The Passover Cleaning Season Is Upon Us
You know Passover is around the corner when a) you’ve finally finished the last of the chocolate-filled wafers from Purim mishloach manot and b) your friends start kvetching — on Facebook and in person — about the cleaning they have to do.
I despise cleaning, and my cleaning lady of several years quit last week because she’s going back to school. Still, I’m not worried about it, probably because Boychik and I have just emerged from the college application process and no amount of crumb-searching and scrubbing can compare with that roller-coaster of stress.
In fact, I’m sort of looking forward to doing the cleaning it this year. It’s probably because I am again holding to the guidelines of Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, Rosh Yeshiva of Jerusalem’s Yeshivas Torah Ore. On this website he urges women to do what is necessary to abide by the halachic requirements of ridding one’s abode of chametz, but not to go overboard.
Doing the mundane, repetitive tasks of cleaning remind me of a certain form of Buddhist meditation, which involves doing the same. It’s no fun, but at least it’s mentally relaxing.
Of course there are some who like to plumb the deeper meaning of Passover cleaning. On this Chabad website it explains that Hasidic philosophy connects chametz to ego, so that ridding ones home of chametz is a way to humble oneself.
I’m not into imbuing crumbs and shmutz with deep meaning, though, or fetishizing chametz. I just want to get that cobweb off the track light in my kitchen. The sight of it has been annoying me for weeks.
If you lack the time or the inclination to personally sweep away any of your own cobwebs, you can always hire the company “Home Clean Home,” which on its website promotes a special Passover cleaning service.
And when it’s time to take a break from the cleaning, take a new look at this brief video from a few years back for a chuckle:
"This holiday we take for ourselves, no longer silent servers behind the curtain, but singers of the seder, with voices of gladness, creating our own convocation, and leaving ‘The Narrow Place’ together."— E.M. Broner
"The idea of opening the door is that we hope Elijah might actually be there this year – that we might actually have done enough to change the world to have had him arrive. And, if we don’t have even the tiniest bit in us that thinks he might be there, that thinks we have tried our hardest to bring around a messianic time, with no hunger, no war, no conflict, no pain – if we don’t believe that we have tried to end those broken parts in the world – well, then I tell my students – don’t do any of it."— Rabbi Leora Kaye
"The whole seder, for me, is the tension between two statements: We say, 'We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and now we’re free,' but before that, we pick up the matzoh, we invite the hungry in and we say, 'This year we are slaves, next year may we be free.' We are the most fortunate, liberated Jews in history. But on the other hand, there are lots of things that enslave us."— Rabbi Arthur Green