How to Determine the Month of the Aviv


For those that desire to keep Yahweh’s holy feast days throughout the year, the question of determining the month of the aviv (the first month of the year) has become a contentious issue. Some use the equinoxes, some use the aviv barley in Israel, others use a combination of the two, and others use a fixed date each year.

Yahweh’s calendar is so simple until we start adding to the Word. Then it becomes a subjective mess no matter what method is used. Of course, this is the adversary’s way; confuse the issue, add to the Word, shadow box, misdirect, etc.

The Aviv Method

We know Yahweh has given us directions in Scripture as to how to determine the first month. The equinoxes are not among those directions. We know the first month must have aviv in the fields.

Deuteronomy 16:1  Observe the month of the aviv, and keep the Passover unto Yahweh your Elohim: for in the month of the aviv Yahweh your Elohim brought you forth out of Egypt by night.


In all instances where aviv is used along with the word “month” it is preceded by the article, haaviv (See Exodus 13:4; 23:15; 34:18). This identifies the month/moon as the one in which the aviv appears in the fields. This identifier is crucial in determining the first month of the year. Without aviv there is no first month. That is why Yahweh inspired it to be written into the text. The equinox alone cannot yield such a determination. Notice, also, that it is the “month” of the aviv, not the “months” of the aviv. A 13th month cannot be added if the there is aviv in the fields just prior to the next new moon. That would mean that not only would that 13th month have aviv, but the next one would have to have it as well since the first month in which the Passover is held must be the month of the aviv. (Note: Please see Appendix A for an explanation of the procedure to follow when aviv is found in two different months).

During the last few days of the 12th month inspectors should go into the fields to inspect the barley. If no barley is found to be aviv, then a 13th month is added to the calendar. If aviv is found prior to the next new moon, then that new moon begins the moon/month of the aviv. If we ignore that aviv and add a 13th month, then we are ignoring Yahweh’s sign that it was truly the first month.


This raises the question of exactly what is aviv? Yahweh’s next direction gives us the answer. His second most important direction is found in Leviticus 2:14;


And if you offer a grain offering of your firstfruits unto Yahweh, you shall offer for the grain offering of your firstfruits aviv dried by the fire, grain of the field.


Aviv is only possible when the grain (barley) has developed to the point where it can be parched or dried by fire and eaten. Barley that is not yet aviv will disintegrate when parched.


The word aviv, according to Hebrew lexicons, means “green, that is a young ear of grain” and “fresh, young barley ears”. Therefore, we must look for barley that is still green, but which has enough dough inside the seed to allow successful roasting in a fire without disintegration. Barley that has turned golden or tan and dried is no longer aviv (green and tender).


Why barley? Because that was the first grain ready for harvest at the time of Passover in Israel. The firstfruit offering of aviv needed to come from the barley harvest. That is the grain Israel offered to Yahweh throughout their history in the land as many references attest to. It is also the grain that was aviv just prior to Israel’s exodus from Egypt.


Exodus 9:31  And the flax and the barley were smitten; for the barley was aviv, and the flax was in bloom.


The third most important direction is found in Leviticus 23:10-11;


Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When you come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf (omer) of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 

And he shall wave the sheaf before Yahweh, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 


This is a grain offering to Yahweh on behalf of the nation and it must be grown in the promised land. As we saw in Leviticus 2:14, the grain offering must be aviv. Yahweh is directing His people to offer a sheaf (omer) of grain that is aviv. This offering was offered during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It would be offered about 2-3 weeks after finding it just prior to the new moon of the first month.


An omer can be a bundle of grain still on the stalk or it can be a dry measure of about 2.3 quarts of grain. That is about enough to make a large loaf of bread. In other words, this offering does not require a great deal of aviv.


This year, 2019, the aviv was found in Israel by all aviv search groups, but the Jewish groups would not accept it because there was not enough of it in the fields they searched. Notice Yahweh does not say here or anywhere else in Scripture that the aviv must come from a field that is 70-80% aviv. That is a man-made Jewish rule that confuses the issue. It is similar to one of those traditions Yeshua spoke of that causes the Jews to break Yahweh’s commandments (Matthew 15:1-9). It is on par with the Talmudic rule of not being allowed to carry a handkerchief on the Sabbath.


All search groups this year only searched for aviv wild barley. Notice that Yahweh does not say the wave sheaf must be from wild barley. It is simply barley that is grown by farmers in the land. This issue of rejecting domestic barley in favor of wild barley is another man-made rule that confuses the issue.


If these two rules (the quantity of aviv above and beyond one omer and only using wild barley) are discarded, then all the aviv searchers would be in agreement and would all acknowledge the new year was about to begin. However, because both of those man-made rules where adhered to, mass confusion resulted and half the search groups declared the following new moon Aviv 1 and the other half declared a 13th month must be added.


Some have expressed concern about what happens in Sabbatical years, or times of famine when there is no aviv. That should not matter since throughout Israel’s existence they faced such matters, but were still required to offer the wave sheaf. In the case of Sabbaticals, aviv barley that grew of itself was available. It could certainly be used to determine the first month since that only involves seeing it in the fields. It is not clear what they did for the wave sheaf offering or for the two loaves of bread offered on Shavuot since those involve reaping the harvest. Yahweh certainly required them all, but He also required Sabbaticals. One had to override the other as in the case of circumcision on the Sabbath.


As for famine, it would most likely be brought upon the nation for their disobedience. So was their captivity out of the land in which case they could not keep any feasts there. However, Yahweh promised them that if they would obey, they would be blessed.


Deuteronomy 28:1  And it shall come to pass, if you shall hearken diligently unto the voice of Yahweh your Elohim, to observe and to do all His commandments which I command you this day, that Yahweh your Elohim will set you on high above all nations of the earth: 

2 And all these blessings shall come on you, and overtake you, if you shall hearken unto the voice of Yahweh your Elohim. 

3 Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. 

4 Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your kine, and the flocks of your sheep. 

5 Blessed shall be your basket and your store


Some do not want to be tied to Israel in any way concerning the calendar even though that is Yahweh’s holy land and where He says the aviv is to be found to determine the first month. They do not want to have to rely on technology for aviv reports since technology may not be available in the future. Yet, we will rely on technology now for a host of other reasons, even concerning the calendar. We rely on online programs for Feast dates and the internet for getting new moon sightings from out of state when we can’t see it in our locations. We rely on cell phones to gather all sorts of data on people, calendar issues, Sukkot reservations, etc. If the time comes when technology is no longer available, then and only then should we move to a system that is no longer founded upon Scripture, ie; using the equinoxes.

Some have raised the question of how the new year was determined before Israel entered the land since they did not have access to the aviv in the promised land. How did the patriarchs determine the beginning of the year?


My question would be, ‘Did the patriarchs even need to know when a new year began?’ If so, for what reason? There were no feasts to keep. One does not need to know when the new year begins for agricultural reasons. There were no records kept that began with a new year. It wasn’t until Yahweh brought Israel out of Egypt that the start of a new year needed to be known. That information was necessary so Passover could be kept in the first month year after year. Therefore, Yahweh personally told Moses which month was the first month of the year (Exodus 12:1-2). Prior to that, Moses had no knowledge of when to begin a new year unless he used Egypt’s pagan calendar.


It has been proposed that the Egyptian’s used the equinox to determine the new year because the great pyramids are built on an east/west line and the equinox casts a shadow that runs directly east to west. This, however, is not quite true. The pyramids have a slight counterclockwise tilt to them which puts them out of alignment with any shadows an object might cast during an equinox (Secret to Great Pyramid's Near-Perfect Alignment Possibly Found). Also, in 2017, the Egyptian New Year was on September 11, not in the Spring and not in conjunction with any equinox.



The Equinox Method


There is absolutely nothing in Scripture telling us how the vernal equinox relates to the Feasts. The man-made rule that says Passover must fall after the vernal equinox so it doesn’t fall in winter confuses the issue. This rule was made because some mistakenly believe the Feasts need to be kept in their appropriate astronomical season; those seasons being demarcated by equinoxes and solstices. That belief comes from a mistranslation of the following verses.


And Elohim said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: Genesis 1:14


These are the feasts of Yahweh, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons. Leviticus 23:4


But at the place which Yahweh thy God shall choose to place His name in, there thou shall sacrifice the Passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou came forth out of Egypt. Deuteronomy 16:6


Let the children of Israel also keep the Passover at his appointed season. In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, you shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall you keep it. Numbers 9:2-3


It is believed that the words “season/seasons” in these verses refer to spring and autumn, but that is not the case. The words in bold are from the Hebrew word “moed” and mean “appointed time”. These verses have led many to believe that Passover must be kept after the vernal equinox in the “season” of spring and that Sukkot must be kept either after or partially at the autumnal equinox so it occurs in the fall. The Hebrew word “moed” does not carry the meaning “season” as in spring, summer, fall and winter. It can mean “season” as a general time period as in Numbers 28:2;

Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, and my bread for my sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savor unto me, shall you observe to offer unto me in their due season.


This verse refers to the daily sacrifices and offerings that were made day after day and not in any particular astronomical season. The words “due season” are misleading. A better translation is, “at their appointed times” as in the NASB and other translations. The same is true of the four references cited above.


Each Feast is and has a special appointed time. The appointed time for Sukkot is the 15th day of the 7th month. The appointed time (moed) of Sukkot is not fall. The appointed time (moed) of Yom Teruah is the first day of the 7th month, not fall. The appointed time of Passover is the 14th day of the first month, not spring.


The Bible only speaks of two seasons (summer and winter). Therefore, when the new moon of Abib 1 is seen, summer begins. If the new moon is seen on March 10th, for example, then summer begins before the man-made demarcation of spring (the vernal equinox). If Passover falls before the vernal equinox in this case, it will be in the season of summer, not winter.


Another verse using the faulty translation “seasons” is Psalm 104:19;


He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knows his going down.

Since the moon has an extremely minimal effect on astronomical seasons and that over the time span of thousands of years (The Moon's Effect on the Seasons), this translation is wrong. The Hebrew word for seasons is moadim. It should be correctly translated as appointed times. The sun also has a minimal effect on astronomical seasons. It is the tilt of the earth that causes seasons.

Yahweh made the moon as the primary marker in determining when the appointed times/Feast days are to be held. The new moon in conjunction with the aviv should be the only Scriptural factors needed to determine which day is Aviv 1. The sun merely tells us when Aviv 1 starts and ends via its setting. It does not tell us which day is Aviv 1. Nor can the vernal equinox determine Aviv 1.

I hope you are beginning to see how these man-made rules and traditions distort the calendar.


Genesis 1:14 is one of two primary verses that are used by equinox proponents. Let’s examine it further.


And Elohim said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons (appointed times), and for days, and years: 


There is no mention of any equinox in this verse.  Yet, we are told that the sun determines the seasons and the years via the equinox. The light of the sun is for a sign. The equinox is not a sun sign that can be directly seen in the sky. Moses never saw an equinox. It is merely an invisible point in time that takes place 2,197 miles south of Israel as the sun crosses the equator.  Also, it is not when day & night are equal. That actually happens 2-3 days earlier than the vernal equinox and is called the equilux.

The sun starts each appointed time when it sets and the moon starts every month and year by the first light of the new moon.

Yahweh gave us the “light” of the sun as a sign for the appointed times. When we see that light or see that light disappearing, then we see the sign. The same is true of the light of the moon.  There is no such sign with any equinox or solstice.

Knowledge of the equinoxes goes way back in time and other ancient civilizations may have used them in their calendars, but that does not mean Yahweh’s people used them to determine the calendar. We especially do not find that to be true based on Genesis 1:14.


The autumnal equinox is said to be mentioned in Exodus 34:22.


Exodus 34:22 - And you shall observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end (tequphat hashanah). 


“At” is in italics because it is not in the Hebrew text. If tequphat really means equinox, the lack of a preposition in Hebrew leaves us in the dark as to how the equinox relates to Sukkot.


Is it “at, near, before, after, or during” Sukkot? Since we are not told, equinox proponents appeal to history, primarily the Talmud, where it simply says the year is intercalated if one of the reasons for intercalation is the lateness of the equinox.


That, in itself, does not tell us how the autumnal equinox relates to Sukkot. The notes that explain the Talmud explain that to mean if the equinox falls after Sukkot, then intercalation is necessary so the festivals would fall in their “due seasons”. In other words, their tradition says Sukkot must fall in the autumn which means it the last day of Sukkot must not precede September 23rd. Again, the Bible does not mention autumn, only summer and winter. A Sukkot that precedes the equinox by two days as it does this year (2019) still falls in the Biblical summer. Bringing autumn into the calendar only confuses the issue.


Also, the Talmud is quite clear when it says they can only intercalate if there is a second reason to do so such as there being no aviv or the fruit trees not being ready. In other words, they could NOT intercalate based on the equinox alone. So, Talmudic Jews use both the aviv and the equinox to determine the first month. Modern Jews no longer use that method, but have a fixed calendar based on the Metonic Cycle. The addition of a 13th month in that method is fixed regardless of aviv or equinoxes.


Another passage used to support the equinox method is Exodus 23:15-16;

You shall observe the feast of unleavened bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of the aviv (for in it you came out of Egypt), and no one shall appear before me empty. And the feast of harvest, the first fruits of your labors, which you sow in the field; and the feast of ingathering, at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field.


It is believed that “the end of the year” should be translated as “the going out of the year” and that it is marked by the autumnal equinox whereas the “return of the year” is marked by the vernal equinox.  If the latter is true, then the autumnal equinox would mark the going out of half the year.  Just as Yahweh’s lunar year returns on Aviv 1 and “goes out” on the day before Aviv 1, so too should the solar year ‘return” on the vernal equinox, but “go out” the day before the vernal equinox. There is no going out of any year at the autumnal equinox unless one chooses to believe the entire second half of the year is the “going out of the year”.

Israel’s agricultural year is “going out” after Sukkot and “returning” when the winter rains come. Once the rains come, the farmers go out to plow and sow their fields for the next year’s crop. I believe this is the year referred to in verse 16.

Also, when the rains come the Biblical Summer ends and Winter begins (Jeremiah 8:20; Song of Solomon 2:11).

Some say the aviv will always be present using the equinox method because of the sun’s heat at the vernal equinox. The equinox does not bring forth the crops. Yahweh does with the aid of the rain and sun. He can choose to bring forth the aviv before the equinox or even long after the equinox as in the case of fields in northern Israel.

Deuteronomy 11:11 - But the land, where you go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinks water of the rain of heaven: 

12 A land which Yahweh your Elohim cares for: the eyes of Yahweh your Elohim are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year. 

13 And it shall come to pass, if you shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love Yahweh your Elohim, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, 

14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, and your wine, and your oil. 

15 And I will send grass in your fields for your cattle, that you may eat and be full. 


The equinox is nothing special as it relates to the crops. They get plenty of sun before the equinox to aid in their growth. The fact that Yahweh brought Israel out of Egypt at the time when barley was aviv shows that the aviv is not tied to the equinox. The plague of hail that destroyed the barley in Egypt took place in late February or possibly very early March.

This year (2019), the aviv was found prior to the new moon of March 7 (USA sighting) because Yahweh brought much rain to Israel. By the time the wave sheaf was to be offered there was exponentially more aviv. The harvest was ready soon after. Postponing the first month causes the harvest to take place over six weeks later. That puts the harvest at risk for a variety of reasons (weather, wild fires, war, animals eating it, etc.).

It is suggested that the barley could be harvested before the wave sheaf is offered as long as the harvest was not eaten from (Leviticus 23:14). Yet, that seems to defy the example given to us in Scripture whereby Yeshua fulfills the wave sheaf as the firstfruits, but no one could be harvested (resurrected) prior to him being offered. This is not a problem to an unbelieving Jew, but it should be a big problem to those who love Yeshua. It should teach us that the harvest cannot begin until the wave sheaf has been offered.

Believing the barley can be harvested before the wave sheaf is offered is also contrary to both the Mishnah and Josephus’ writings. According to both sources, no farmer could harvest his field prior to offering the omer.

“The Mishna further teaches with regard to the five grains: And it is prohibited to reap them prior to the omer offering. The Gemara asks: From where are these matters derived? Rabbi Yo?anan said: It is derived by means of a verbal analogy between “the first” written in conjunction with the new crop: “You shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest” (Leviticus 23:10), and “the first” written with regard to ?alla: “Of the first of your dough you shall set apart a cake for a gift” (Numbers 15:20). Just as the obligation to separate ?alla applies only to bread prepared from the five grains, so too the prohibition against reaping the new crop prior to the omer offering applies only to crops of the five grains.” Menachot 70b:11,


"But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day they do not touch them. And while they suppose it proper to honor God, from whom they obtain this plentiful provision, in the first place, they offer the first-fruits of their barley, and that in the manner following: 251They take a handful of the ears, and dry them, then beat them small, and purge the barley from the bran; they then bring one tenth deal to the altar, to God; and, casting one handful of it upon the fire, they leave the rest for the use of the priest. And after this it is that they may publicly or privately reap their harvest. They also at this participation of the first-fruits of the earth, sacrifice a lamb, as a burnt-offering to God.." Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, book 3, chapter 10,


Yahweh’s calendar is so simple and the method for selecting the first month is not subjective, but objective when the commandments and traditions of men are not permitted to influence it. Finding aviv is totally objective which is why all aviv searchers agreed they found aviv this year (2019). All that is required is grain that can be parched. The amount of aviv needed for the wave offering is totally objective; one omer. The location of the aviv is totally objective; the land of Israel. All three criteria were met in March of 2019, prior to the new moon of March 7. That made Yahweh’s new year begin on March 7, 2019. To add a 13th month would cause the wave sheaf to be offered around April 22 or later depending on what count one uses for Shavuot. That is at least six weeks later. Plenty of time in which the already aviv barley can be destroyed or fall to the ground as seed.

As a matter of fact, that is exactly what happened. Reports went out from Jewish sources in Israel prior to the sighting of the April new moon. The reports said the barley heads were breaking off and falling to the ground because the barley was dried and fragile. This was reported two weeks prior to their upcoming omer offering day.




Since we are not told in Scripture how the vernal equinox determines the first month or how the autumnal equinox determines when Sukkot falls, proponents of the equinox method are standing on the traditions and commandments of men. However, we are told in Scripture about the aviv and how it aids the sun and moon in determining the first month. Choose which method is Scriptural and choose wisely.


Appendix A

The question has been raised as to which month is "the month of the aviv" (Deuteronomy 16:1). For example, in 2001 the aviv was sighted on March 11; the new moon was sighted on March 26. Since there was 15 days of aviv in the fields before the new year was proclaimed on March 26, why wasn't the previous month the month of the aviv? The answer lies in Deuteronomy 16:1, Exodus 34:18, and Leviticus 2:  

Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto Yahweh your Elohim: for in the month of Abib Yahweh your Elohim brought you forth out of Egypt by night. Deuteronomy 16:1

The feast of unleavened bread shall you keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the time of the month of the aviv: for in the month of the aviv you came out from Egypt. Exodus 34:18

And if you offer a grain offering of your firstfruits unto YHWH, you shalt offer for the grain offering of your firstfruits aviv dried by the fire, even aviv beaten out of full ears. Leviticus 2:14 

Yahweh required Israel to keep Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the month of the aviv and aviv needed to be available for the wave sheaf offering (omer offering). If the new moon was sighted on March 26, 2001, and that presumably started the second month, then Passover would have been on March 9, 2001. Since the aviv was found on March 11, 2001, Passover had already passed. By default, the next Passover would be the Passover of the month of the aviv. The new moon of March 26, 2001 would start the new year and Passover would fall on April 8, 2001.

A rule that can be inferred by Deuteronomy 16:1 is that if the aviv is found after the 14th day of a month, the following new moon would begin the new month/year and Passover would be on the 14th day of that new month/year.

Let's look at another example of sighting aviv before sighting a new moon. Aviv was found on March 30, 2011. The new moon was sighted on April 4, 2011 which would make April 18 Passover. The 14th day of the previous month (Passover) would have been on March 18, 2011. Since the aviv was found after March 18, by default the next new moon would be the new year followed by Passover on the 14th day of that month. The month of the aviv would start on April 4, not on the new moon of the previous month.

Another question that arises from the first scenario above; Wouldn't the aviv no longer be aviv by the time the March 26 new moon was spotted? The answer is possibly. It all depends on the location of the field, the weather, etc. Even if the barley was no longer aviv, we would still need to add a 13th month since there was no aviv available for the wave offering.