I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Is the 16th of Nisan the Date of the Crucifixion?: A Hebrew Catholic Insight

One reads about many theories about the date of the crucifixion. By a study of the writings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov and the Breslov literature it would seem that the date of the crucifixion was the 16th of Nisan and not the 14th or 15th as believed by most. I have thought about this for a long time and believe that the Breslovers have preserved the true date of the crucifixion of the Tzadik. Thus the resurrection occurred on Sunday the 18th of Nisan. The number 18 in Judaism signifies Chai (Life). [see Breslov Rabbi Yehoshuah Starret's Brelsov Commentary on Esther] This is connected to the mystery of Mordechai as a type of the Messianic Tzadik and the festivals of Purim, Passover and Lag B'omer (the 33rd Day of the Omer counting).

The crucifixion could not have occurred on Nisan 15 as this was a day of strict observance. The early Jewish Christians in Babylon and other places re-assimilated back into Judaism bringing with them many Passover customs of the Jewish Christian community. The keeping of the double Passover Seders by Jews in the Diaspora was introduced by these Jewish believers. The vigil of Nisan 15 was kept as the traditional family Seder whereas the vigil of Nisan 16 was celebrated with a Jewish Christian Seder followed by foot washing and the Hebrew Mass in imitation of Jesus' original Last Supper.

Jesus also kept the vigil of Nisan 15 on a Wednesday evening as the strict traditional Passover Seder with his mother and relatives. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich describes Yeshua with his mother and relatives and other disciples celebrating a ritual meal in which people were dressed in special clothes (some Jews dress up in travelling clothes for the Seder) and eating lambs the night before the Last Supper in an Inn. These lambs had been killed in the Temple earlier on Wednesday afternoon of Nisan 14 (Nisan 15 begins at the sundown). The Last Supper on the following night (Thursday Evening Nisan 16) was a celebration of the Passover with less strict rules with ones friends. Groups of men would gather in what was called Havurot- gatherings of 10-15 men- to celebrate the second night of Passover together. Even today many Jews still hold second or third Passover celebrations with their havurah. These celebrations are less strict and adapted to the group's wishes.

On Nisan 18 the early Jewish Christians celebrated the Messianic Passover Feast (Meal of the Messiah/ Easter)in the afternoon at 3 in imitation of when Jesus appeared to the Apostles in the Cenacle after his Resurrection. This celebration was preserved in secret by the Jewish Christians who had reentered the Jewish community and later was continued by the Jewish mystics known as the Nistarim (Hidden Ones). The Baal Shem Tov (the founder of Chasidism) then revealed this Meal of the Messiah to his Chasidic followers and it was transferred to the Third Meal on the Sabbath and to the Last Day of Passover.

The Last Day of Passover is connected to the mystery of the splitting of the Red Sea and the Song of Miriam. I suspect that the early Jewish Christians celebrated a Marian Feast on the Last Day of Passover using the mystical traditions regarding Miriam at the Sea and Miriam's well with her fulfilment in the New Miriam Mother of the Messiah. Her mystical name was Zohar. This feast was transferred later to the Fourth meal of Sabbath and the first of the Week called Melaveh Malka (Farewelling the Queen) and to the custom of drawing healing water from wells at the end of Sabbath when all wells became Miriam's wells. The 15th of Av was also a Marian feast celebrating the Birth and/or Assumption of Our Lady by the early Jewish Christians that was brought into Judaism as a rather mysterious women's festival.

Rabbi Yeshoshuah Starret writes in "A Breslov Commentary on the Megillah Esther" using Mordechai as a type of the crucified Tzadik and Haman as the Evil One (Satan):"...All along, Haman's goal had been to separate the Jewish people from Mordekhai, from the Tzaddik (see "The Decree Against Morchekhai"). But now, he saw that his plan was not working. The Jewish people were returning to Mordekhai enmasse. So his advisors had a plan which would have the same effect- make Mordekhai a martyr. Ascribe to him superhuman powers, symbolised by the 50-cubit high gallows, made from a tree; crucify him and elevate him to the status of a god.

And when "Haman" raises Mordekhai, it has two possible effects. Some of us see the Tzaddik and the lessons he meant for us as beyond reach. Because who can reach the 50th level, who can hope to "climb the tree", except for the Tzaddik...And then there are those who turn their backs and say: " To hold a human being in such awe, to 'raise him on a tree,' to say his teachings are God's Word and the only way to reach Him- that's idolatry!" But such a complaint is just a pretext to deny the truth (Likutey Halakhot, Minchah 7:3, ibid,Hefker 3:2), to cover our real intention: That we ourselves covet that awe to promote our own self-idolatry (Likutey Moharan I,10:4-5) so we who won't humble ourselves, who won't see the Tzaddik so high, choose to blind ourselves with the veil of our own conceit. We close our ears to his inspiring lessons rather than reject our vanity...Because it was the 16th of Nisan, the first day of the Omer-counting, when Haman wanted to hang Mordekahi on the tree (Rokeach, Esther 6)...So "Haman" thought Omer-counting time was ideal to "raise the Tzaddik" and disunite all the Jewish "points'. But Mordekhai the Tzaddik revealed the Day of Purim, a day which the light of Lag B'omer shines...(In any given year Purim and the 33rd day of the Omer occur on the same day of the week)...It was after three days of inspiring the children and the sinners- on the 16th of Nisan, the third day of the fast- when the scholars came to learn the laws of the Omer, that Mordekhai revealed its true meaning (Megillah 16a). The Omer which was in the Temple brought on that day, symbolises the element of renewal...".
Thus it would seem that within Judaism itself has been preserved a tradition that hints that the crucifixion occurred on the 16th of Nisan.

Barbara Frale a historian and researcher on the Shroud of Turin claimed to have discovered and read Jesus' burial certificate on the Shroud. "The Times" of November 21 2009 reports: "A Vatican scholar claims to have deciphered the "death certificate" imprinted on the Shroud of Turin, or Holy Shroud, a linen cloth revered by Christians and held by many to bear the image of the crucified Jesus.Dr Barbara Frale, a researcher in the Vatican secret archives, said "I think I have managed to read the burial certificate of Jesus the Nazarene, or Jesus of Nazareth." She said that she had reconstructed it from fragments of Greek, Hebrew and Latin writing imprinted on the cloth together with the image of the crucified man...

However Dr Frale, who is to publish her findings in a new book, La Sindone di Gesu Nazareno (The Shroud of Jesus of Nazareth) said that the inscription provided "historical date consistent with the Gospels account". The letters, barely visible to the naked eye, were first spotted during an examination of the shroud in 1978, and others have since come to light...Like the image of the man himself the letters are in reverse and only make sense in negative photographs. Dr Frale told La Repubblica that under Jewish burial practices current at the time of Christ in a Roman colony such as Palestine, a body buried after a death sentence could only be returned to the family after a year in a common grave. A death certificate was therefore glued to the burial shroud to identify it for later retrieval, and was usually stuck to the cloth around the face. This had apparently been done in the case of Jesus even though he was buried not in a common grave but in the tomb offered by Joseph of Arimathea.

Dr Frale said that many of the letters were missing, with Jesus for example referred to as "(I)esou(s) Nnazarennos" and only the "iber" of "Tiberiou" surviving. Her reconstruction, however, suggested that the certificate read: "In the year 16 of the reign of the Emperor Tiberius Jesus the Nazarene, taken down in the early evening after having been condemned to death by a Roman judge because he was found guilty by a Hebrew authority, is hereby sent for burial with the obligation of being consigned to his family only after one full year". It ends "signed by" but the signature has not survived.

Dr Frale said that the use of three languages was consistent with the polyglot nature of a community of Greek-speaking Jews in a Roman colony. Best known for her studies of the Knights Templar, who she claims at one stage preserved the shroud, she said what she had deciphered was "the death sentence on a man called Jesus the Nazarene. If that man was also Christ the Son of God it is beyond my job to establish. I did not set out to demonstrate the truth of faith. I am a Catholic, but all my teachers have been atheists or agnostics, and the only believer among them was a Jew. I forced myself to work on this as I would have done on any other archaeological find."..."

It would seem that the discovery by Barbara Frale would make the year of the crucifixion anywhere from 27-31 AD depending on which dating method one accepts for the reign of Tiberius Caesar. The gathering and selecting of the lambs on the Great Sabbath before Pesach of Nisan 10 in the original Passover in Egypt would also happen on Sabbath Nisan 10 in the years 28, 31 and 34 AD. During these years Good Friday would also have been on Nisan 16 and the Resurrection on Sunday the 18th of Nisan. St Luke tells us that Jesus began his ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius. However some scholars date Tiberius' reign from 8AD and others from 14 AD. 

I suggest that Barbara Frale has reconstructed the death notice incorrectly and that in fact the number 16 on the Shroud refers to the 16th of Nisan in the Jewish calendar. Barbara Frale assumes that the word Iber on the Shroud refers to Tiberius but in fact it refers to a Jewish leap year in which an exta month of II Adar is added. This is mentioned as 'Iber Nisan d'Iber','Ibur Shanah' and 'Shanah m'ubueret' in the Talmud in Pesachim 56. The word Iber literally means pregnant. Thus the year of the crucifixion was on a Jewish leap year which had 13 months. This would thus link us into the connection with Purim and the Book of Esther where the number 13 plays great significance. 

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich mentions that Yeshua was also born on a Jewish leap year (a year with 13 months) on the 12th of Kislev. This could be evening of the 12th of Kislev 3753 (25 November in 9 BC or possibly 12 Kislev 8 BC). In this scenario Yeshua was probably conceived on Nisan 1 in 9 BC (3752). However she also says that it occurred over 7 and a bit years before the calendar date which would make the date of his birth as 12 Kislev 3754. However these are speculations and in fact the crucifixion could have occurred in 28, 31 or 34 AD on which Good Friday could have occurred on Nisan 16th. However if King Herod did die in 1 AD (which is said to be a leap year) as claimed by some than it is possible that Yeshua was born on 12 Kislev 1 BC and the crucifixion occurred in 34 AD. But a scenario where Yeshua is born in 2 BC and died in 33 AD is also possible.

I believe that the Years 28 or 31 or 34 AD are the more likely candidates allowing for the three year ministry of the Tzadik Messiah that included three Passovers and him dying on the fourth Passover. In each case the first Passover of Jesus ministry would be in 24 AD or 28 AD or 30 AD based on the 15th year of Tiberius (His reign could have started anywhere between 8AD to 14 AD and Yeshua could have been born anywhere between 9 BC to 1 BC). However the dating of the Jewish calendar at this time was not the same as today so other factors may have come into play such as the dating of Nisan 1 which was based on lunar observation rather than a strict following of the calendar. Also leap months were added to years as they became needed based on the seasons. However I am convinced that whatever year the Crucifixion occurred it was on a Friday the 16th of Nisan in a Jewish leap year.

10 Nisan- Sabbath-selecting of the lambs

11 Nisan- Saturday sundown to Sunday sundown

12 Nisan- Sunday sundown to Monday sundown

13 Nisan- Monday sundown to Tuesday sundown

14 Nisan- Tuesday sundown to Wednesday- Killing of the Passover Seder lambs in the Temple.

15 Nisan- Wednesday sundown to Thursday sundown. First Day of Unleavened Bread. First night of the strict ritual Seder Meal (Wednesday evening). Daily lamb sacrifices (for Passover) at 9 am and 3pm in Temple. Passover Meal with family.

16 Nisan- Thursday sundown to Friday sundown. Last Supper as a Passover Havurah meal with friends (haverim) including the eating of Matzah and the drinking of 4 cups of wine. Preparation Day for the Sabbath within Passover (special feast day). First Day of the Counting of the Omer for Pharisees.

17 Nisan- Sabbath within Passover. This is a special feast day. 2nd Day of the Counting of the Omer.

18 Nisan- Saturday sundown to Sunday sundown- Resurrection of Jesus at 3am. 3rd Day of the Counting of the Omer.

Note 1: Isaac Newton believed that the crucifixion happened in 23 April 34 AD, however there seems to be some disagreement whether the Friday was a Nisan 15th or 16th in 34 AD. Another  date for the crucifixion was Friday 16th of Nisan 3791 [31 AD] which seems to correlate to Julian Friday April 27th 31 AD or Gregorian Friday April 25 31 AD (taking into account that this was a leap year (Iber Shanah). Using the on-line date converter of kuluach.org will give the date of Iyyar 16 but this doesn't take into account that this is a leap year. However it could have occurred on Friday 16th Nisan 3788 (28 AD). The first Pesach of Yeshua's ministry would then be in 24 AD. He probably began his ministry after he returned from the desert for the High Holidays beginning on Tishri 1 in 23 AD in this scenario. His time in the wilderness or desert for forty days would have been after 15th of Av (his mother's birthday) and Rosh ha Shanah in 23 AD which would be in the 15th Year of Tiberius according to the 8AD dating.

Note 2: Blessed Anne Emmerich mentions that fish was served along with lamb at the Festal Supper celebrated at Simon's Inn the night before the Last Supper. Christian tradition in art and literature has always associated a fish with the Last Supper and one of the famous Grails was a fish platter. It is Jewish tradition to serve fish at festal meals.

Note 3: A whole separate article could be written on the number 18 in the Jewish tradition and its connection to the power of the Resurrection. This power of the Resurrection (Life/ Chai) manifesting from Eternity through the power of the Holy Spirit is alluded to in the 18th word of the Torah "hovering" (merachafet)over the "waters" (mayim). The woman flying with the two great wings of the Eagle is also alluded to here in this passage. Lag B'Omer also occurs on Iyyar 18 and the light of the 33rd Day of Omer Counting (lag=33=lamed+gimel)is also connected with the resurrecting power of Life. 18 is also significant in the apparitions of Our Lady at Garabandal.

Nisan 16 and the Wave (Tenufa) and Heave (Terumah) Offerings: A Hebrew Catholic Insight