The FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD (starting Tuesday the 11th of April, 2017 at evening, as the Jewish day begins at evening) is a 7-Day feast that follows the feast of Passover, and for me it is important for the many things that’s left unsaid, than for the things that’s known about it. One of the things that sets a Jew apart from others is the adherence to strict dietary regulations, the reason for which Kosher food, meals, shops, markets litter environments where you have large populations of Jews for instance. Besides the spiritual aspect of the feast of unleavened bread which I have severally tackled on my blog here and elsewhere, there is the dietary restrictions peculiar with this feast, the most notable of which is, that for the seven day period while the feast lasts only unleavened bread (without yeast) can be consumed. Indeed, anything that contains yeast, like bread, biscuits (cookies), doughnuts and the likes are also outlawed for the period while the feasts lasts. In many Jewish homes, different games are played involving children especially, who pick through the house removing anything leaven before the commencement of the feast.
The other part most non-Jews may not be aware of is the fact that the restriction goes further than just the consumption of leavened food, to include that of cereals such as wheat, corn, barley, sorghum, millet, oats, rye etc, as well as their products such as bread, biscuits, including malt drinks, beer and the likes i.e. anything that contains any of the aforementioned cereals (considered as first fruits), and others that you can remember, but that I failed to include. The restriction normally will predate the onset of the feast of Passover. The ideal is not to eat of any of those (first fruits) until it is consecrated before YAHWEH during the Feast of First Fruits (Pentecost), about fifty days from the Sabbath within the feast of unleavened bread. Most of these cereal crops begin to appear after harvest, weeks before the feast of Passover, talk more First Fruits; and because we aren’t in the kind of strict society like was obtainable in ancient Israel where they could restrict the consumption of the first fruits till they be presented and blessed for consumption, it was pertinent that a compromise be found such that these cereals may be consumed before they are officially presented before YAHWEH. Even in ancient Israel, those cereals were harvested by farmers whose crops were ready for harvest rather than leaving them to rot simply because the time hadn’t come for them to be presented to the priest, before YAHWEH. It is for this reason that YAHWEH instructed that on the (High) Sabbath within the feast of unleavened bread, there should be a WAVING OF SHEAF offering.
The sheaf in itself, isn’t the first fruit, but represents it only. After the High Sabbath day within the feast of unleavened bread, which incidentally falls on the 15th of April this year, the Head of the Assembly/Congregation/Mission will wave the sheaf before YAHWEH, and blessing it for the people. This is so that we can begin to eat of these cereals or first fruits before the actual presentation and official consecration during the feast of first fruits or Pentecost, fifty days from the day the sheaf is waved at evening, at the end of the Sabbath. However, it’s customary to delay the eating of the first fruits, just as with leavened bread till after the feast of unleavened bread. I am aware that some Messianic Jewish groups hold out on eating leavened bread and the first fruits until the feast of first fruits, either because they find it convenient to ignore the command concerning the waving of sheaf, or they misinterpret and misunderstand the intent and intendment.
Away from diet now, of the seven days meant for observing the feast of unleavened bread, only the first and the last days are marked out as Holy Convocations, meaning that apart from the fact that No (Servile) Work is to be done on them, we are also to converge in a single place of worship. On the other days (the second to the sixth, excluding the HIGH SABBATH on the occasions when they occur somewhere in between) however, we can go about our businesses. I will at this juncture also place a form of a reminder, that the feast of unleavened bread (like the feast of Weeks, and the feast of Tabernacles), is one of the three feasts in which all males are instructed to present themselves before YAHWEH, and are to do so not empty handed. I had explained sometime ago when I wrote about this, that it is as much about males representing families than it is about the chauvinistic bias of the Bible that that came to be so, and that’s without totally exonerating the writers of scripture of been patriarchal in outlook mostly, but that’s a matter for another day.
In conclusion, what I’ve done in ENCORE PASSOVER | https://madukovich.wordpress.com/2017/04/08/encore-passover/ and here, is to simplify as much as possible what the feasts that will commence tomorrow evening entails for Jewry worldwide. There are of course variants, even more elaborate than what I’ve lightly presented here, like the article a Christian friend sent for my perusal this morning, about preparations for the feasts especially as regards koshering of the passover meal, which I slightly alluded to at the beginning of this post, knowing what I would be going into from tomorrow. I only missed this feast once in my life, during my service year in the North of Nigeria, but I’ve had only testimonies for the many years I have partaken in the observance of these feasts, of YAHWEH’s reward for those who hearken to his command to do his will, concerning his feasts and to fulfill them. I wish all Jews worldwide a wonderful time in the presence of YAHWEH these coming days (as always). Shalom!