Friday April 14th, Shabbat Hol Hamoed
Candles @ 7:15pm
Sunday 16th, April 7th Day Pesah
Candles @ 7:17pm
Monday 17th Morning Service @9:30am
Candles @ 8:14pm
Tuesday 18th Morning Service @ 9:30am
Festival ends 8:14pm
The core difference in Jewish Law as written in the Torah, between Festivals and Shabbat is that on Festivals one is allowed to cook on flames (ovens etc) that have been kept alight from before the Festival. It makes sense of course in that there is a limit to how much food one can prepare in advance for a large family. And in hot climates before the age of refrigeration preparing for Shabbat is one thing. But preparing for Shabbat and for two Festive days in the Diaspora, would put unreasonable strains on family catering. If it was tough then, it’s so much easier nowadays.
Yet the implication is that Shabbat is stricter and more significant than Festivals because we simply cannot cook on Shabbat at all. Indeed Yom Kipur is described in the Torah as the Shabbat of Shabbats. Yet most of us nowadays treat Festivals as more important. In our community more of us come to pray on festivals than on an ordinary Shabbat.
I guess it is because most Jews find the weekly timetable of Shabbat too much to cope with and so fall back on making more out of Festivals. Of course, you might suggest that it was fine to take two and sometimes three days off work in an agricultural society but in our modern societies only professional Jews or those retired or self-employed can take so much time off.
People decide for themselves how much they are willing to give Judaism priority in their lives. No one suggests its easy. It isn’t. But the rewards are not just spiritual. Getting off the treadmill, taking a break to spend time on one’s soul is incredibly beneficial to our souls, our families and one state of mind. It is not easy I agree. But its worth it in more ways than most people realize. If a medical doctor recommended it you’d do it!