Or should I say, “Happy Cleaning”?
That’s right, Pesach season has arrived! And I am sure most of us are already in panic mode. That’s why I chose to design the cover photo this month with a little self-mockery. (And yes, my husband not only agreed to have his face blocked out—it was his idea! #frummendonthavefaces…just kidding! But really, let someone else do some of the cleaning. Sit down, relax!)
Pesach causes so much stress for so many of us. And isn’t that so ironic? It is the holiday of freedom! And yet, it seems that it is the time of year when we turn into slaves—not only by having to clean and turn over our houses, but also within our own minds. We become slaves to lists and plans…and often, we take it a little too far. My husband always reminds me that when I get nervous about Pesach cleaning, it is because I need to review the exact halacha. Many times, we overdo it, and the workload becomes a lot more than halacha requires. If we educate ourselves, however, we can be confident in the job we are doing without becoming obsessive over things that are not really about ridding our houses and ourselves of chametz.
When I was becoming religious, I was only in middle school, and I didn’t understand halacha in a very mature way. When I started keeping Shabbos, I had only a very basic idea of the concept of “bassis” (a “base” to something that is muktzah—or unusable on Shabbos—rendering it unusable/unmovable on Shabbos as well). So every Friday afternoon, I would open up all my dresser drawers to differing levels (so I could still reach inside all of them), so I wouldn’t accidentally open a drawer on Shabbos when I needed something. Why did I do this? Well, because there was a lamp on the surface, of course! It is amazing the amount of extra work we can give ourselves when we don’t know the proper laws.
This issue is all about learning how to appreciate Pesach for its inherent kedusha, for its family memories, and for its opportunity for growth. It is also about learning how to go easy on ourselves, and how we can keep sight of what the true mitzvah to prepare for the holiday really is. There are some beautiful pieces in here to uplift and inspire you, like Rina Deutsch’s Letter to My Four Children on Pesach, Eve Levy’s True Freedom, and Chana Shohat’s From Rebirth to Rebirth. Shayna Hunt shares her famous Pesach Cookies recipe, and Rebecca Feldbaum makes some New Pesach Friends while shopping for the holiday. Tobi Ash brings us a comical look into her family’s style of Pesach cleaning in Pesach Competition, RDN Yaffi Lvova gives some great tips about feeding your children in Picky Pesach, Professional Organizer Karen Furman helps you Turn Over Your Kitchen, and two awesome parenting experts, Adina Soclof and Rachel Horan help you to keep calm while you get ready for the holiday in Keeping Your Cool While Cleaning for Pesach and Pesach Blow-Ups. And those are only the Pesach-related articles! I hope that all of the wonderful articles in this issue help you lighten (or at least trek through) your workload.
There will be no issue released during April, so I hope to hear from you all for our Shavuos issue! If you have a story you’d like to share, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our next issue deadline is May 13th.
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Chag Kasher Vesameach!