Passover On The 14th or 15th? (IId)

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Chapter 6 – 7

“At sunset, or ba erev,” according to Fred Coulter, “is a very short period of time. It begins when the sun appears to touch the horizon, and ends when the sun drops below the horizon. The total duration of its setting is no more than 3-5 minutes.” He added further. “The Hebrew phrase ba erev, or “at sunset,” designates the end of one day and the beginning of the next day.” (Chapter 4).

For the length of time for ben ha arbayim, he says, it varies depending on the season of the year. In the winter, ben ha arbayim is approximately 30-40 minutes. In the spring or fall, ben ha arbayim lasts from approximately one hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

According to Fred, “there can be no doubt whatsoever that ben ha arbayim comes after ba erev, or sunset.” And he kept on harping his conviction, “we have found irrefutable proof that ben ha arbayim— “between the two evenings,” or “between the setting-times”—begins immediately after the day has ended at sunset, or ba erev.”

If that is the case two lamb would be needed to be killed for the Passover, one for Exodus 12:6 ben ha arbayim and the other to satisfy Deuteronomy 16:6 ba erev.

Image result for pics passover oldBut four days earlier, Israelites were asked to choose only one Lamb. Exodus 12:3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth day of this month they shall take for themselves every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house. Now four days later, they have to sacrifice two. It’s a slight of hand to whip out another lamb which they didn’t have, another touch of Simon Magus! The Samaritans, together with most of today’s Churches of God (CoGs) communities today, also believe the same magic. It’s no surprise they came from the same homeland. They may fervently consider themselves as virgins, waiting, waiting, but they don’t realize they are being described elsewhere as “wretched” and “naked.”

Now on the subject of the true timing of when the quail arrived in the evening, the Rabbinic understanding is that the quail arrived in the afternoon, anytime when the sun moved passed its zenith, until sunset, which is the first phase of erev—this same period could be described as ben ha arbayim— “between the two evenings,” or “after noon and until nightfall.” During this time, it is daytime and the Israelites wouldn’t have any problem catching the quail, killing them, skinning and cleaning them, cooking and have them for food. There wouldn’t be any problem at all about keeping the Sabbath when it arrived a few hours later.
Besides flouting and stigmatizing the Rabbinic understanding of evening (erev), Fred Coulter analysis also redefines morning (bôqer) in Genesis 1:5 And the evening (erev) and the morning (bôqer) were the first day. Such a day is a full 24-hours day. And this 24-hour day are divided into evening (erev) and morning(bôqer), each could only be a 12-hour period. The full extend of time for evening (erev) is from noon to midnight; and the full extend of time for morning (bôqer) is another 12-hour period, from midnight to noon.


Up to Chapter 7 of Fred Coulter’s the Christian Passover, we can see Fred had quoted a lot from Everett Fox’s translation. So who is Everett Fox? And who are behind the Schocken Bible? Since Fred had quoted principally from Fox’s translation and the Schocken Bible we’ll take a deeper dive to find out more. Aren’t you curious? I am sure we all do.

Image result for Everett FoxEverett Fox spent years at Brandeis University as a college student, majoring in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. A husband of Jewish educator, Rabbi Cherie Koller-Fox (a Jewish feminist), he was described, at best, as a conservative Jewish scholar. Although he studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) of America in New York for only one and a half years at the Seminary, the influence from the reform-minded Seminary had a deep impact on him, as evidence showed in his translation of the Bible, published by Schocken Books. And they all teamed up to publish the Schocken Bible (described as an offshoot of the Buber-Rosenzweig translation), from which Fred Coulter quoted extensively.

The JTS seminary was started by Rabbi Zecharias Frankel (1801—1875) who was a leading figure in mid-19th Century German Jew. Known both for his traditionalist views and the esteem he held for scientific study of Judaism. Frankel was, ironically, at first considered a conservative within the nascent Reform Movement.

The Reform Movement advocates that Jewish law is not static, but rather has always developed in response to changing conditions. In his endeavour, Frankel amassed scholarly support which showed one must be open to a changing environment and developing Judaism in the same evolving fashion that the law should be reinterpreted, and as a way of restoring meaning to modern life.

Although the Jewish Theological Seminary of America was alleged to be a product of the Reform Movement, it claimed to be “a new rabbinical school” in New York City. There were power struggles between the two, but eventually the Reform Movement gained ground as the Seminary developed a new movement known as Conservative Judaism. This conservatism may not sound conservative—traditionalist, orthodox, conventional—but their Reform Movement were just only taking at a slower pace. Nevertheless the Jewish Theological Seminary became the primary educational and religious center of Conservative Judaism.

Amy EilbergThe central theme for the Conservative Movement is that Jewish Law shouldn’t be regarded as static, but “to reignite a fresh religious insight,” that Rabbinic Judaism be regarded as non-binding and that individual Jew should be regarded as autonomous, and that our perception of Judaism “should incorporate openness to external influences and progressive values” as the years unfold. Concurrently, examining Jewish history and rabbinic literature through the lens of academic criticism, it maintained that these laws were “always subject to considerable evolution, and must continue to do so.”

So from the beginning in the 1970s, the topic of women’s ordination was regularly discussed at JTS. A special commission (which consisted of 11 men and three women) was established by the chancellor of the Seminary to study the issue of ordaining women as rabbis. After years of discussion, the JTS faculty voted to ordain women as rabbis and as cantors in 1983. The first female rabbi to graduate from the school (and the first female Conservative Jewish rabbi in the world) was Amy Eilberg, who graduated and was ordained as a rabbi in 1985. The first class of female rabbis that was admitted to JTS in 1984 included Rabbi Naomi Levy, who later became a best-selling author and Nina Beth Cardin, who became an author and environmental activist. Erica Lippitz and Marla Rosenfeld Barugel were the first women ordained as cantors by JTS (and the first female Conservative Jewish cantors in the world). They were both ordained in 1987.

Image result for Rabbi Naomi LevySince March 2007, JTS has accepted openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual students into their rabbinical and cantorial programs. This is to uphold the Seminary’s non-discrimination policies for their new founded admission policy, without taking a stance on same-sex unions. JTS marked the first anniversary of the change with a special program. Since then, special programs were established to recognize the pluralism in the student body. In April 2011, JTS held a Yom Iyyun, or day of learning, about LGBTQ issues, and their intersection with Judaism. Joy Ladin, a transgender woman who teaches English at Yeshiva University, gave a talk about her life. Other programs included creating welcoming communities, and inclusive prayer, among others. It was sponsored by other Jewish social action groups to ensure that all other queer individuals are included in all sectors of Jewish life.

Image result for Joy LadinJoy Ladin has described her girlhood intuiting at a young age, viewing her assigned male identity as “false” as a child. At age eight, she began calling herself a “pacifist” in order to avoid combative play and athletics.
She received her PhD from Princeton University in 2000, her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1995 and her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 1982. In 2007, Ladin received tenure at Yeshiva University, and thereafter announced her gender transition. In consternation, the Yeshiva could only place her on 18 month paid leave, but with the aid of lawyers from Lambda Legal, Ladin returned to work at Yeshiva University in 2008.

Since its birth, Reform Judaism had given themselves a new challenge. In an effort to avoid what they perceived as “bondage to Judaism” the Bible has to be reinterpreted in a different way from what the Rabbinic Jews believe. Thus the Hebrew term ben ha arbayim is reinterpreted as between the setting-times and erev as dusk. And bôqer, which Rabbinic Jews defined broadly as the time after midnight to noon, is redefined and restricted to daybreak or sunrise. So Passover and the Exodus were redefined to recapture the spirit of the ancient Samaritans, a spirit that of persistently looking at Jewish laws and issues not from a static viewpoint, but from an evolving angle.

Biblical and non-Biblical history has recorded a couple of evolving reinterpretations at various times to suit a new social and political environment, each has its own axe to grind:

(1) King Jeroboam — Being anointed King of the Northern Kingdom he quickly felt he needed a new place of worship, least his subjects could be influenced to pledge their allegiance back to the Kingdom of Judah based Jerusalem. For the convenience of his subjects, he chose two places: Bethel and Dan. And to differentiate from Jerusalem’s feasts, he moved the Feast of Tabernacles to the eighth month. Also, he made himself the high priest, whose action drove most of the Levites and others in the priesthood south to the Kingdom of Judah.

(2) The Samaritans — After Shalmaneser king of Assyria had taken the Ten Tribes into Exile, he took the surrounding heathens to resettle the land. But lions plagued the new settlers, so they needed a priest from the previous populace to come and teach them how to worship the God of the land. Having secured a returning priest, the new settlers “feared the Lord, but served their own gods, after the manner of the nations who carried them away from thence” (II Kings 17:33).
Image result for the samaritans pics

(3) Sanballat the Horonite — He was a Samaritan governor and was a chief opponent of Nehemiah and Ezra, and who, with some Jewish allies, constantly fought against Jerusalem and the teaching of Ezra. Failing to infiltrate Jerusalem in the rebuilding Temple activities, he sought consent from the Persian Court to build a similar temple on Mount Gerizim as Nehemiah had done in Jerusalem. And he had one of the grandsons of Eliashib, the high priest in Jerusalem, made an high priest in Mount Gerizim. He was Manasseh, who married a daughter of Sanballat, and was dispelled from Jerusalem for not keeping his lineage pure (Nehemiah 13:28). The Mountain Gerizim was inserted into the Pentateuch to make the new mountain under their control as God’s sacred mountain.

(4) The Sadducees — the Sadducaic sect claimed they drew their name from Zadok, the first high priest of Israel to serve in the First Temple, with further claims they were the “sons of Zadok,” descendants of Eleazar, son of Aaron. Many of the Pharisees were also priests and both participated in the Temple and in the Sanhedrin, so there were intense rivalries battling each other for centuries. The Boethusians and the Herodias had strong blood ties and were close compatriots of the Sadducees.

(5) The Karaites — Anan ben David (715 – 795 or 811?), a nasi, a prince, from a family of exilarchs, the leaders of Babylonian Jewry, was the founder of the Karaite movement. His followers were, at first, called Ananites, but adopted Karaism as their movement. They rejected the Oral law as divinely inspired and because many of their other beliefs were similar to the Sadducees, some claimed they were descendents from them. Nehemia Gordon is a prominent Karaite today among English-speaking audience.
Image result for Abraham Geiger

(6) Reform Judaism — Abraham Geiger (1810 – 1874) was a rabbi in Germany, considered the founding father of the Reform Movement. Emphasizing Judaism’s constant development along history and universalist traits, Geiger sought to reformulate a new form of Judaism in what he regarded as a religion compliant with modern times. And so he did, splitting Judaism further in varied forms: Reform, Conservatiive, Progressive, Liberal, Humanistic and Reconstructionist.

The Orthodox or Rabbinic life faced many challenges since the Industrial Revolution and were subjected to numerous scrutiny among the majority of Jews living in the diaspora at large. And soon their claim as sole traditional theological authority to Torah Law and practice were not sustainable over time. This gave rise to demand for changes and reforms in various guises, adding sin to sin. In Isaiah 30:1 the Sacred Text says, “Woe to the rebellious children,” saith the Lord, “that take counsel, but not of Me, and that cover with a covering, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin . . . 9 that this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord.

Image result for consuming fire picsAnd in Exodus 32:9 And the Lord said unto Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiffnecked people.10 Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them.”

And in Deuteronomy 9:3, “Understand therefore this day that the Lord thy God is He who goeth over before thee as a consuming fire.”

Could this wrath of “a consuming fire” that were destined for other people in ancient times turned around for His people by the same Lord in our modern era?

~ by Joel Huan on August 5, 2019.

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