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Erev Pesach Road Map 

You shake it, empty it, say Tehillim, and blow-dry the insides, but despite your best efforts the vacuum continues to spit out crumbs

Garbage Bags Galore

The ubiquitous bags are hanging from every doorway and stowed away in every corner. Some are 180 percent full while others are only an eighth of the way there.  Need to throw out a paper towel? Please open a new bag so that you won’t overflow the other bag. You may hear some calm and gentle (frustrated and annoyed) voices politely asking (demanding) that the bags be taken out NOW. It’s a futile wish though, because the cans outside are overflowing and garbage pickup isn’t until tomorrow after sof zeman achilas chometz. Time to recruit your bochurim to fill your (freshly cleaned) car with the bags and bring them to a garbage dumpster farther away.

The Chometz Corner

The box in the corner is full of freezer-burned bagels, half-finished bags of pretzel rods with a best-by date of December 2022, some random leftover mishloach manos chocolates, a couple of smashed oranges, and half a loaf of bread with peanut butter. Time to fress away. You’ve got to have done it to understand the thrill of sitting squished in the corner of the hallway slurping on a Tradition Soup and munching on cardboard crackers while balancing precariously on the corner of a chair that has an overflowing garbage bag hanging off the back of it.

The Sound of Spanish

Your devoted Spanish-speaking cleaning lady shows up bright and early equipped with rags, a mop, and all sorts of sprays. She proceeds to scrub the outside of your kitchen door while talking in rapid-fire Spanish to a friend of hers who is scrubbing someone else’s kitchen door. You try to explain to her in Spanish why she cannot scrub your milchig toaster oven rack in the fleishig sink with the pareve sponge. Unfortunately, there is a language barrier. Using wild gestures, you point in various directions and babble in faux Spanish while she grows more and more confused. Time to use Google translate, ASAP.

The Growling Vacuum Cleaner

Your devoted vacuum cleaner has been with you for many Pesach seasons, but now it’s had enough, and quits just as you try to vacuum out the challah crumbs from deep inside the dining room chairs. You shake it, empty it, say Tehillim, and blow-dry the insides, but despite your best efforts the vacuum continues to spit out crumbs. You donate money to Kupas Kleaning, hoping the machine will be miraculously revived, but to no avail. With a sigh of gloom and doom you resign yourself to cleaning the floor with the Dust Buster, until the vacuum decides to sputter to life, much to your immense relief.

“Mommy, I’m Starving!”

This line can be attributed to frum kids, on Erev Pesach, everywhere. “We have some delicious pretzels,” respond all mothers around the globe. “I hate pretzels,” yells the indignant overtired child. “So move to another house,” responds his mother. “I’m sure that all other houses are not as dysfunctional as ours. They probably have fresh pizza on Erev Pesach,” finishes Mommy with a shrug, not waiting to see the disgruntled child stomp off to the corner and take a handful of pretzels.

Lemon Cleanser

Ahhh…. lemon cleanser. The smell of Gan Eden. It’s the smell of chometz that is now coated in poison and no longer ra’ui l’achilas kelev. Oh, the joy of taking a spritz bottle and coating a crumb-filled drawer with lemon-y sunshine until every morsel is vanquished. Lemon cleanser… the stuff of every Jewish woman’s dreams.

The Self-Cleaning Oven

The act of turning on your oven to the highest temperature and burning everything in it to a crisp is truly liberating. As the crumbs and spilled oil from your last batch of cookies evaporate into ash, you sense you have atoned for all your baking fiascos since last Pesach. The smell of burning oven and lemon cleanser meld together to form the delicious aroma of Erev Pesach, one that’s impossible to replicate.

In need of some Pesach cleaning de-stressing? You’re welcome to visit, and we may even offer you some fresh-from-the-freezer cookies and stale pretzel rods. Just please don’t spill crumbs on the freshly washed door.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 889)

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