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Why, on the day before Passover, are Shabbat services early?

  

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Rabbi Richler: Welcome. I'll be with you in a moment...

CH1954: This year1, why are services on the Shabbat before Pesach earlier?

Rabbi Richler: because you need to eat a meal on shabbat. a meal consists of bread or Matzah. however since it is the day before Passover, the Halachah is not to eat any matzah on that day (some people have the custom not to eat matzah the whole month before passover).

Rabbi Richler: so we must eat bread, and in order to eat bread it must be before the fifth halachic hour of the day (calculated with the Jewish calendar)

Rabbi Richler: therefore the services are earlier in order to allow people to get home and eat bread to fulfill the Mitzvah od washing for bread on shabbat*

[Ed. note: see also What happens when passover begins on Saturday night?]

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.

Footnotes

  • 1. 2008 - Passover begins Saturday night.

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Holidays » Passover » About

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Matzah
(pl. Matzot). Unleavened bread which is eaten on Passover, especially at the Passover Seder (feast), commemorating the Matzah which the Jews ate upon leaving Egypt. It consists of only flour and water and resembles a wheat cracker.
Passover
A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
Halachah
Jewish Law. All halachah which is applicable today is found in the Code of Jewish Law.
Pesach
Passover. A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.