- Nisan 14
- The first of three mandatory feasts
The cycle of Mosaic festivals opens with the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread ( 1, 2, 3, 4). The Passover (*Pesach) takes place on Nisan 14 and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot) begins the next day on Nisan 15; which corresponds to the full moon of Nisan, the first month of the Jewish calendar, in accordance with the Torah (1, 2, 3, 4).
*The sacrifice of the Korban Pesach (קרבן פסח) comes first; then the seven-day celebration of the clean (חמץ-chametz free) household follows “after” the sacrifice.
Pesach is a spring festival. It did not start before spring. The observance begins on the 14th of Nisan on the night of a full moon after the vernal equinox. The tradition in ancient Israel, therefore, was that the 1st of Nisan would not start until the barley was ripe (cf. prophecy of Ezekiel regarding Nisan 1; cleansing of the future Temple cannot occur until the barley is ripe; i.e. without the presence of Humilty). Therefore, the presence of humility (שְׂעוֹרִים ,שְׂעוֹרָה-barley, the bread of the poor) is the test for the onset of spring.
אם אתם אוהבים אותי, הרי שתשמרו את מצוותי. פ
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
The barley had to be “eared out” (ripe with the ears of humility; one who hears, understands, and *obeys) in order to present a wave barley-sheaf offering of the first fruits according to the Torah. If the barley was not ripe an intercalary month would be added (Adar II; an extra thirty day month [delay] to give the barley time to ear out; i.e. added time for maturation).
*Obedience is our love language to the LORD our G-d (Adonai Eloheinu).
The first of three mandatory feasts:
Pesach is the first of the three mandatory feasts whereby all males in Israel were required to appear before Adonai in the place of His choosing; the two others are Shavuot and Sukkot (Exodus 23:14; 34:18-23; Leviticus 23:4-22; Deuteronomy 16:16). [According to the prophet Ezekiel in the future messianic kingdom there will also be three mandatory feasts. The observance of the two feasts of Pesach and Sukkot will continue to be mandatory, however, the feast of Shavuot will be replaced with a New Feast.]
Great prominence is given to the historical bearing of the Passover. The Feast of Unleavened Bread celebrates the one grand event that is the foundation of the whole history of Israel. It marks the miraculous deliverance of Adonai’s chosen people from destruction and from bondage, and the commencement of our existence as an elect nation and people.