How can Aviv 14 be on a Thursday when a calendar converter indicates that it cannot?

Email Received:

I came across your "Good Thursday" commentary. The one thing that did not seem to fit, however, is that Aviv 14 never appears to fall on a Thursday.

The calendar converter that I used is here: Using this calendar converter, the 14th day of Aviv (Nisan) is always either a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday. Is our weekday offset from the Hebrew calendar? Or how do you resolve this?

Ted's Response:

I am aware that Jewish calendars place Aviv or Nisan 14 on either a Monday, a Wednesday, a Friday, or a Saturday. There is a basic reason for this, and because of it the mathematical calendar is required to "follow the rules."

Basically, many Jewish rabbis have deemed that Yom Kippur (Tishrei 10) cannot fall on a Friday or a Sunday, nor can Hoshana Rabbah (Tishrei 21) fall on a Saturday. As such, Rosh Hashanah (Tishrei 1 = first day of the Jewish year) cannot fall on a Sunday, a Wednesday, or a Friday. Accordingly, this will force Aviv/Nisan 14 to be on a Monday, a Wednesday, a Friday, or a Saturday. Here is a chart showing the days of the week on which rabbis have said that special days on the Jewish calendar can fall:

Holy Days and Days of the Week

However, as far as I know, the fixed arithmetic Hebrew calendar was established by Hillel II in 358 A.D. In more ancient times, priests went outside at the beginning of the year, for a few nights, to determine the time of the new moon. They decided when it was Rosh Hashanah (Tishrei 1), and that established the days of the other important days of the year. One of these days was Aviv 14, on which there was a full moon.

Those priests long ago did not follow the more modern "rules" that Rosh Hashanah, and certain other important days, could not fall on certain days of the week. Furthermore, new moons and full moons, at any time of the year, can occur on any day of the week. So I see no restriction that the full moon and Jesus' crucifixion, during Holy Week, could have taken place on a Thursday.

Incidentally, since those ancient priests did not have a scientific means to know when the sun, moon, and earth were aligned, and therefore the moment of the new moon, a term for Rosh HaShanah came to be known as, "We don't know the day or the hour." Thus, in Matthew 24:36,42 and in Mark 13:32,35, when Jesus stated that the day and hour of His next appearance (Matthew 24:30,31; Mark 13:26,27) was unknown, He very likely was implying that this coming would be on a Rosh HaShanah. Since Rosh HaShanah = Yom Teruah traditionally is observed for two days, then we won't know the exact year, day, or hour of Jesus' appearance in the clouds to gather His elect believers at the Rapture.

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