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Outdoor tacos for pre-Passover Shabbat

#tweetyourshabbat is a global movement founded by Carly Pildis, celebrating the struggle and joy of getting Shabbat on the table every week. This is a place for real dinners and real conversations about Jewish life. Join us at Forward in sharing what you’ll be eating and how your feeling this week at #TweetYourShabbat

There is no way anyone is cooking Shabbat dinner in my kitchen right now. No one is even allowed to step foot in my kitchen this week.

It has been scrubbed top to bottom (twice). I have cleaned the oven and set off the fire alarm burning out any spec of chametz. I have destroyed several ecosystems’ worth of paper towels. I am tired and I want a glass of wine and there is no way I am getting chametz in this kitchen.

I look forward to the Passover seders, but the week before Passover brings out the worst in me. I resent all of the preparations, which seem designed as some sort of Rabbinic curse on working moms. “I have a life!!” I curse under my breath at the refrigerator as I scrub it. “I don’t have time for this!!” I snap at my cabinets. My husband backs away slowly, grabs our daughter, and heads to the back porch to order pizza. He knows better than to get in between me and my cleaning.

If you hate it so much, why do you insist on doing it, asks my friend, Alex on a marathon phone call while we clean our respective homes. Internalized misogyny and deep-seated inadequacy, I venture as I move the couch.

OH MY GOD! I scream in horror.

My husband and child come running in fear. What could prompt such a shriek of horror?


I hoist that wrapped kind bar in the air, this tiny justification for my full-blown Pesach psychosis.

VINDICATION!! I scream as I wage war on Chametz with a mop and broom.

“Would the world have ended if the granola bar went undiscovered?” asks Alex.

YES! I snarl, and thus begins frantic furniture moving, the purchasing of new mops, more paper towels, and another round of frantic cleaning. Finally, it’s done. We are Pesadich and miraculously my family is still speaking to me.

Except, crap, I still have to cook Shabbat.


Elote Image by Carly Pildis

Then I remember, the grill isn’t pesadich yet. That can easily be done in the morning. I hatch a plan for vegetarian tacos, grilled mushrooms, zucchini, and Mexican street corn on the back porch. A margarita on the back porch is the perfect antidote to Passover stress.

As I grill, I remember that the point of this holiday is not perfection, but liberation. If a crumb of corn tortilla falls under the porch and is technically on my property, that won’t matter. The point is to pass on the story of our peoplehood, our liberation, and the miracles that God performed for us. Jewish women have so much more to give our community than our cleaning, and this perfectionism isn’t healthy for me, or as a model to my daughter. Dayenu, the house is clean enough. As the smell of grilled vegetables fills the air, I am content.

Until I spy my car in the driveway and remember that I forgot to clean it.

For the full Pre-Passover Shabbat Taco recipe, click here.

How was your week? How are you spending Shabbat? Let us know at #tweetyourshabbat! Everyone is welcome at this table! Come hungry.

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