Stewarton Bible School

Part 2 ... File 7 of 10

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Question 7

Do all Jews use the popular Jewish calendar?


No. The Karaite Jews, though an integral part of the Jewish nation, do not use the popular Jewish calendar because of the human traditions mentioned at the answer to Question 6 and other reasons besides. I quote from their calendar booklet published by the Universal Karaite Religious Council in Israel.

"Why do the Rabbanites differ from us (Karaites) in regard to the dates of their holy days? In ancient times, all Israel sanctified the new moon according to actual observance, by eye-witnesses. (Genesis 1:14; Psalm 104:19). However in the year 801 C.E., the Rabbanites abandoned this scriptural custom and introduced a calendar reform, which included the following innovations:
    a) PASSOVER (Pessah) can never fall on Monday, Wednesday or Friday: and it must coincide with the day of the 9th of Av of that year.
    b) SHAVUOTH can never fall on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday and it must coincide with the second day of Passover...
    c) ROSH HASHANAH (Feast of Trumpets) can never fall on a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday, and must coincide with the third day of Passover...
    d) KIPPUR can never fall on Sunday, Tuesday or Friday, and must coincide with the fifth day of Passover.
    e) PURIM can never fall on the Sabbath (Saturday), Monday, or Wednesday and must coincide with the sixth day of Passover.
All of these so-called "rules" have no basis in the Scripture, and are inventions of the Rabbis. In contrast we Karaites continue to base our calendar on the actual observance of the new Moon. Therefore the holy days fall on different days."

The reader will see from the above quotation that the Karaite Jews have also rejected the human traditions found in the popular Jewish calendar and have returned to the ancient method of selecting the 1st day of each month on the evidence of a first sighting of the new moon. The Karaite calendar, though printed in advance, also makes an allowance for a first sighting of the new moon before starting each month. To determine the 1st day of each month the Karaite calendar makers, I understand, base their calculations on sophisticated mathematical tables which even their rabbis find difficult to explain. If the reader wishes to contact them for more details on how their calendar is set up, their address is: The Karaite Jews in Israel, P.O.B. 101 Ramlah, 72100. ISRAEL.

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Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
Updated: August 1998