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Cleaning for Passover

Posted: March 29, 2013

Every year, about a week or so before Passover, I say “this is absolutely the very last year I will change my kitchen over for Passover—it’s too much work, I hate cleaning in general and this one is over the top, and it’s all symbolic anyway so why not pick an easier symbol?”—and so I begin the process.  [For anyone who doesn’t know, traditionally to prepare for Passover one does a massive spring cleaning, then replaces all one’s food preparation things with special ones you keep for just this holiday.]

Then, after hours and hours of emptying cabinets and drawers, scrubbing even in the corners and throwing out half-full boxes of things, there’s that magic moment when it’s DONE—every surface is clear and sparkling, all the drawers and cabinets are totally empty and everything smells and seems new and we declare the kitchen ready.   We go into the attic and bring down the boxes of Passover dishes, pots and pans, utensils, cups and mugs, silverware, Tupperware and the like.  And at that moment I know that I will do it all again next year.

Why?  Yes, for sure part of it is the tradition—it’s what we do.  But also I had this sudden realization this year that it is something you can start and FINISH!  So much of my work and my life is perpetually ongoing—it’s rare to actually complete anything—sure, maybe you finish a report or a letter, but then there’s the follow up and the next letter.  And the list of phone calls you haven’t yet returned.  And the emails to send……….

With Passover cleaning, there’s a moment where it’s actually completed.  You can look around the kitchen and think there’s nothing else nagging at me, no other drawer that needs clearing.  We accomplished this seemingly-monumental task!  And so I’ll remind myself of this feeling of satisfaction as next year I feel daunted by the challenge.

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