Calendar of the Sadducees
Did you know the Sadducees always wanted to have Shavuot on Sunday? Join Rabbi David Sedley and examine the Sadducee calendar, including how the rabbinic and Sadducee calendars represented two entirely different worldviews.
Calendar of the Sadducees: Calendar of the Saducees
In this class we look at the evolution of the Jewish calendar, from the earliest times when witnesses would testify they had seen the new moon, to later when the rabbis calculated the orbit of the moon and the testimony was purely logistical, to the end of rabbinic authority and the fixed calendar. The transmission of the calendar also changed from virtually instantaneous bonfires to sending messengers — which created the second day of festivals outside Israel.
We look at why the Sadducees were so keen to mess with the calendar — why did they want Shavuot on Sunday?
We also look at different ways of counting the year — from the Exodus, from the reign of kings, from the Seleucid era and finally from creation.
And we end by learning how the rabbis decide the calendar, not Heaven.
Rabbi David Sedley lives in Jerusalem with his wife and six children. He was born and raised in New Zealand before making Aliya in 1992. He left Israel temporarily (for eight years) to serve as a communal Rabbi in Scotland and England and returned to Israel in 2004. He has translated Rabbeinu Yonah's commentary on Pirkei Avos and is the co-author of Sefiros: Spiritual Refinement Through Counting the Omer (both Judaica Press). Over the years Rabbi Sedley has worked as a journalist, a translator, a video director and in online reputation management. He also writes a weekly Torah blog on the Times of Israel - https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/author/david-sedley.