Last week I started talking about the holiday of Passover, and how it was almost upon us. I figured that I would make it a two-part series, because with all of the preparation that goes into this lovely holiday, what harm could a two-part column do? (Unless, of course, I start insulting people, but I would never do that.) So here we go…preparing for Passover, Part Two.
When I was little and still living with my parents and siblings, and when I say “little” I actually mean younger (insert self-deprecating comment here), cleaning for the holiday became a huge undertaking. I just remember lots and lots of tin foil on all of the kitchen counters. I remember the yelling for help coming from one of my parents to escort all of the dishes down to the basement and then accompany the Passover dishes up to the tin-foiled kitchen. There was a lot of activity. We each had to clean our bedrooms and search for any hidden crumbs or candy bars. I still remember the horror I felt when, after Passover had begun, I discovered a few errant cheerios under the bed in my brother’s room. Thinking that I might get struck by lightning, I quickly discarded them, so that God wouldn’t see. (Fast forward to 2021, when my Oreos have taught me, with 100 percent conviction, that God sees everything, but that is for another column.)
After technically becoming an adult, and having been blessed with my own family and my own home, I was determined to make the cleaning process easier. Fortunately, I had/have a rabbi who would send out a very informative and humorous “Guide to Passover Preparation.” In it, he pointed out, the cleaning process should not be an all-encompassing and anxiety-provoking experience. This made me happy. I decided, being the martyr that I am, to take on all of it by myself. You see, when you are the mother of only boys, or at least my boys, you realize that no other family member really knows what is in all of the cabinets and drawers in your kitchen, unless it contains snacks. That being said, I was able to replace cookware and dishes that I used during the year with my kosher for Passover cookware and dishes.
Theoretically, I could have made this switch months before Passover, because no one would ever notice. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it was an actual thing. A hour or so before Passover was to begin, Husband #1 would ask if there was anything he could do to help and I would say, “really?” Yes, that is the martyr in me (or you could use another word).
In the guide, the rabbi goes over how to kasher different types of countertops — formica, granite, etc. There was no mention of redoing your entire kitchen with tin foil. When I pointed this out to my mother, she retorted with “That is what my mother did in her kitchen, so that is what I do in my kitchen.” Needless to say, the cycle of tin foil stopped with me. I am more than happy to use boiling water on my Caeserstone countertops and call it a day. I also am more than happy not to move large pieces of furniture in search of wayward crumbs — also something pointed out in the guide. My mother would have the cleaning help wash curtains and cushions and pillows, oh my. Maybe because I am the cleaning help, I do not feel the need to do that. And the guide says that I do not have to.
There is a wonderful rabbi in Florida who points out, every year, that you should buy chicken and meat (which, unless noted otherwise, is usually kosher for Passover all year round) before the prices go up for the holiday season. It really seems that Passover is about the family time and not the heart-racing, panic-attack inducing cleaning and cooking process. Of course, this happens anyway. Especially for us ocd’ers who think we can control everything and want to have everything finished with enough time to spare to worry about controlling something else.
So, in conclusion, just do your best. God sees that too.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season and letting you know that tomato sauce is on sale at Cedar Market (and no, I didn’t get anything free to write that).
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is so happy that her emotional support child returned in one piece from the Holy Land and is now learning with her favorite middle child in the land of Baltimore….(and that her favorite Son #1 and Dil #1 came for the weekend).