Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

For Jews, An Almost-Last Supper, Jesus-Style

Does Passover ever begin the night before Good Friday?

Print Email
Maybe a Seder, definitely a minyan.(Wikipedia)

We don’t know if the Last Supper was a Seder, but that is what tradition holds, and it certainly would have made sense: a big dinner among Jews on a fine Spring evening. Also, three of the four Gospels state that it was a Seder, so there’s that.

This year, the stars (actually the sun and the moon) have aligned to give us the first night of Passover on Good Friday. If it fell one day earlier, then it would be an exact re-enaction of what may have happened in (we think) 33 C.E.: on Thursday, Jesus had Seder (the second Seder, like the second day of Rosh Hashanah, is an invention of the diaspora: Jesus wouldn’t have observed one); the following day, the crucifixion, Good Friday.

It made me wonder if in recent years this confluence ever had occurred: Erev Pesach falling on the Thursday night before Good Friday. But going back three decades, not only has the first Seder never been on this date—it’s never been on any Thursday. I’m hoping some more learned commenter can enlighten us as to why.

Oh well. We’ll always have Maundy Thursday, that most awesomely named of holidays. And by “we,” I obviously don’t mean “we.”

Update: That didn’t take long. Via Twitter, here are the days of the week on which the first day of Passover can fall. Friday is not one of them, which means that a first Seder can’t fall on a Thursday night.

Related: Jesus’ Final Passover [Slate]

Print Email

Not an expert, but isn’t there a calendrical rule that disallows festivals right before Shabbat that would otherwise result in three days of no cooking allowed?

Of course, said rule would have been implemented differently in Eretz Yisrael circa the time in question, so a Thursday night Seder might have worked.

Maybe it’s a function of the day-begins-at-sunset thing that was either not observed by the Romans or was later misunderstood by Christians? In which case Good Friday was actually a… um… Saturday?

…And I’m wrong again. Those rules are for when Erev Pesach falls actually on Shabbat — Saturday — not Friday night. :-)

Gregory and Julian says:

But during the time of the Last Supper the calendar was not yet mathematically fixed to disallow a Thursday night seder, right?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_calendar

Alexandra Karl says:

see and I always thought the big deal about the Last Supper was the window behind XP’s head, forming a natural halo…when really it’s an open door expecting Elijah..?

The second day of Rosh HaShanah is NOT like the “second day” of Passover (or the “second day” of Sukkot or Shavuot, for that matter). While the “second day” of the 3 festivals was created for, and only pertains to, the diaspora, the second day of Rosh HaShanah is observed in Israel as well as the diaspora and was created to avoid confusion.

The second day of Rosh HaShanah was created during the time when the new month was determined by a combination of both calculation and witnessing the New Moon. Since this could result in 2 days of Rosh HaShanah in some years and one day in other years (depending on when the witnesses appeared in Jerusalem, etc.), the second day was universally instituted to avoid confusion.

Ruth Schreiber says:

The second day of Rosh Hashanah is not an invention of the Diaspora-it is an ancient Rabbinic convention and Israel also keeps 2 days

Allan Nadler says:

The second day of Rosh ha-Shana is hardly “an invention of the Diaspora”. Rosh Ha-Shana is observed two days in Israel as it is in the Diaspora; as the Talmud classifies it, the two days of Rosh Hashana are one long day: yoma arichta. Only the three regalim, or pilgrimage festivals are observed for two days uniquely in the Diaspora. Also, many scholars believe that the crucifixion took place on Sukkot, not Pesach. How else to explain Palm Sunday. Less a Seder than a last dinner in a Sukkah.

ChaimBE says:

OK, let’s clear this up….

The Last Supper was NOT a seder.  Jesus is considered the passover (meaning the sacrificial lamb) and so would have died “between the evenings” right before the seder.  The lamb is not alive at the seder meal, correct?

Second, Christian tradition tries to fit 3 days and 3 nights between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning, but that doesn’t work.  (They also consider the first day of the week as the sabbath, even though Torah clearly states that Shabbat is the 7th day; so what can I say, the Church is math-challenged.)   Jesus said he would give only one sign to that generation that he was the Messiah, the sign of Jonah, “3 days AND 3 nights”, that’s 3 full days, not partial days.

So, if he was buried in the late afternoon, and resurrected 72 hours later, and when they came to his tomb early on the first day of the week he wasn’t there, then he had to have left at the end of Shabbat.  Count back three days, and that makes his death on Wednesday afternoon, and the seder meal of that year on Wednesday evening.  (So even if Thursday was verboten for the seder meal way back then (which I doubt), it would not have been a conflict.)

Another point, is that if Jesus was supposedly arrested, tried, etc. after the seder, do you think the Sanhedrin (the most religious Jews in the world) would convene to hold a trial on the first night of Unleavened Bread?  Do you see any of the events of that extremely busy night and day (what the Church calls “the Passion”) happening on a yearly Sabbath, a national holiday in Israel?  I think not.

So, how do we get “Good Friday”?  Well, it says in the Gospels that they wanted to finish up everything before the Sabbath, but the Christians think it’s talking about the weekly Sabbath, not considering that the First Day of Unleavened Bread IS a Sabbath. (Understanding the culture of a people is so important to truly interpret its historical writings.)

And you want final absolute proof?  Look at the rolls on the table in the Last Supper, that ain’t no matzoh!  If we can’t count on daVinci to know the truth (and cryptically communicate it to us), then who?   ;-)

Chag Samayach!

Lyman Busch says:

Jesus died on Passover, Nissan 14, 31 A.D. a Wednesday preperation day before the next day Nissan 15 the First Day of Unleavened Bread, Thursday, Gods first Holy Day of the Year, an annual Sabbath

Jesus died about three pm and was put into the tomb of Joseph of Arimathena before sundown so not to defile the Holy Day (thursday) The first annual Sabbath of the year which most historians and Christians can’t seem to get it, confusing an annual Sabbath for the weekly Sabbath of Nissan 17, and thinking there was only one Sabbath that week totaly without a clue of an annual Sabbath.(Nissan 15, first day of Unleavened Bread). They were and are still clueless with that one.

So Jesus was in the grave from Wednesday afternoon,Thursday, Friday and Saturday till about three pm. after being in the tomb 72 hours, on the weekly Sabbath before sundown, and was long gone before the first day of the week (Sunday) arrived, a total of three days and three nights.

Jesus took the Last Supper just after sundown and the start of Nissan 14 (The day before or Tuesday night according to Roman calender), but the start of the day of Nissan 14, Hebrew calender.

It is the (so called) traditional Christian churches that maintain their own traditions(wrongly) that can’t seem to read scripures correctly.

Lyman B

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

For Jews, An Almost-Last Supper, Jesus-Style

Does Passover ever begin the night before Good Friday?

More on Tablet:

The Most Important Thing Netanyahu Did in New York Wasn’t at the U.N.

By Yair Rosenberg — It was meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi