Frank W. Nelte

November 1999

Unexpected 'Double Sabbaths' with a New Calendar?

The Jewish calendar includes a rule that "postpones" the start of the year to avoid the following situations:

- Atonement must not be on a Friday or on a Sunday

- Trumpets, 1st FoT and L.G.D. also not on a Friday or a Sunday.

HOWEVER: The Jewish calendar simply COULD NOT PREVENT double Sabbaths in the spring. It would have required an additional two days of the week on which the Day of Trumpets may not fall. It would have required that Trumpets may also not fall on a Monday (to prevent a 7th UB on a Friday) or on a Tuesday (to prevent a 1st UB on a Sunday).

That would have meant that the Day of Trumpets may never fall on:

-Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday.

Therefore, to avoid double Sabbaths completely (except for Pentecost) the Jewish rules WOULD HAVE HAD TO SAY that Trumpets (i.e. Tishri 1) may ONLY BE ON EITHER A THURSDAY OR A SATURDAY!


So the Jewish calendar has ALWAYS had "double Sabbaths" in the spring.

For the years 2000 - 2025 the Jewish calendar has the following situations:

- 5 times the Passover will be observed on a Friday evening and the First Day of Unleavened Bread will be a Sunday. That makes the day before this 1st Holy Day in the year a weekly Sabbath day. It also means that ALL the deleavening must be completed BEFORE THE PASSOVER, since the weekly Sabbath is not a day to do our deleavening. Also all the food preparation for TWO Sabbaths (i.e. for Saturday and Sunday) must be completed before Passover on Friday evening. A really busy Friday! Those 5 years are:

- 2001, 2005, 2008, 2021, 2025.

- 6 times the Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread will be a Friday. Since we aren't supposed to go and shop on the weekly Sabbath, therefore the Sabbath immediately after the 7th Day of UB basically forces us to have an EIGHTH Day of UB. Also the food preparation for the day AFTER the Holy Day (i.e. after the 7th Day of UB) must be done on the SIXTH Day of UB (a Thursday)! So for those years all the food preparation for the Friday and the Saturday must be completed before sunset on Thursday evening. Those 6 years are:

- 2012, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2022.

So 11 TIMES IN 26 YEARS the Jewish calendar has EITHER a weekly Sabbath just before the 1st Day of UB, OR it has a weekly Sabbath immediately after the 7th Day of UB.

With this background information let's now examine the "unexpected" situations that the calendar I have proposed will confront us with. Here they are:

- 4 times the Last Great Day will be on a Friday. This means that we would then stay A NINTH DAY at the Feast site. Those 4 years are: - 2000, 2007, 2020, 2024.

- 3 times FoT starts on a Sunday (i.e. on a Saturday evening). This means that we would all be at the respective Feast sites ONE DAY EARLY, again giving us a total of 9 days at the Feast site. Those 3 years are: - 2009, 2013, 2016.

- 2 times the Passover will be on a Saturday evening. This will require us to prepare everything for the Passover before sunset on Friday evening. However, we will still have all of Sunday before sunset to clear out any remaining leaven and to prepare for the 1st Day of UB. Those 2 years are: - 2001, 2004.

- 3 times Atonement will be on a Friday. This means that we prepare the food for after the Day of Atonement has concluded (i.e. what we will eat on Friday evening and on Saturday) on Thursday. Those 3 years are: 2004, 2011, 2018.

And that about sums up the "unexpected" situations this calendar proposal will confront us with for a period of 26 years.

Some people may not be aware of the fact that back in the 60's we frequently kept THE 7 DAYS OF UNLEAVENED BREAD AT A FEAST SITE! All 7 days were kept by the Church, with church services on every one of those 7 days (and two services on the Holy Days). My first observance of the Days of Unleavened Bread was in 1968 at Ambassador College.

In 1968 the 7th Day of Unleavened Bread was FRIDAY, April 19th. People who attended at various "Feast sites" all stayed an 8th day at the site they attended, because that 8th day was a weekly Sabbath. Extending a feast because of a weekly Sabbath coming into play is not without precedent, even in our age.

Viewed in this context, I don't believe that the 7 times in 26 years, which will require us to be a 9th day at the Feast site, present any kind of problem. So what if a weekly Sabbath necessitates that we spend 9 days at the Feast site?

In 2 Chronicles 30 King Hezekiah and the people kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread for 7 days, and after taking counsel they extended it by another 7 days (see 2 Chronicles 30:21-23). We, in our context, are here not speaking about "another 7 days"; we are only speaking about ONE additional day because of a weekly Sabbath.

The Jewish calendar has NEVER tried to prevent double Sabbaths in the spring, which could also be said to constitute "a hardship" (e.g. when the 1st Day of UB is a Sunday, then the Friday is an EXTREMELY busy day: preparing for the Passover that evening, completing all the deleavening before attending the Passover service, preparing all the food for TWO Sabbaths, the Saturday and the Sunday).

There is no reason why double Sabbaths should be prevented by means of postponements in the autumn either.

Frank W. Nelte