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Cleaning for Passover

May 8, 2009 | by Emuna Braverman

I am not a glutton for punishment, but I love it!

It's spring time and a woman's fancy turns to...Passover cleaning. Yes, it's that time of year where Jewish women worldwide are united in a frantic effort to rid their homes of chametz, leaven. Some of us go overboard and combine it with spring cleaning but however you do it or name it, one thing it is for sure is a tremendous amount of work.

And yet, although I am not a glutton for punishment, I love it! There is something about uncluttering the home that unclutters the mind (which is a very sophisticated way of saying that I love throwing things out!). No complicated organizational systems for me when the trash can works just fine!

But more than that. All this cleaning and scrubbing and scraping is done with purpose, is invested with meaning. Not only does the chametz represent the "fluff" in our lives that distracts us from our essential selves and who we want to be, but the end goal is the Seder.

On no other holiday is there such an obvious correlation between effort and experience, between preparation and opportunity.

There is nothing like sitting down on Seder night (especially since we are mandated to recline), surrounded by a clean home, a clean heart, family, friends, and anticipating sharing the experience of leaving Egypt.

Whatever the exhaustion, those moments really do make it worthwhile (do I sound like a Hallmark card?) -- the hagaddah, the discussion, the thoughts, the experience, and of course, the food -- er, I mean the deep meaning.

On no other holiday is there such an obvious correlation between effort and experience, between preparation and opportunity.

And no other time is the Yom Tov so family and home-centered. What else could a Jewish mother want? (Okay I do have a list!)

I may arrive at the Seder very weary. I may have a few broken nails and a few broken glasses, but I will arrive ready and excited, grateful for the chance to enjoy another Passover with those I love. And confident that we will learn and grow together, that we will make the same jokes about the shmurah matzah and the afikoman and that we will be refocused on the Almighty's wisdom and kindness in giving us this tremendous gift. Dayenu.

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