This was an interesting year (2020) for Pesach and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. You see, we had a double Sabbath this year based on the calendar and where the first day of Unleavened Bread fell in the week. The Feast began at sundown on Thursday and went until Sundown on Friday. Then, at sundown Friday the weekly Shabbat began.
There are times when this happens around other Feast Days, too. I love it because it is a great blessing when we are prepared for it and don’t allow it to stress us that there are two in a row. If you watch well in advance for this to happen, it can give you the opportunity to enjoy two days of rest and pure shalom in a row, basking in the presence of Yahweh. All it takes is being prepared.
In the scriptures we read about Unleavened Bread’s first and last days described as such, Exodus 12:16 KJV “And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.”
Here you can see that we are told to not do any work – which means our employment or regular job, but we can do that which is needed for meals. This shows on the first and seventh day of Unleavened Bread we are permitted to do some cooking so that everyone can eat. Friday, which is our normal Shabbat preparation day, we can cook for the Feast day if we like.
Now, because of how the commandments for Unleavened Bread are written, some will say you can only cook for the Feast day, and not for Sabbath meals. This would imply a direct rule to prepare for both days in advance. The only information to back this teaching up, though, is that of oral tradition. Yet it is something to be considered. Therefore, I suggest you cook the day before the Feast day’s Sabbath – and cook for BOTH DAYS. Or at least cook as much as you can for both days and store it for when meal-times come along. Please remember this is a suggestion, not a commandment or rule. Yet it is a reasonable conclusion based on the wording in scriptures for the Feast day, and in knowing that we are not allowed to cook on Shabbat.
A quick note here on another alternative that many do. They will cook for the Feast Day, yet FAST for the Sabbath. For Passover, they would cook for their big Pesach Feast which would be eaten on the first night of Unleavened Bread, and on Friday they would cook light and easy dishes during the day for their daily meals. Then a bigger meal for the dinner that ends the First day and ushers in the weekly Shabbat. All day Shabbat they will allow children to eat cold meals – such as cereals and sandwiches – and fast all day themselves. Many either cooking a meal after sundown, or not eating again until Sunday morning’s breakfast.
Personally, a large part of my daily job is household responsibilities and food preparation. When a Feast day comes along, even though we may be “allowed” to cook according to what scripture says, I choose NOT to cook so that I, too, may enjoy the rest and relaxation as well as the joy of Feast Days. I do not want to spend my day just busily finishing up making food for others to enjoy when I could be Feasting on His word and The Spirit along with those I love. Such a blessed time for us to shut off the rest of the world while we connect with Him.
This year, on Wednesday I prepared menu ideas and grocery lists so that we could make a quick run for a few last-minute items for the Feast. Then on Thursday, I prepared our large Passover Feast, as well as Friday’s brunch. Then I set to getting most of the meals done for Fridays Shabbat dinner and Saturday’s Shabbat Brunch and dinner. I planned and created meals that would be easily reheated or eaten cold. That way, my entire day of Holy Convocation could be spent as I wished.
As far as the house, all the cleaning was started the Sunday before the Feast Day as well. Starting well in advance meant everything was done by Thursday night at Sundown! The only thing we needed to consider was dishes that would accumulate during the Feast Day. We have no dishwasher, so we tried our best to use as few dishes as possible. Then simply washed what we used right away. Except for the pots and pans. Those I just put water in, set aside with a lid and would wash Saturday night or Sunday morning. Over the years I have heard a lot of sisters mention how much they enjoy a double Shabbat because, when they prepare ahead for the entire two days, they get to delight in their family with such wonderful peace – like a mini-vacation.
The Feast Days should not become a burden for us, nor should they be a point of deep worry. They should not turn into a legalistic day of rules and regulations that must be followed as a witness of compliance. They are to be memorials, holy convocations – done in memory of the events with which Yahweh blessed His people in ancient times. There are reminders in each and every Feast Day, and we ought to be able to set aside precious time to recognize and discover for ourselves and with friends or family exactly what those messages are. It will build our relationship with Yahweh and strengthen our faith in the journey upon which we have each ventured.
When the next double Sabbath comes along, I pray you will remember these suggestions to make your days precious in every way you desire.
Blessings and Shalom
For more ideas on that topic of clean-up and making Shabbat easier, please see our article titled:
A few additional ideas may be found in our article titled:
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
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