Pesach cleaning, schedules and resentment

Purim will soon be here – which, at least in our household, means we’re already busy cleaning for Pesach. Some people actually relish the chance to scrub out every little long forgotten nook and cranny, but I’ll admit this isn’t my favorite season. Our day to day life, while simple, is full – and when extra cleaning creeps into my schedule, it feels like a thief trying to rob me – of peace, tranquility, adequate rest, time with my children and the very limited time I have for hobbies and personal projects. All gives way to cleaning the top of the kitchen cabinets, because maybe some long-lost crumb had found its way there somehow.

I realize all these spots – the tops of kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, pantry shelves etc – do need to be cleaned some time, and without Pesach looming on the horizon I would have little incentive to do so. Still, I can’t love the feverish business of these spring weeks – especially as the lovely weather is so inviting to be out.

My husband usually contrives something to make things easier for me. For example last year we needed to replace our stovetop,  which was done just a few days before Pesach so that I could simply throw the old one away without bothering to clean it. Another year, we had a new refrigerator delivered shortly before the holiday. But of course we don’t replace our kitchen appliances every year.

I always find it ironic that window-cleaning, the traditional Israeli pre-Pesach sport, should take place at such a particularly unlucky season – full of sand storms and dusty rains. Rationally I would say there is no point in cleaning the windows on the outside till the summer. But of course everybody still does it, including me.

This year I have a detailed schedule which will, hopefully, get me through the next six weeks with my sanity intact. Every day I get up knowing what I need to do, and when I’m done I hang up my mop and dust rag. I don’t try to outrace myself, knowing that no matter how hard I drive at those kitchen cabinets, there will still be plenty to do the next day.

Moving at a turtle’s pace, slow and steady
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9 thoughts on “Pesach cleaning, schedules and resentment

  1. We don’t go to such extreme measures, but The Squire and I often tease that the only reason we have an annual Open House in December is so we’ll get the house cleaned up. Of course, sometimes I do wonder about the wisdom of having our carpets professionally cleaned BEFORE we have fifty people wander through, instead of getting it done after they’ve been here, but it is nice to look around and see everything looking clean and sparkly.

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    • Miu, that’s the million dollar question! I drive myself crazy with it every year. First off, I begin with places that are less likely to get chametz in them again (such as those infamous tops of the kitchen cabinets). Obviously there’s a lot of stuff that can’t be done until the last moment, such as the refrigerator and stove-top.

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  2. Shalom Anna:

    Wanted to know if you would consider writing a blog on: “The Selling of Chametz to ha Goyim” prior to Pesach and then purchasing it back after Chag ha Matzot? Is this something that you personally practice in your family? Personally, I believe ha written Torah when He Says that He does not want to see any chametz throughout all our dwellings! He did not say that He didn’t want to see any of our own personal chametz in all of our dwellings, however, if it belonged to someone else, it would be ok for us to have it in our cupboards as long as we didn’t “legally own it” and as long as we “locked the cupboard(s) that it was in!”

    Thank you for your answer in advance should you choose to blog on this topic.

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    • Tirtzah, we practice the selling of chametz just in case we miss something, but overall we believe that selling of chametz is a venue for stores, factories and such like, which would be really hurt financially by having to destroy the chametz, while individual people have no business using this loophole to keep two packages of pasta in the house.

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      • Shalom Anna:

        Thank you for explaining this to me. I am glad to know that you don’t personally practice this! We don’t either! However, when we first came to this way of life, keeping ha written Torah and wanted to know how to keep it, we did contact the Jewish Rabbi in Charlotte, NC and this was what he told us that we needed to do ourselves. We were to bring all of our chametz down to the synagogue and have each item written down on a list. We would pay him to “sell it to someone who had a goy name” in the white pages and then once chag ha matzot was over we would come back and pay him a second time for him to “sell all of our items back to us again.” During that week of chag ha matzot, we were to take it back home with us and put it in the cupboard and put a padlock on that cupboard door. Glad to hear that not all practice this!

        As far as stores doing this which are owned and run by Jews….HaShem said in ha written Torah in Ex chapter 12 that we were to rid ourselves from all leaven that were in all of our dwellings, (places where we live, eat and sleep). A store is not a place where one “dwells” or “lives”! Therefore, I do not see where they would have to get rid of the chametz from their stores to begin with!

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