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                                      By Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

Who has the authority to sanctify the New Moon?             for one congregation, but not for the other
The answer to this question is extremely important          congregation. What day should the traveler
because the sanctification of Rosh Chodesh                  celebrate as Pesach? Since Pesach is called
determines the date for all of HaShem's festivals           "moed" by HaShem; it is literally an appointment
except Shabbat (Sabbath).                                   with HaShem! The day we celebrate is extremely
                                                            important if we are to meet with the G-d of
Who has the authority to determine how to count             Abraham.
the omer and thereby determine the date for Hag
Shavuot (Feast of Weeks)?                                   Paul declares that the Jews are special when it
                                                            comes to the Word of HaShem:
Who has the authority to declare that an event
should be remembered by the declaration of a                  Romans 3:1-2 What advantage, then, is
binding festival, like Chanukah (Feast of                     there in being a Jew, or what value there in
Dedication) or Purim (Feast of Lots)?                         circumcision? Much in every way! First of
                                                              all, they have been entrusted with the very
Who has the authority to declare what HaShem                  words of God.
meant when He said "choice fruit" and "leafy
branches", as He did in:                                    The words of HaShem were both written and oral.
                                                            Without the oral we would have no way of
   Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:40 On the first day               understanding the "choice fruit" or "leafy
   you are to take choice fruit from the trees,             branches" of Leviticus 23:40. We would not know
   and palm fronds, leafy branches and                      what a succah (tabernacle) looked like. We would
   poplars, and rejoice before HaShem your                  not be able to properly celebrate Chag HaSuccoth.
   God for seven days.                                      Romans 3:1-2 declares that HaShem entrusted
                                                            Jews with His word. So, our search for answers
These questions all deal with what Jews call                has been narrowed to Jews. The Jews must
halakah, which means a way of walking. We need              sanctify Rosh Chodesh and Jews must be the
to know the answers to these questions if we are to         interpreters of the words of HaShem. Since each
properly worship and obey HaShem. If we say that            of our questions has an impact on Temple and
each individual or each congregation has the right          synagogue worship, it is important that we
to answer each of these questions, then HaShem's            understand who had the authority over Temple
congregation lacks unity and displays chaos to the          worship:
world. Imagine the effect on a traveler if he arrives
in town to celebrate Pesach and each of the                   Romans 9:4 The people of Israel. Theirs is
different congregations in that town have assumed             the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory,
the right to sanctify Rosh Chodesh. The traveler              the covenants, the receiving of the law, the
discovers that the calendar date set by the                   temple worship and the promises.
Pharisees is ignored and that the two
congregations in town have two different dates              The People of Israel were responsible for the
because it was cloudy over one congregation and             Temple worship. How do you suppose they knew
not over the other. The clouds prevented the                what dates to celebrate HaShem's festivals, His
sanctification of Rosh Chodesh, on the first day,           moedim? Do you think they used the dates
determined by a congregation in Colorado Springs,           people? Why do you alone sit as judge,
or by the Sanhedrin in Israel?                              while all these people stand around you
                                                            from morning till evening?" Moses
We can come closer to answering these questions,            answered him, "Because the people come to
if we can figure out how the Hakham Shaul                   me to seek HaShem's will. Whenever they
answered them. Hakham Shaul was a Pharisee:                 have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I
                                                            decide between the parties and inform them
   Philippians 3:4-5 Though I myself have                   of HaShem's decrees and laws." Moses'
   reasons for such confidence. If anyone else              father-in-law replied, "What you are doing
   thinks he has reasons to put confidence in               is not good. You and these people who come
   the flesh, I have more: Circumcised on the               to you will only wear yourselves out. The
   eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the              work is too heavy for you; you cannot
   tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in               handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will
   regard to the law, a Pharisee;                           give you some advice, and may HaShem be
                                                            with you. You must be the people's
Since Paul was a Pharisee, we know what dates               representative before HaShem and bring
they celebrated because these are the dates printed         their disputes to him. Teach them the
on every Jewish calendar in the world! The                  decrees and laws, and show them the way to
Pharisees have also written down what fruit we              live and the duties they are to perform. But
should use when the scriptures tell us to take              select capable men from all the people--men
"choice fruit". They have written what we are to            who fear HaShem, trustworthy men who
take when the scriptures say "leafy branches".              hate dishonest gain--and appoint them as
                                                            officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties
Well, just because the Apostle Paul was a Pharisee          and tens. Have them serve as judges for the
does not mean that he did everything the Pharisees          people at all times, but have them bring
did, does it? Oh, yes it does! Let’s see how we can         every difficult case to you; the simple cases
prove this. I have made the assumption that Paul            they can decide themselves. That will make
obeyed Yeshua. So, let's see what Yeshua                    your load lighter, because they will share it
commanded:                                                  with you. If you do this and HaShem so
                                                            commands, you will be able to stand the
   Matitiyahu (Matthew) 23:1-2 Then Yeshua                  strain, and all these people will go home
   said to the crowds and to his disciples: "The            satisfied." Moses listened to his father-in-
   teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in             law and did everything he said. He chose
   Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do                capable men from all Israel and made them
   everything they tell you. But do not do what             leaders of the people, officials over
   they do, for they do not practice what they              thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They
   preach.                                                  served as judges for the people at all times.
                                                            The difficult cases they brought to Moses,
To understand the authority given to the Pharisees,         but the simple ones they decided themselves.
we need to understand the authority of Moses.
Let's look at what Moses did:                             Moses took disputes like: "Who should sanctify
                                                          Rosh Chodesh", and he made a determination. I
   Shemot (Exodus) 18:13-26 The next day                  doubt that he decided in favor of the congregation
   Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the          in Colorado Springs. In fact, we know that the
   people, and they stood around him from                 authority rested with the Pharisees in the
   morning till evening. When his father-in-law           Sanhedrin:
   saw all that Moses was doing for the people,
   he said, "What is this you are doing for the

The first command given to Moses and Aaron as                   Rosh HaShana 25a Our Rabbis taught:
representing the highest authority in the nation,               Once the heavens were covered with clouds
was the sanctification of the New Moon. From                    and the likeness of the moon was seen on the
this, it is derived that the authority for sanctifying          twenty-ninth of the month. The public were
the new moon and for establishing the order of the              minded to declare New Moon, and the Beth
months lies with the highest authority in the                   din wanted to sanctify it, but Rabban
nation, namely the Bet Din Gadole, the Sanhedrin:               Gamaliel said to them: I have it on the
                                                                authority of the house of my father's father
   Rosh HaShana 22a MISHNAH. IF A                               that the renewal of the moon takes place
   FATHER AND A SON HAVE SEEN THE                               after not less than twenty-nine days and a
   NEW MOON, THEY SHOULD BOTH GO                                half and two-thirds of an hour and seventy-
   [TO JERUSALEM], NOT THAT THEY CAN                            three halakin. On that day the mother of Ben
   ACT AS JOINT WITNESSES1[1] BUT SO                            Zaza died, and Rabban Gamaliel made a
   THAT    IF   ONE   OF   THEM    IS                           great funeral oration over her, not because
   DISQUALIFIED THE OTHER MAY JOIN                              she had merited it, but so that the public
   WITH SOME OTHER WITNESS. R.                                  should know that the Beth din gadole had
   SIMEON, HOWEVER, SAYS THAT A                                 not sanctified the month.
   ARE ELIGIBLE TO TESTIFY TO THE                            Yeshua commanded us to do things the way that
   APPEARANCE OF THE NEW MOON. R.                            the Pharisees told us to, in Matitiyahu 23:1-2. This
   JOSE SAID: IT HAPPENED ONCE WITH                          would explain why Paul was so eager to tell us
   TOBIAH THE PHYSICIAN THAT HE SAW                          that he was a Pharisee. This would also explain
   THE NEW MOON IN JERUSALEM ALONG                           why Paul did everything that the Pharisees
   WITH HIS SON AND HIS EMANCIPATED                          commanded. This passage also tells us that
   SLAVE, AND THE PRIESTS ACCEPTED                           Yeshua celebrated the festivals on the dates that
   HIS EVIDENCE AND THAT OF HIS SON                          were set by the Pharisees, and that he celebrated
   AND DISQUALIFIED HIS SLAVE, BUT                           them in the way that the Pharisees commanded.
   WHEN THEY APPEARED BEFORE THE                             Yeshua followed the oral law that was given to
   BETH DIN THEY ACCEPTED HIS                                Moses.
   AND DISQUALIFIED HIS SON.                                 It is, therefore, clear that each individual,
                                                             congregation, or synagogue can not set the dates
   GEMARA. R. Levi said: What is the reason                  for the festivals. Each individual, or congregation,
   of R. Simeon? — Because it is written, and                can not celebrate HaShem's festivals their own
   the Lord spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the                way, they must do it the way that they were
   land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be                commanded by the Pharisees.
   unto you the beginning of months, which
   implies, ‘this testimony shall be valid [when             Yeshua was not making up something new when
   given] by you’. And the Rabbis? — [It                     He commanded us to obey the Pharisees. Yeshua
   implies], this evidence shall be entrusted to             was reiterating what HaShem had said through
   you.                                                      Moses:

This authority is reiterated in:                                Devarim (Deuteronomy) 17:8-13 If cases
                                                                come before your courts that are too
                                                                difficult for you to judge--whether
                                                                bloodshed, lawsuits or assaults—take them
                                                                to the place HaShem your God will choose.
                                                                Go to the priests, who are Levites, and to the

   judge who is in office at that time. Inquire of           law tells us how to carry out the commands of the
   them and they will give you the verdict. You              written law.
   must act according to the decisions they give
   you at the place HaShem will choose. Be                   By following the Torah's commands and by
   careful to do everything they direct you to               obeying Yeshua, the Living Torah, we avoid the
   do. Act according to the law they teach you               confusion that would be created if each individual,
   and the decisions they give you. Do not turn              or congregation, made their own determinations. If
   aside from what they tell you, to the right or            we do it HaShem's way then we can be assured
   to the left. The man who shows contempt for               that we will be keeping our appointments with
   the judge or for the priest who stands                    HaShem. By doing things HaShem's way we will
   ministering there to HaShem your God must                 be worshipping Him the way He wanted to be
   be put to death. You must purge the evil                  worshipped.
   from Israel. All the people will hear and be
   afraid, and will not be contemptuous again.               There are some significant ramifications to what
                                                             we have learned:
The only judges associated with the Levites were
those who were part of the Sanhedrin which met in            1. Chag Shavuot is determined by counting fifty
the court of hewn stone, in the Temple. The                     days from Nisan 16. This implies that we will
Sanhedrin was made up of those who were zealous                 celebrate this feast on the date set by the
for the law. In Yeshua's day, those who were                    Pharisees. We will not be celebrating as the
zealous for the law were called Pharisees. Because              Sadducees suggested, on the seventh Sunday.
they were zealous for the law, they did not act as
individuals, they acted as a group. When                     2. We will observe Rosh Chodesh as sanctified
Chanukah and Purim were established, they were                  by the Pharisees, according to the current
established by those who had the authority of the               Jewish calendar. We will not be having every
Pharisees.                                                      individual, or congregation, declaring their
The Pharisees, in the Sanhedrin, continued to
sanctify Rosh Chodesh, to institute festivals, and           3. We will not be calling Christmas and Easter
to make binding interpretations of the Torah until              Holy days because these days were never
the fourth century. In the fourth century, Rabbi                declared "holy" by the Pharisees.
Hillel II codified and sanctified all the Rosh
Chodeshim (New Moons) until such time as the                 4. We will not be celebrating the       HaShem's
Sanhedrin would be reestablished in the third                   Passover feast with "communion"      whenever
Temple. This created the calendar of Rosh                       the local congregation wants.        We will
Chodeshim and moedim that is used by Jews                       celebrate Passover on the evening    that ends
throughout the world today. This calendar,                      Nisan 14.
therefore, is the calendar that we should follow
because it was created by the authority of those             5. We will not be worshipping our own way on
who "sit in the seat of Moses".                                 Shabbat or on the festivals. We will be
                                                                worshipping according to the way HaShem
Rabbi Hillel, and the Sanhedrin, determined that                asked us to, as written in the Siddur (prayer
the oral law needed to be written down because it               book) and Machzor (festival prayers).
was in danger of being lost because of persecution.
The oral law contains the decisions of those who             6. We will eat kosher because this is what
"sit in the seat of Moses". The oral law tells us               HaShem commanded and the Pharisees
how to build a succah (tabernacle), what is "choice             concurred.
fruit", and what is a "leafy tree". In short, the oral

The list goes on and on. The bottom line is that we        copying of the Torah, that if a single letter were
need to be Torah observant because it is what              defective, the whole scroll became invalid. It
HaShem commanded and it is the way of those                became invalid because it would destroy the
who sit in the seat of Moses.                              world. The copying had cosmic significance.

                       ***                                 This same teacher / student chain also preserved
                                                           the pronunciation of the words and the proper
Much confusion comes from the lack of a teacher.           times to pronounce them. It also determined
The Torah is clear: Jews are to be a light to the          whether any particular student would learn
nations.                                                   everything or only the hints, so that only those
                                                           capable of grasping and passing on certain aspects,
Many Christians study the Bible and do things that         were entrusted with those aspects. Since the yod-
are not practiced by the Orthodox Jews. They,              kay-vav-kay name had such cosmic significance
therefore, conclude that the Jews are wrong and            and was pronounced only by the Kohen Gadole,
that they are right. Often they start new                  and only on the day when the Jewish people could
movements to propagate these revelations. In the           stand the incredible spiritual power that it
end, there is much confusion in the body.                  produced. To have pronounced the name on any
                                                           other day would have "fried" the people.
Jew study the oral as well as the written law. They
are so concerned that they follow EXACTLY what             The Name of HaShem is one of the Names which
HaShem wants, that they actually memorize the              is linked only to the higher world. To drag it into
law. This law is communicated to them by                   the lower world would be a total desecration of
teachers who memorized what was handed over to             what this Name is. This concept of the Names of
them by their teacher. This teacher / student chain        HaShem and the appropriate times to use them,
stretches all the way back to Mount Sinai when             was passed on from teacher to student. By the
Moses, the teacher, taught Aaron and Yehoshuah.            proper use of the Names, the pious ones could
The incredible accuracy with which the written             create miracles. The Sefer Yitzirah contains
word has been handed down to us is a direct result         various permutations of His Names and how they
of this student / teacher chain. Without this chain        were to be used. The Teacher would expose the
there would be no written Bible. In order to               student to this book, then explain the background
achieve this incredible accuracy, the teacher would        and tradition that went with it. Armed with the
convey the proper copying methods and laws to              written and the oral, the student could accurately
his student. This oral tradition allowed the student       reproduce.
to make each letter exactly the same as Moses
made it. Each made the strokes in exactly the same         No one wants to accurately fulfill the Torah more
direction and exactly the same size. Each counted          than the pious Jews, NO ONE! This means that
the letters. Each computed the numerical value of          the Jews themselves are the most convincing
the letters, words, and sentences. By counting             argument that they have the proper understanding.
these values, they insured that their copy was             For someone to come along, without a proper
exactly the same as the copy Moses made.                   teacher, and suggest that they are more pious than
                                                           the Orthodox Jew is arrogance and ignorance. The
The tradition also told them why certain letters had       use of the Divine names can not be properly
crowns and why certain letters were made in an             understood without a teacher and the oral
abnormal manner. The teacher taught the student            tradition.
why certain letters had to be very tall, very wide,
very narrow, or very small. Contained within the           So, go to the Orthodox Jew if you would like to
shapes of the letters was contained the cosmic             learn about The Name.
blueprint of the world. So important was the

This study was written by Hillel ben David
             (Greg Killian).
     Comments may be submitted to:

              Greg Killian
            7104 Inlay St SE
            Lacey, WA 98513

    Internet address:
  Web page:

             (360) 584-9352

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