Let me count the ways:
- As I write this, our brethren in America still have a few more hours to go on the eighth day of Pesach. So far today I have had regular cereal for breakfast, a falafel in eshtanur for lunch (from the best falafel store in the world, Shalom Falafel) and pasta for dinner
- Starting from the beginning of Pesach, those outside of the Land of Israel (or those in the Land of Israel who are determined to return to the lands of exile) will have had six out of ten days as Shabbat or Yom Tov. We will have had four. And those extra two days make a big difference. Having two extra days of Yom Tov is not an intrinsically bad thing. Yom Tov is great. However, these two days were not included in the Torah for a reason. When you just have one day in the beginning and one in the end to do all of your Yom Tov activities, you have:
- More time for Chol Hamoed activities,
- No opportunity to get totally burned out from too many formal meals in a short span of time (7 over a three day Yom Tov/Shabbat)
- More than one day between the end of the holiday and Shabbat
- It just feels right. The Torah said: celebrate for seven days. And that is what we do. The Torah said: don’t eat chametz for seven days. And that is what we do. The Torah said: the first day and the seventh days are Yom Tov. And that is what we do. (Don’t get me wrong: if you are in chutz la’aretz, you must observe these extra days. I am merely pointing out what it is like to keep Pesach in the way it was intended).
- With only one seder, one day of Yom Tov in the beginning and one at the end, things seem to be more meaningful. And I know that people who have never experienced just one seder like to say “it gives you a chance to say things that you forgot on the first night” or similar sentiments. Well let me tell you: it is a nice rationalization, but I think you would change your tune if you knew that it could be different.
- Did I mention that there is no three day Yom Tov (except for Rosh Hashannah once every four or five years)?