When Will Passover be Over?

Image: Matzah! Matzah! Matzah! 

Calendar-wise, Passover is complicated.

Some Jews will finish Passover at sundown after the seventh day. Others finish at sundown after the eighth day.  Why?

Inside the land of Israel (the geographic area, not the State) we celebrate 7 days of Passover, with one yom tov on the first day, and one at the end.

In the Diaspora (outside the Land) most Jews celebrate 8 days of Passover, with two days of yom tov at the beginning and at the end. The exception to that is that some Reform congregations (but not all) follow the Israeli practice.

Why the difference? When the Temple still stood the calendar was set by astronomical observation from the Temple Mount. Signal fires were lit to let Jewish communities farther away from Jerusalem know that the holiday had occurred. Since long distances were involved (think Jerusalem to Babylon, Jerusalem to Rome, Jerusalem to Spain) the second day was added for the Diaspora. Later on, the calendar was set by mathematical calculation, and we could have gone back to one day of yom tov for everyone, but by then the custom was set. Local custom (minhag hamakom) is a powerful element in halakhah (the Jewish way,) so the double yom tov was set for most Diaspora Jews.

That’s why some Jews are a little vague about the end of Passover. Find out what your local Jewish community is doing, and follow them. Most Jews at my home congregation do not observe the second day, so I don’t either. If I moved to a place where Reform Jews kept the second day, I’d keep it.

Whether they end Passover on the seventh or eighth night, one thing remains constant: by then the matzah has gotten a little stale and everyone is looking forward to eating bread and other chametz. I don’t know what percentage of Jewish families will be eating pasta or pizza on that first night after Passover, but I know there will be many!

Are you tired of matzah? What are your favorite things to eat during the week of Passover? What are you looking forward to eating when it’s over?

Published by


Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at http://coffeeshoprabbi.com/ and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

9 thoughts on “When Will Passover be Over?”

  1. I am one of the few who doesn’t grow tired of matzoh. I make matzoh lasagna which lasts about 3 nights. I make chopped liver and I love almond butter or horseradish on my matzoh for a nosh.
    I’ve made matzoh brei 3 mornings.
    This year, I bought 4 boxes of gluten-free matzoh for my son who is Celiac. Actually tastes better than regular matzoh and I got some toasted onion G-F matzoh, too.

      1. My matzah brie is really basic, and delicious. Scramble some eggs, add salt and pepper, moisten the matzah under running water, and then crumble it into the eggs and mix. Then fry as you would an omelet.

        1. Thank you! That is indeed a simple recipe, and it sounds delicious. I have some leftover matzah and now I know what I’m going to do with it!

    1. My kid is GF, and for the last few years she’s gotten GF, oat, handmade shmura matzah for Seders. A box costs $33 and contains 3 matzahs! Yes, they’re slightly larger than the machine-made squares, but good heavens…

  2. I too love matzo all year long; matzo brie, as a bread substitute for sandwiches etc., but this year I never missed chometz. I guess it’s true, the older you get, the faster time seems to go.
    That being said, I had forgotten that I placed an Amazon order and it included a three box, box of Mallomars. They have been sequestered for the time being, but that will be how I celebrate the end of Pesach this year. I haven’t had one in a few years due to my current location (PR) and Mallomars are my all time favorite confection, hence my email address. I hope you all had a wonderful Pesach.

Leave a Reply