And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened bread to the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work. But you shall present a food offering to the Lord for seven days. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work.” –Leviticus 23:5-8
Today is a day of rest and according to tradition this is the day God parted the Yam Suf (Sea of Reeds, Red Sea) when Pharaoh chased Israel with murderous intent.
There is also a custom from Hasidic Judaism of having a Messiah feast on this day, or as it is called in Hebrew a Seudat Mashiach. My friend Sean Emslie has been working on a Seudat Mashiach for Messianic Jews. I don’t believe he has posted this on his blog, but you can find him at …toward a Messianic Judaism.
At the very least, this is a day for resting, perhaps rereading the Exodus story, extra study and prayer, family relaxation, and counting the omer for its 7th night after sundown.
I can’t help but wonder what it was like for those families who kept the festivals at the temple according to God’s Torah. It is doubtful that God’s ideal was ever realized with all of Israel’s families lodging or camping near Jerusalem the whole seven days. But we do read in Josephus of many families who did follow the festival laws. And even if it wasn’t everyone, still we get the idea from Josephus the crowds were huge (some say he exaggerates the crowds).
What would it be like to be staying near Jerusalem and enjoying a seven-day communal feast with psalms and temple ceremonies, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of fellow pilgrims? I think we will find out on an even larger scale in the Days to Come with Messiah.