Thursday, April 10, 2008


This is not my favorite season.
I hate cleaning.
I even hate cleaning for Passover, and I'm a very Torah-observant Jew.
It's bad enough in America, a bit of vacuuming etc. But when I got to Israel and discovered that people move all the furniture and scrub the floor with a scrub brush. And many people paint their houses, every year. OK, I should correct that. The big houses are not always painted, but small apartments are or used to be. People used cheap white paint. Every piece of furniture was moved from room to room.
They also took out every single book, opened them and banged them. The whole neighborhood sounded like some pre-school drum lesson.
Also every closet was emptied, all the clothes, and then they were strung out to air and then refolded. I have enough trouble keeping up with the laundry. Once as a teen I decided to go through my closet at the beginning of summer vacation. I emptied it on my bed, and it was a good thing that my bother and sister were in sleep away camp for eight weeks. It took me that long to finish going through the closet; I needed the extra bedroom for sleeping.
I don't know if people, in apartments still do it, but my neighbors in Bayit V'Gan used to scrub their floors every night. All the chairs went on the tables. Everything off the floor.
Most people's homes look better on ordinary days than mine does for Pesach. The important things are always clean in my house, like the clothes and dishes.
I remember when I worked in the day care center for babies up to 3 years of age. I was the cook. During the four years I cooked there, there were no stomach virus epidemics. I introduced the concept of covered containers for storing food. I kid you not. It was considered revolutionary. I labeled the shelves to show where everything went, so it would be easy for workers to put things away, and the other workers and I wouldn't have to waste time looking for everything.
There was someone who sometimes worked there. She looked down on me, bragging that her house was so clean you could eat off the floor. Then one day I was in the kitchen when she took a spoon out of the drawer to get sugar for teach. She wiped it with her grimy hands and then attempted to put the spoon in the sugar. I told her that she had dirtied the spoon with her hands. Maybe in her house, you could eat off the floor, but in mine the plates and cutlery were cleaner!


Anonymous said...

That sounds more than a bit extreme. The walls aren't chametz!! No one is eating off of them! And just how far do people honestly think the chametz will spread?


If only people knew of some of the piskei halacha in America...


Shabbat Shalom

Batya said...

I forgot about the windows. I could never understand why people wash windows just before the peak of the dust storm season.

But on the other hand, here in Israel, people don't cover every surface so hermetically. The Sfardi psak is much more relaxed, clean counters are clean of chametz, and that's it.

Anonymous said...

Interesting about the surfaces. Many here agree that surfaces such as granite can be kashered for Pesach; I met some people in Israel who didn't feel that anything could be kashered for Pesach!

Batya said...

My experience has been that more kashering is still done in Israel. Every community has enormous pots of boiling water for kashering and a blow torch.
In America, I was taught:
"Buy new."