely the text implies that the goat or lamb is to be eaten as the night approaches, not during the full light of day (Ex.12:6,8). Therefore the day is in transition, it is by no means a full day.
      Other points to note are that we must be prepared to go. Living in the modern era that may mean, have your car filled with petrol beforehand, keys on the table, be fully dressed, have your plane tickets to Israel and passport at hand (Ex.12:11).
      A question then arises, how are we to observe the final day of the Feast on Shabbat? Surely we are not required to observe a Shabbaton on such a Shabbat? The precedent being that those serving in the Tabernacle/Temple were ever working to prepare offerings. On such a day are we not all priests and priestesses at our place of residence?

      • Edward Jones says:

        Thanks for commenting.

        I see eight days because I am not of the mindset that the lamb was killed at the end of the 14th going into the 15th. But that it was actually killed beginning evening of the 14th going into the night of the 14th. Not late on the 13th but after the sunset over the horizon while there is still light.

        Pertaining to the eighth day of unleavened bread Ex 12:18 specifically tells us to also eat unleavened bread with the Passover. Eating unleavened bread with the Passover meal and then continuing to eat unleavened bread on the 15th with the first night of the feast of unleavened bread gives us eight days of eating unleavened bread. This is not an odd occurrence for to Yehovah to number concurrent feast days back-to-back as in saying ‘on the eight day’ Look at the seven days of the Feast of tabernacles followed by the Last Great day which totals to eight days of feasting. Lev 23:6

        Now let me go a bit deeper. Whether a person is of the view point that the Passover is the night of the 14th [or] the night of the 15th the Israelites were commanded to stay indoors all night until morning. Exodus 12:22. Additionally, we know from Deut 16:1 that they departed Egypt during the night of the 15th.

        So if I follow you correctly that Passover and the first night of Unleavened Bread are both the night of the 15th then you are saying they killed the lamb late on the 14th, placed the blood on the posts, went inside to prepare and butcher the lamb for roasting, then later that night of the 15th midnight to be more specific (Exodus 11:4) death passed over still on the night of the 15th.

        We know according to scripture they did not leave their homes until morning and also they had to wait to hear the report from Moses and Arron that they were finally free to leave. Recall Moses and Aaron were summoned from Succoth where the Israelites lived back to the city of Rammeses to meet with Pharaoh where he then told to leave. (Exodus 12:31).

        Then 600,000 men, not counting women, children and the mixed multitude of approximately 2.5 million people, spent time that night spoiling the Egyptians for jeweler, silver, gold and clothes. Then began to pack for their departure leaving the same night of the 15th before sunrise but after midnight. Doing this before sunrise would have been a violation of the command they were given from Yehova to not leave their homes till morning.

        [Side Note] 600,000 men would be about the same as the number of people who live in Washington DC and 2.5 million would compare to the population of Houston Texas.

        So it’s believed that this many people did all of this before sunrise, between midnight and sunrise, in violation of the command to stay indoors till morning? Because scripture clearly says they left the night of the 15th. (Deut 16:1)

        This is why I see a 14th night Passover eaten with unleavened bread and a next day nighttime departure on the 15th Because they could not have left on the same night as the Passover was eaten.

        [Side Note] By the way leaving the night of the 15th, would be under a full moon which would give the 2.5 million people plenty of light to see in the night.

        Here is the order of events as I see them from scripture.

        Passover is the actual night of the 14th: lamb killed, blood placed on the door post, lamb prepared, butchered and roasted. Passover lamb meal eaten with unleavened bread and later death passed over at midnight. Now they await word from Moses.

        They did not leave their homes until sunrise on the 14th where they spent that day spoiling the Egyptians and packing to leave that coming night of the 15th. (Deut 16:1) Spoiling of the Egyptians would require a trip from Succoth to Rammeses as the Egyptians did not live in Succoth. All of this packing and traveling between cities would have been time consuming but at least this way they now have the time available to get it done with a 14th night Passover and a 15th night departure.

        Num 33:3
        And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the Passover the children of Israel went out with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.

        ** Note: ** Numbers 33:3 says that they Israel departed Egypt on the 15th the day after Passover. Deuteronomy 16:1 adds even more detail and lets us know that this next day was the night of the 15th.

        Deu 16:1
        Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.

        ** Note: ** This last verse does not say that Passover was to be observed on the 15th but that it was to be observed in the month of Abib, which we all agree on,. What is does clearly say is that Israel departed Egypt at night.

        Exo 12:42
        It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.

        [Personal Side Note of mine for those who believe Yeshua is the Messiah.] We are told to eat the 14th Passover with bitter herbs. The KJV says bitter herbs but the word herbs is not in the original Hebrew of this verse only the word bitter. There are Hebrew words for the word herb so there would be no need to imply herbs when the word itself could have been used. What I do see is that bitter: to be mournful or sorrowful. Is the feeling or attitude to be had the night of Passover when so many of the firstborn were killed and also sorrowfulness or mournful of the Messiah being slain as our Passover lamb as well.

        Scripture tells us to celebrate the night of the 15th Unleavened Bread because this is the night of Freedom for Israel.

        If they both take place on the same night, Passover and Unleavened Bread, how can we be both sorrowful and joyful at the same time? God is not a God of confusion his ways are very logical and simple.

        Keep in mind that the Holydays shadow better things to come and those who believe Yeshua to be the Messiah believe this foreshadowed him as our Passover lamb which was something to be mournful and sorrowful about.

        Thanks again. I look forward to your reply.

        P.S. I think the particular use of the word ‘even or evening ‘as it pertains to Passover is the only instance in all of scripture where people say it refers to ‘end’ of a 24 hour day. All of the other instances refer to the ‘even or evening’ as being the beginning of a 24 hour period. Just something to think about.

        • Nicholas Mansfield says:

          I’m sorry but I just don’t see that. N.G. could take us through the nuances of the Hebrew, but in the translations I study it is simple. Word was sent to the sons of Amran, not vice vesra. The whole land would have ben in an uproar after the deaths. Moreover, it is normal to arise early, before dawn for prayers. I would expect that all people were awake by 3am, which is still nightime. They were prepared to leave, as it is commanded. The Egyptians were only too happy to pay them to go! The word went out, and they were mobile before the dawn. I think Num.33 supports this. It was all done within half a day from the afternoon when then the animals were butchered, roasted and the food was eaten upon nightfall.
          If Yeshua is governing your perspective then you should consult the Greek in Luke, which is in agreement with the ancient Hebrew Gospels expunged by the Catholic movement. He says, “With base desire I yearned to be eating this Passover with you…” (Luke22:15, cf. Panarion30.22.4). There is a whole lot of stuff that has been chopped out of the canon, much more than you realise, same for the Torah, as I read it. Yeshua was not to observe Passover with his disciples, he was the Passover, if you believe the Gospel. How could he be the Passover if that occurred the previous day? I feel you are confusing the days for both events. This is easily done if you do not understand what was actually taken out, and how John’s Gospel harmonises events. Yeshua arrives in Jerusalem on the Thursday afternoon for a party that night, and rests the next day. Then comes Palm Saturday. Sunday he cleanses the Temple precinct. Monday he gives some interesting lectures. Tuesday he orders a preparation, and rests (Matt.26:17/Mk.14:12/Luke22:7-Matt.26:19/Mk.14:16/Luke22:13). Tuesday night, being the night of Day4, he has an impromptu feast, guess how, and half a day later they nail him to a cross as the Passover animals are being sacrificed. No other timeline of events works. Or to put it another way, if the Gospel record is wrong, then Yeshua is not the Lamb, nor a Messiah. I hope this helps you.

          • Edward Jones says:

            Thanks for this interaction.

            You mention Number 33:3 to say that they were up before sunrise around 3am which you state is ‘still nighttime. I agree 3am is still nighttime and dark outside. Then you state they were ‘mobile before the dawn’. What you did not address was the Torah verses Ex 12:22 which commands them to stay indoors all night until morning (sunrise) and Deut 16:1, Ex 12:42 which states they left at night (before sunrise).

            The people could not both stay in till sunrise and leave before sunrise. It is a physical impossibility. This physical timing of events is one reason I believe the Passover was the night of the 14th and the leaving of Egypt the night of the 15th. A 14th night Passover and a 15th night exodus would not violate these Torah verses.

            Passover – between the evenings of the 14th going into the 15th. If the same reasoning for the meaning of evening were applied to the Genesis verses then their would be a daylight daytime before the evening of day one. i.e. The evening and the morning were the first day would mean the evening while it was still daylight. That would be day 0, zero, going into day 1. (Day 1 being evening and morning).

            I find it interesting the word ‘even or evening ‘as it pertains to Passover is the only instance in all of scripture referring to ‘end’ of a 24 hour day. While all of the other instances refer to the ‘even or evening’ as being the beginning a new 24 hour period as in Genesis, the evening and the morning were the first day.

            In case there is any confusion. I am not saying the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” is an 8 day feast, no far from that. The Torah clearly states that it is a 7 day feast. One of the things I am saying is that on the 14th, which I believe to be the actual night of the 14th, Unleavened Bread was “Also” to be eaten with the Passover meal. The 14th is not called the first night of unleavened bread. It is the night of eating the Passover lamb “with” unleavened bread. (Exodus 12:8)

            The next night, the 15th, from Torah is the “first night” of Unleavened Bread. (Exodus 12:15)

            Each night has its own title. One is called the Passover and the other is called the Feast of Unleavened Bread. On both nights we are commanded to eat Unleavened Bread” which gives a total of 8 days of eating unleavened bread. One commencing on the night of the 14th Passover the other on the night of the 15th for the High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread.

            As I mentioned before the physical timing of events and Torah scriptures is why I believe the Passover was the night of the 14th and the leaving of Egypt the night of the 15th. Exodus 12:22,42, & Deut 16:1.

            A 14th night Passover and a 15th night exodus would not violate Torah verses, anything else would.

            • Nicholas Mansfield says:

              With all due respect, I find your position untenable. Pharoh’s apostles gave word to Moses and Aaron: GO!!!! By this time the angel of death had already passed over. They were told to be prepared to leave immediately, not to linger an entire day, this in itself countermands the word to stay indoors, and it must go by a sequence. The decree to stay indoors that night was only a contemporary ruling to prevent their deaths. It cannot be considered a statute of the Torah. Else many of the Pharushim would have been struck down every time they observed a Passover on the wrong day.

              • Edward Jones says:

                Thanks for the respect. A nice cordial exchange of views is always appreciated.

                I agree death had already passed over by midnight and that the command to stay indoors was for their safety and specific to this first Passover only. Nonetheless it was a command. I see that keeping these commands as stated in Torah 14th night Passover followed by a 14th day of travel to Rammeses to spoil the Egyptians culminating in a 15th night leaving Egypt gives a logical sequence in which 2.5 million people would be capable of leaving the country within 12 hours. For example between 6am that morning and 6pm that night (those are just example times)

                As you see it not following the command to stay indoors so that this is a 15th night passover and also a 15th night departure from Egypt requires that 2.5 million people would have to travel From Succoth to Rammeses to spoil the Egyptians then travel back to Succoth and leave Egypt, for example, between 1am and 6am, within 5 hours all before sunriset. That is a lot do within such a short amount of time. Especially since Ex 12:39 shows that they were not actually prepared to leave. Recall they had seen many miracles performed by God and up to this point Pharaoh still had not let them go, they hadn’t even prepared food for the journey.

                Were you referring to Ex 12:11 which says they should eat the Passover in haste and be dressed to leave to infer that they were to be ready to leave, before sunrise and that they should ‘obey’ Pharahos’s command to ‘go’ immediately instead of Gods command to ‘stay’ indoors til sunrise? Ex 12:22 After just seeing and hearing the firstborn of man and animals killed a few hours earlier, I’m sure they would have obeyed Gods command to stay indoors til sunrise instead of Pharaoh to go.

                As for ‘lingering’ an entire day, their was no lingering at all. This day would have been the day portion of the 14th when they were traveling between Succoth and Rammeses to spoil the Egyptians and packing to leave when they went back to Succoth. Ex 12:36 the night of the 15th.

                Pleas add your Torah verses in your reply as I will not have to guess at which one you are referring and also it will make it easier for those reading along to follow and research these things for themselves.

                • Nicholas Mansfield says:

                  I think that your concept of the terminology may be at issue. What is a morning, what is a night? I suggest that 2 hours before dawn is a morning. Night refers to the dead of night. Imagine Pharaoh’s state of mind. They executed the Egyptian god, a lamb (Ex.12:12), then took the life of every firstborn. The Israelites had seen many months, possibly years of Pharaoh refusing to let them go. How they got to the Red Sea so swiftly I don’t know. We are not given much detail. Perhaps all the Egyptians came out with their family heirlooms and handed them to Israel as they passed by. Certainly the text reads that they travelled to Succoth from Rameses, being 40km, or one day of travel, not vice versa (Ex.12:37). Yet the crucial text seems to be this: Tis night of observance unto Yahovah, having brought them forth from Egyptian land THAT NIGHT, this be a vigil unto Yahovah, by all the children of Israel in their generations (Ex.12:42). The expression does not mean they crossed out of Egyptian territory that very night, but were under way, not to be stiff-necked, and look back. The devar to eat, prepared to hit the road is an imperative (Ex.12:11). The text actually says that they could not delay (Ex.12:39), therefore they did not delay. This is my position, and it is in line with the Karaite observance portrayed here. From whence do you derive your teachings?

                • Memshin says:

                  You are so right on. Strange that we find a messianic sticking closer to Torah than some karaites who are literally defined by sticking close to Torah and tossing out innovation

        • Just one thing, Moses & Aaron were not summoned from Succoth. The Israelites were living in the land of Goshen at Rameses. The whole nation travelled from Rameses to Succoth which was their first camping place, being lead by Yehovah, the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.

          Ex 12: 37 Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children. 38 A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock. 39 They baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.

          Johns Gill’s Exposition of the Bible says:

          1. They travelled from Rameses to Succoth Ex12:37 which is about 8 miles (But the distance between these two places was not so great; for Succoth from Rameses it is computed was eight miles only. – http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/exodus-12-37.html)

          Smiths Bible Dictionary says:

          2. The first camping-place of the Israelites when they left Egypt. (Exodus 12:37; 13:20; Numbers 33:5,6) This place was apparently reached at the close of the first days march. Rameses, the starting-place, was probably near the western end of the Wadi-t-Tumeylat . The distance traversed in each day’s journey was about fifteen miles.

          Num33:4 …while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn whom the LORD had struck down among them. The LORD had also executed judgments on their gods. 5 Then the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses and camped in Succoth.

          The Egyptians would have been burying their dead during the daylight hours of the 14th. If the distance of 8 – 15 miles is correct then they would have covered this distance the night of the 15th. They then stopped to make camp and cook their unleavened bread.

          • Edward Jones says:

            Nicholas M

            You stated that “2 hours before dawn is a morning.” When do consider the even (evening) to begin?

  • Mike says:

    Thanks so much perfect exactly what I needed. You are a blessing to my family and all who are around me. Your chocmah and knowledge is helping me to walk out the Torah as much as we are able. Praying for you and your
    future wife.

  • Nicol Kriek says:


    Sunset 23 April to sunset 30 April is 7, not 8 days for Feast of Unleavened bread??

    • Brian Ditzig says:

      The actual Feast is only 7 days and begins on the 15th day of the first month.

    • Edward Jones says:

      In case there is any confusion. I am not saying the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” is an 8 day feast, no far from that. The Torah clearly states that it is a 7 day feast. One of the things I am saying is that on the 14th, which I believe to be the actual night of the 14th, Unleavened Bread was “Also” to be eaten with the Passover meal. The 14th is not called the first night of unleavened bread. It is the night of eating the Passover lamb “with” unleavened bread. (Exodus 12:8)

      The next night, the 15th, from Torah is the “first night” of Unleavened Bread. (Exodus 12:15)

      Each night has its own title. One is called the Passover and the other is called the Feast of Unleavened Bread. On both nights we are commanded to eat Unleavened Bread” which gives a total of 8 days of eating unleavened bread. One commencing on the night of the 14th Passover the other on the night of the 15th for the High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread.

  • bells says:

    I want to commend you Nehemia for all your efforts to bring the truth of Hashem to the people. Stay strong in the truth, and ask what you will of Hashem and he will grant it as long as the fulfillment of your desires are not undeserved.

  • YoAv says:

    Ok Nehemia, They killed the Paschal Lamb on the 14th, put the blood on the door entrance & roasted the lamb. After sunset, beginning of the 15th they observed the Seder. What of this year; the 14th is Shabbat. How does one kill & roast a lamb on Shabbat? Would the roasting begin after Shabbat?

  • Mary says:

    Thanks Nehemia,
    Have a wonderful telling over with your Mom and sister this year in Jerusalem! Your thoughts/teachings/writings are still so helpful! Thank you again for doing just what scripture says to do!

  • John Dudley says:

    On the first Passover in Exodus 12,they put the bold on their doorposts as the 14th began. They went inside and stayed there until morning, At about midnight the death angel killed the firstborn. Your article says according to TORAH they were to bring the Passover offering at the END of the 14th. The first born would be dead if they did that. This is the issue of why we say Jewish tradition keeps the Passover seder on the wrong night !!

    • Nicholas Mansfield says:

      Au contraire. Select your animal on the tenth of the first month (Ex.12:3). Confine it until the evening of the fourteenth day, then slay it (Ex.12:6). This implies four full days, with some number of hours unspecified. 10-11=1st day, 11-12=2nd day, 12-13=third day, 13-14=fourth day of inspection (Ex.12:5,21). The Feast of Unleavened Bread commences as the 14th day ends, not begins (Ex12:15-19).

  • Red Letter says:

    I am one of those Apr 24th Pesach observers that you mention. Try to find matzo in an American supermarket a month after “Passover”, unlikely. AT first I thought, great, it will be on sale in April, but Ohhh Noooo, they take it all down and you can’t find anything. In my humble opinion, I propose that 1 Aviv starts on the first new moon after the equinox, then count 14 days. You challenged us by asking, ” I usually respond with, “Where does it say anything about the Vernal Equinox in Scripture?” ”

    I would say Psalm 74:16-17
    You have created the day (yowm) and also the night (layelah)
    You have prepared the light (maowr) and the sun (wasames)
    You have established all the earth boundaries (gebulowt ares, I interpret it as north, south, east, west) summer (ka-yitz) and winter (va-cho-ref) You have formed.

    Imagine you are a priest in the Temple, standing in the doorway on March 21-22. I promise you that you would see the sun at sunrise facing you straight in the doorway and lined up with a certain point on the far ridge. Also, even today I believe that you can walk up to any Bedouin or anyone living outside and ask, which way is east, and even a 5 year old will point pretty much east without using a compass. Since I have started paying attention to the moon, I am picking up all sorts of other directional and time-related things like this. So I think Karaites are half following the Rabbis (or at least one of them), you let them set the start date (the starter pistol) and only then you follow the moon cycle as instructed.

    Boy, being out of sync with everyone else was hard to do the fall feasts too, though I think the month later date aligned better with the actual fall harvest in Israel. AT least next year, the start date aligns so back in sync.

    • Shawn Richardson says:

      Since Psalm 74:16-17 pretty much describes everything that exists, I can see how you extrapolate the equinox as being included in what He created – but there is absolutely no connection whatsoever to use the equinox (or anything else within His creation that is covered in this verse) to determine anything related to His calendar or the Holy Days.