| Musings |

Three-Day Yom Tov Survival Guide   

        If there’s any time of the year you need to stay in a mentally sane cocoon, this is it!


he first thing you need to do when you realize a three-day Yom Tov is coming is to panic. I mean full-blown, can’t-catch-your-breath, world-spinning-out-of-the-stratosphere, lying-down-in-bed-with-a-cold-compress-on-your-forehead kind of panic.

Once the significance of the upcoming three days (72 hours, 4,320 minutes, 259,200 seconds) has sunk in, remember the great body and soul healer — ice cream!

There are two items absolutely essential for a balabusta at this time. First, a pair of very comfortable shoes. You’ll be on your feet a lot (i.e., all day/night) and can stay upright much longer with comfy footwear. The second crucial item is an eyeglasses retainer strap so your eyeglasses are accessible at all times for those tiny-print Pesach recipes you’re reading and to help you find the items you need on your 14th trip to the grocery store. There definitely will be children (um, teenagers) who will refuse to be seen in public with you. If you’re really irked at their reaction, buy a colorful beaded strap that can be seen aisles away. (Contact me for the best place to buy this.)

Stay away from those posts featuring the “perfect Pesach chiffon cake that never fails” or pictures of full freezers with rows of neatly labeled aluminum pans. Don’t answer any calls from friends who have finished cooking and baking a week before Pesach. If there’s any time of the year you need to stay in a mentally sane cocoon, this is it!

It might be a good idea to hire a party planner to help you with the sleeping arrangements. To put everyone where they’ll be happy, and on speaking terms after 72 hours of togetherness — that’s a challenge. Do the safe thing and spend the money on a planner… or at least a qualified social worker.

Tear toilet paper. Don’t laugh! This is something that takes a lot of time, so start early… like right-after-Purim early. Take a day off work and just tear, tear, tear while listening to Torah Anytime shiurim. What better way to uplift your spirit then by doing something so useful to everyone? Also, start buying toilet paper as soon as possible, and buy a few packages a day. You don’t want to be labeled a toilet paper hoarder reminiscent of those good ol’ Covid days.

Here’s a radical idea I came up with after the last three-day Yom Tov I’d like to share with open-minded readers. Trying to come up with so many different fleishig meals everyone will eat is quite stressful. And so, I instituted the milchig lunch — salads, salmon, no-crust quiche, baked potatoes with butter… Lox and cream cheese on matzah was a Big Hit! And best of all, everyone loved the make-your-own-sundae for dessert. (Ice cream, always ice cream!). For those males who are completely devastated with this change of menu, leave some cold chicken and deli for them to eat in the kitchen.

Do you have enough books and games in your playroom to keep the kids and grandkids happily occupied? I daresay the answer is a resounding no. Whatever you bought six months ago is definitely outdated. I highly recommend buying the Kichel books and game. (No, Mishpacha didn’t bribe me to say this.) Everyone needs a good laugh when surrounded by loving family members for (have I mentioned this before?) three l-o-n-g and glorious days!

While you’re at it, don’t forget to buy a gift for yourself. When you’re in the throes of your Pesach preparations, take out the new book, clothes item, or fake or real (go for it!) jewelry and gaze at it to give yourself the strength to go on.

And I can’t mention this enough, so for the very last time, remember, ice cream. There’s always ice cream to get you through the many challenges a three-day Yom Tov can bring.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 837)

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