We are going to proclaim that the biblical new year has arrived based on reports of aviv (or abib) barley being found and the new moon sighting in the land of Israel (see https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=devorah%27s%20date%20tree and https://www.facebook.com/HaleviTeacher). Based on this report, Passover (Pesach) will occur on Sunday, March 28, 2021 with the first high holy day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread occurring on the following day (Monday, March 29, 2021). We will now discuss the reasons for our decision.
To be sure, some people may consider this to a borderline call this year, but the preponderance of evidence, in my opinion, is that this is the month of the aviv barley. (For more info on the biblical calendar and the biblical definition of “the month of the aviv/abib [barley]”, see my articles on the subject at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/teaching.html#feast). Here are the reasons that we have chosen to call this new biblical month the first month of the new year:
- As far as we know, Devorah Gordon and her team are the most experienced aviv barley searches currently operating in the land of Israel, and have been at this for some 20 years. We know and trust Devorah (along with her former husband, Nehemia Gordon), and were privileged to be part of their team in 2008. So we have a sense of how the barley search system works as well as the integrity of those involved.
- Based on my extensive understanding of the Scriptures on the subject of the biblical calendar (see my articles on the subject at the link provided above), for the first month of the biblical calendar to be called the month of the aviv, aviv barley must be found in the land of Israel at the beginning of the month. According to the above referenced reports, aviv barley has been found. True, there is not a lot of it, but it is there. Moreover, by the time Wavesheaf Day occurs in about three weeks, it is highly probable that there will be much more aviv barley.
- In the past, other people have proclaimed the new month based on the potential of aviv barley being found by Wavesheaf Day. We have rejected this notion for several reasons. First, it is our belief based on our study of the Scripture that for the month to be called “the month of the aviv” (a biblical term), aviv barley must already be present in the land of Israel by the first day of the first month. Second, if there is no aviv barley to be found by the first day of the first month, then there is no guarantee that it will be found in time for the Wavesheaf Day two or three weeks later. Maybe there will be enough aviv barley, may be there will not be. It is anyone’s guess. Why is this? Because the ripening of the barley depends on the weather, and no one can predict what the weather will do. If it is warm, then the barley will ripen; it it is cold, it will not ripen. This is why there needs to be aviv barley by the first day of the first month for it to be the month of the aviv barley. For example, in 2008 when we were in the land of Israel, we did not find aviv barley when we searched for it. Yet, there was a man who proclaimed that month to be the first month of the year based on the notion that the barley might be aviv by the middle of the month and in time for the Wavesheaf Day. As it happened that year, the barley was still not aviv when he thought it would be, and so his proclamation was false. For this reason, it is important that there be aviv barley by the first day of the first month for that month to be proclaimed the month of the aviv and, hence, the first month of the biblical new year.
- Why is it important for there to be aviv barley by the first day of the first month of the new year? Simply this. In ancient biblical times and according to Scripture, the Israelites were commanded to go up to Jerusalem (or wherever YHVH chose to place his name) to celebrate the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. They had to walk there. Depending on where they were coming from, this journey may have taken anywhere from several days to more than a week to make. If the new month was declared based on potential sighting, and not on the actual occurrence of barley at the beginning of the month, then there was the potential for a major problem for the Israelites. What if they prepared for the journey to Jerusalem, left their farms, made the journey only to find out that the barley still was not aviv? What then? They had to make the trek back home by foot, only to turn around a short time later and make the trip all over again when the barley was finally aviv. Such a situation is not an issue in our day of modern transportation, but in biblical times, this would have been a major economic inconvenience if not a debacle for many people. For this reason, the barley had to be aviv by the beginning of the first month.
- In ancient Israel, the Mishnah records that there was a whole process that occurred to determine whether the barley was aviv or not. This process was officiated over by the religious and political leaders of Israel. It involved many people and important protocols were followed to insure accurate information. Today, we do not have such resources at our disposal. Most of us are not in the land of Israel. We have to trust those who are there for accurate information. That is my wife and I went to Israel in 2008 to experience this process ourselves and to meet the people involved.
We realize that well-meaning people will have different opinions on some of the points mentioned above. This is where love and respect comes in. There is no need to criticize, slander or libel others who have different opinions. We are all doing the best that we can to live up to the light of truth that has been given to us. Truth is being restored to YHVH’s people in these last days (see Acts 3:21 and Mal 4:4–6) and this is a process that takes time involving one heart and mind at a time. As such, everyone is at a different place on the truth-restoration trajectory. So let us love and respect one another, even if someone has a different opinion than ours. At this point, I am reminded of Paul’s instructions in Romans 14,
Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things…Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for Elohim is able to make him stand.…But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Messiah.…Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.…Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of Elohim is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Messiah in these things is acceptable to Elohim and approved by men. Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. (Rom 14:1, 4, 10, 13, 16–19)