When I was a child, Passover was a magical time of year. My family and I spent all eight days living in my grandparents’ house where every meal had at least 12 people and there was no shortage of action. Yes, the Seders were long and often didn’t end before 2 a.m., but they were great fun. My cousin Dikla and I, drunk on grape juice, giggled like little maniacs for hours. The intermediate days were spent going horseback riding, playing tennis, having picnics, watching movies, that sort of thing. All in all, they were #GoodTimes.
But now I’m a grown-up, and it’s so hard. There’s all this behind-the-scene work that I never appreciated when I was a kid. Not only do I have to clean the entire house and car – I’m not sure which I’m dreading more – but my children still expect me to feed them. Talk about chutzpah!
Just so you know, I don’t go overboard with the cleaning. I do what I need to do, but for the sake of preserving my sanity, not much more. For example, I take the bed frames apart and vacuum and dust like a madwoman, but I draw the line at aluminum foiling my toilets. Seriously, I once knew a guy who did that. He later spent time in prison, so one could argue that foiling his toilet was a display of psychosis. Of course, my husband once tin-foiled the inside of his car when he couldn’t remove some chometz, so maybe I shouldn’t talk. He has not, however, (to my knowledge, at least) been to prison, but he has gotten two speeding tickets.
But then again, so have I.
This year I decided to approach Passover cleaning differently (i.e. to not pretend it wasn’t happening until two days before it actually happened). The plan was to start the cleaning process a week before Purim so I wouldn’t have to condense the cleaning into a crazed 48-hour marathon session. Everything would be different this time around. No more sobbing in the corner of my closet or Googling alternate religions. The Southern Baptists seem to have great music. No grabbing my husband by his shirttails and begging him to drop everything and run to a faraway land where Passover couldn’t find us, like Montana or Wyoming. No sirree, not this year.
Everything had been going according to plan. One entire Sunday was spent cleaning the second level of my house which consists of three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It was brutal, man. Really brutal. But at least it was done. One entire level of the house was now checked off my list.
And then Purim happened.
Shaloch manot of soda, candy, chips, and cookies were EVERYWHERE. Any place I looked I saw crumbs. On the beds? Check. Dresser drawer? Check. In the bathtub? Che – Actually, the bathtub was fine. But you get the idea. It was like one of the 10 Plagues, but instead of frogs and locusts everywhere, it was chometz.
“What happened?!” I shrieked. My head was swiveling around and around like something out of the Exorcist. All my hard work had been for nothing.
“Oops.” Seriously, my children said “Oops,” as though it was some minor infraction.
Suffice it to say, the kosher-for-Passover upper floor is now no-more. In my opinion, whosever idea it was to put Purim a few weeks before Passover should be shot.
By the time you read this, I may have already fled to Idaho, with or without my husband and children in tow. I may have even gotten a job as a farmer’s assistant (is that a thing?) and will be shoveling cow plops into bins, but don’t feel bad for me because PASSOVER WILL NEVER FIND ME THERE.
For everyone else, I hope you have a joyful holiday that is filled with good food and laughter. May the matzah on your table not obstruct your colon, nor the wine cause inflammation of your liver (What can I say? I come from a family of doctors). And next year, may we celebrate the ultimate redemption together in Jerusalem.