Insight 13 - The Significance of the Full Moon on the First Night of Passover
The full moon on 15 Nissan is a piece of evidence supporting the veracity of the Torah’s account of the Exodus
The first day of Pesach is the 15th of Nissan. The Torah tells us in verse 29 of Chapter 12 of Exodus, read in its context, that at midnight on the 15th, God slew the firstborn of Egypt. There must have been a great deal of activity that night. We are told in verse 31 that Pharaoh called to Moses and Aaron at night and told them to leave Egypt with the Children of Israel. We are told in verse 33 that the Egyptians – the Hebrew word for “Egypt” is used – urged the Children of Israel – the word for “people” is used – to leave. This urging is not stated expressly to have occurred at night but the context seems to indicate that. Pharaoh and the Egyptians must have needed to confer urgently during the night. And the Children of Israel, whilst confined to their dwellings (verse 22), must have had much to do.
I noticed a few years ago that the moon is full on the night of 15 Nissan – a fact not mentioned in the Torah or in any of our commentaries as far as I am aware. Of course, the full moon would have provided much-needed light to assist in the dramatic activities of the night, and even to some extent to provide light to the dwellings of the Children of Israel. When a judge finds a piece of evidence which neither of the parties has mentioned, but which accords strikingly with the version of one of them, he is likely to attach great importance to that finding. I do. For me, the fact that the moon is full during the night of 15 Nissan is a powerful piece of evidence supporting the veracity of the Torah’s account (1).
(1) See below "They Left at Night".
Podcast ChaiFM - Insights 11 & 13