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Frank W. Nelte

July 1996

Consider the Observance of Other Days by the Jews

The reasoning that "if the Day of Atonement falls on a Friday, then there is no day for preparing for the Sabbath" becomes very hollow when examined in light of the Jewish customs that were already extant at the time of Hillel II. This applies equally to not wanting the Feast of Tabernacles to start on a Friday or to having the Last Great Day on a Sunday.

It is quite well known that the Jews had ESTABLISHED THE CUSTOM OF KEEPING TWO DAYS FOR EVERY DAY, except for the Day of Atonement. So here are some of the days which were kept by the Jews:


1) When the Day of Trumpets starts on a Thursday, THEN the Jews keep "Rosh Hashanah" First Day on the Thursday, and "Rosh Hashanah" Second Day on the Friday. And then comes the weekly Sabbath! That is three days in a row! What happens to "the preparation day" then?

2) When the Day of Trumpets starts on a Saturday, THEN the Jews keep "Rosh Hashanah" First Day on the Saturday, and "Rosh Hashanah" Second Day on the Sunday. Again, that is two days in a row! What happens to "the preparation day" then?

Understand that Tishri 1 and Tishri 2 are religiously treated as one day, and together they are called "Yom Arichta" (or "a day lengthened out"). Both days are (at least theoretically) kept with equal solemnity!


3) Exactly the same two situations repeat themselves twice more! Tishri 15 is kept as Succoth First Day and Tishri 16 is kept as Succoth Second Day. Likewise, Tishri 22 is kept as Shemini Atzerat and Tishri 23 is kept as Simchat Torah ("Rejoicing of the Law").

Now think about this: When the Day of Trumpets falls on a Thursday, then in the space of four successive weekends the religious Jews observe THREE periods of THREE DAYS EACH, where in all three cases the weekly Sabbath is the third of the three days!

There doesn't seem to be very much worry about not having a preparation day before the weekly Sabbath in those cases?

4) Consider Chanukah, the Feast of Dedication, which is kept on Kislev 25. Kislev 25 can fall on a Friday (as it will do in 2000 A.D.) and also on a Sunday (when Trumpets falls on a Monday in a year where Heshvan has only 29 days). Observing this day on a Friday or a Sunday does not seem to present any problems. I realize that for us "Chanukah" is not important at all; but for religious Jews it is an important religious day.

5) The Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost) is observed on two days, Sivan 6 and Sivan 7. In years where Sivan 6 falls on a Sunday (which is reasonably common), they don't seem to mind observing two consecutive days immediately after a weekly Sabbath. Again, A THREE DAY PERIOD is involved in the observances of the Jews. What happened to the preparation day?

6) For the Feast of Purim two days are observed (or three for those who are very strict, and who observe Adar 13 as 'The Fast of Esther'). The two days are Adar 14 and Adar 15 (in leap years Adar II 14 and Adar II 15). Now Adar 14 and 15 can fall on: a Friday and Saturday; a Sunday and Monday, a Thursday and Friday, etc.. What happens to the preparation day in all these situations?

7) The Jews observe Pesach First Day on Nisan 15 and Pesach Second Day on Nisan 16. (Nisan 15 is the First Day of Unleavened Bread.) Therefore when Nisan 15 falls on a Thursday, then they keep Thursday and Friday. And when Nisan 15 falls on a Sunday, then they keep Sunday and Monday, again forming a three day period with the preceding weekly Sabbath. When Nisan 15 falls on a Saturday, then they keep Saturday and Sunday. What happens to the preparation day in all of these situations?

8) The Jews observe Pesach Seventh Day on Nisan 21 and Pesach Eighth Day on Nisan 22. (Nisan 21 is the Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread.) Therefore when Nisan 21 falls on a Saturday, then they keep Saturday and Sunday. When Nisan 21 falls on a Friday, then they keep Friday and Saturday. In both cases they keep two consecutive days, one of which is a weekly Sabbath. Where is the preparation day?

9) The fast of the 9th of Ab commemorates when the Temple was destroyed by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar. This falls on a Sunday when the Day of Trumpets falls on a Tuesday. So here is a fast immediately after a weekly Sabbath. So it is acceptable to have a FAST day on a Sunday at one time in the year, but it is supposedly not acceptable to have a fast day (i.e. Atonement) on a Sunday at a different time of year? Isn't that a double standard? Whether the one fast is considered more serious than the other is really besides the point, since on the fast days they are not going to do or eat anything anyway. In both cases the day preceding the fast is a weekly Sabbath, and in neither case can that weekly Sabbath day be used to prepare for the meal after the Sunday fast day has concluded. So why is it acceptable to have a religious fast day on a Sunday in one situation but not in another?

10) The fast of the 17th of Tammuz. This is always on the same day of the week as the 9th of Ab. So this fast can also fall on a Sunday. The same comments as above apply.

There are several other days on which the strict Jews will also fast. Some of these days may also fall on a Friday or on a Sunday.

When you examine all of these observances by the Jews, which include numerous occasions where two and even three consecutive days are to be observed, then the rule of postponement, which stipulates that Trumpets may not fall on a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday seems rather shallow and contrived! It doesn't present any problems at all to observe the days THEY THEMSELVES have decided upon without the slightest regard to "preparation days" or double and triple "Sabbath days"; but when the days GOD has ordained fall at certain "awkward" times, then a postponement is invoked.

In dealing with the Pharisees and their teachings we should never let Christ's words about their teachings be far from our minds:

But he answered and said unto them, WHY DO YE ALSO TRANSGRESS THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD BY YOUR TRADITION? (Matthew 15:3)

And honour not his father or his mother, [he shall be free]. THUS HAVE YE MADE THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD OF NONE EFFECT BY YOUR TRADITION. (Matthew 15:6)



When we consider the fact that religious Jews would frequently face situations where they had two or even three consecutive days to observe, one of which was a weekly Sabbath, then it becomes obvious how CONTRIVED the rule about postponing Atonement and the other three Holy Days (Trumpets, First Day of FoT, and the Last Great Day) really is! When you realize that some of those other days to be observed will at times be fast days that will be observed on a Sunday, then this becomes even more obvious. When GOD says that a specific day is to be observed on a Friday or on a Sunday, THEN they look for ways to "postpone" that day to another day of the week. But when THEIR OWN TRADITIONS frequently place any number of religious days on a Friday and on a Sunday, THEN that's no problem at all!


Is there really anybody in the churches of God out there who still cannot see THE UTTER HYPOCRISY in trying to "postpone" the days that GOD commanded to be observed?

Let me now state something very, very plainly. See if you can understand this.


Can you understand this?

No human being, be he a Jew or be he a non-Jew, has ever had the power or the ability to "postpone" a year! To "postpone" a year, even by just one single day, is something that no human being is capable of ever doing!

Years are determined by the movements of the earth around the sun. In this process the equinoxes and the solstices are the only markers of the earth's journey around the sun. So what did Hillel II actually do when he decided that in certain situations the year is to be "postponed" by one or two days ... did he just stop the earth in its tracks for one or two days? Obviously not! But UNLESS somebody is actually able to stop the earth in its tracks, it is simply impossible to "postpone" a year!

Let's get real!

Let's understand that when the Jews SAY that they are "postponing" the start of a new year, all they are in fact doing is PLAYING A CUTE LITTLE GAME! And it is a game that is played A THOUSAND TIMES OVER in the pages of the Talmud about hundreds of different subject matters. Over and over and over and over again we see the same game played throughout the Talmud, that God's REAL instructions are just explained away, and replaced by "pat answers".The postponement rules of the Jewish calendar are identical to the THOUSANDS of statements in the Talmud that "get around" clear instructions from God! They are an expression of precisely the same attitude and frame of mind as that which emerges from the pages of the Talmud. It is ALWAYS a matter making something acceptable that is at best questionable, and in many cases clearly not acceptable at all.

The postponement rules play exactly the same game, and they dance to the exact same tune.

GOD established the movements of the heavenly bodies. Those movements are NOT under our human control! Our sole responsibility in this regard is to establish as accurately and as faithfully as possible how those movements of the earth around the sun and of the moon around the earth progress! But we have NO POWER to decide where and when those circuits start and end! That is GOD'S PREROGATIVE! It is presumptuous in the extreme for us puny human beings to decide that we will "postpone" a year! Does God have to jump when we human beings decide to postpone a year? Just who do we think we are ... trying to POSTPONE movements that God has set in motion?

So here is the calendar GAME that the Jews play.

1) They try to establish the correct new moon conjunction. They get it wrong, because tradition forces them to use 2000-year old calculations which miss the actual new moon conjunction by as much as 15 hours.

2) But let's just assume that they had in fact established the correct time for the conjunction.

3) So they then look at whether or not that time actually suits them, or whether it will be rather "inconvenient" in certain respects.

4) IF they decide that the time they established is indeed "inconvenient", THEN they play a "let's pretend" game. Then they say: "Let's pretend that the present year will actually take one or two days longer than it will in fact take. That will allow us to start the next year on a more convenient day one or two days later. We know that our "postponement" will not have any effect on the earth's movements around the sun or on the moon's movements around the earth, but we can just pretend, can't we?"

5) Now when they come to the year after the one they postponed, then the very first thing they do is DROP THE PRETENSE! They do NOT pick up the ball where they started the last year! No, they say in effect: "Yes, we KNOW that we were only pretending that the previous new moon was postponed by one or two days. So we will NOW IGNORE whatever postponements we applied to the previous year, and we will calculate the new moon for the following year AS THOUGH NO POSTPONEMENT HAD EVER BEEN INVOKED BY US! After all, since our postponement had not really had any effect on the movements of the moon, therefore if we hope to retain the accuracy of our calculations, we had better drop that postponement right now and work out the next year as though no postponement had ever taken place."

6) And so in the course of a century the Jewish calendar will "postpone" the new moons by over 60 full days, and yet those 60 plus full days will be totally ignored in the calculations of all subsequent new moons. Those 60 plus days will in effect be as though they had never been, as far as the calculations of all future new moons are concerned. The whole thing (i.e. the postponement rules) is just one gigantic 'let's pretend" game; that's all it is.

That's a pretty neat game, isn't it? You want to play some more?

Frank W. Nelte