Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Did You Do Your Closets Yet?

Everyone gets really stressed before pesach, and understandably so. As the work-filled holiday approaches, people seem to be consumed by it.

But do they have to be?

I mean, for those of us who stay home, it is quite the responsibility to clear our houses of chametz. I know that I have like 3 knapsacks, and a few handbags to go through, as well as jacket pockets, and of course, my car. I do know, however, that my closet and my drawers are chametz-free since I never put food in there. Yes, it is that simple.

So why are people constantly worrying about places in their house where they clearly haven't brought food? You can't complain if you equate "Spring Cleaning" with Pesach Cleaning. I have no problem with Spring Cleaning. It certainly isn't "goyish," but if people complain about the holiday, and they are going above and beyond necessities, they're foolish.

People blur the differentiating lines, start cleaning after Channuka, and stress themselves out. Why go beyond what we're commanded, then complain that you're stressed out?

Pesach is a lot of work as it is. Transferring pots, pans, dishes, silverware, and kashering your sinks and countertops, lining the shelves of the shopping, cooking....There's a TON of preparation.

Using this as Spring Cleaning takes away from the real commandment--which is ridding ourselves of Chametz.

I've heard, "Dust isn't Chametz, and your husband isn't the Korban Pesach." Not my type of expression, but gets the point across well.

And some people insist on cleaning their ceiling fans. That's why people complain.


At 3/21/2007 6:50 PM, Blogger mindy said...

you do have to go through your closets. you could have folded your laundry on a table that had some crumbs on it; crumbs might be in your sweater pockets; etc. etc....

At 3/21/2007 7:24 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

crumbs have to add up to a kizayis to be a problem, at last check. Be realistic.

At 3/21/2007 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said!! People are simply confusing Pesach cleaning with Spring Cleaning--and assuming that they MUST organize everything in their homes before yom tov. I think there is nothing at all wrong with "Spring cleaning" and that people should absolutely go through their closets at least once a year and throw things out, etc.....But why does it HAVE TO get done before pesach if it tends to be such a stressor???

At 3/21/2007 8:01 PM, Anonymous gavi said...

According to one of my poskim: "Pesach cleaning should take around an hour for the average house." When he said that, the entire shiur gasped - because they didn't realise how much we over-clean. See the Rema who comments that people used to sand down their tables, and that it's completely unecessary, etc.

At 3/21/2007 8:07 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Gavi--thanks for backin me up. hour--that sounds like really little. I'd think a day or two. Not weeks or months!

At 3/21/2007 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michelle, you're correct regarding what the halacha states. The chassidim, however, hold that based on kaballah, chametz is like the yetzer hara, and thus, they try to eliminate every single crumb, as Mindy mentioned. Sometimes chassidishe things become the mainstream, which is what I think happened here.

At 3/22/2007 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

consult your local ruv, he may help you clear things out what's halocha and what's only chumra and minhag

At 3/22/2007 9:24 AM, Blogger Kaila said...


i definitely agree with your post. one warning, though--if you have little kids, DO move things that you normally wouldn't. when we were little my mom found an entire slice of bread hidden under an unused air conditioner that had been on the floor for months.

i also have a friend who turned on her air conditioner while cleaning and had a sudden shower of cheerios. apparently her toddler had discovered how to put cheerios into the a/c.

just a warning. otherwise, your comments are right on. and i would like to add to your post that kitniyos are not chametz either.

At 3/22/2007 10:40 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

kaila-yes, I should have included little kids.

My friends and I were talking--and one girl said she planned to clean her drawers. I gave her a argument, and she reminded me that she has very young siblings. Kids put food EVERYWHERE.

So, yes, most people with young children DO need to do much more cleaning than others.

However, I remain that window-washing is not included.

At 3/22/2007 6:37 PM, Blogger TherapyDoc said...

Where I come from the expression goes, "Don't make your wife the korban pesach."

At 3/25/2007 12:16 PM, Anonymous Karl said...

The real chometz that must be cleaned, is the chometz inside each of us - all the crumbs of ossur things that must be gotten rid of.

The actual cleaning of chometz (AFAIK) was done during bedikas chometz - you carefully look for any chometz & you get rid of them the next day by burning them. It can take a while to check & clean everywhere, so people clean beforehand & just check for bedikas chometz. I guess over time it has developed into a month (or more) of cleaning frenzy. Everybody likes a clean house & cleaning for Pesach becomes an excuse for a spring clean. I am sure everyone knows this, but few people are gonna change as this has now become the norm.

At 3/25/2007 4:22 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Karl-understandably so.
That means that those who choose to use Pesach as an excuse to SPring Clean do not have the right to complain and stress....they also use it as an excuse to run away to a hotel. That's another story---see my archives.

At 3/26/2007 10:04 AM, Anonymous Chani said...

Very true! I'm assuming I'm the friend who has to clean her drawers because of younger siblings. I was going to point that out again & then I saw that someone had mentioned it first. It's really true, though-kids are walking, spewing chometz machines & get into everything!
If you don't have little kids in the house, you really don't have an excuse to go overboard. As long as people realize that it's spring cleaning, I don't have a problem with it, but when those people start complaining about it, it's a bit ridiculous.
In general, though, I think most women go overboard while their husbands stand in the background telling them that they're driving theirself crazy for no reason. My father says that R' Sheinberg used to tell his rebbitzin that she went overboard with the Pesach cleaning & she would tell him "If it were up to you, we'd be eating chometz on Pesach" or something like that.

At 3/26/2007 3:49 PM, Blogger matis said...

chometz can get anywhere, maybe your little kid brought it in there and you never knew

At 3/26/2007 7:35 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I'm sorry Chani, but what should we take from that story? I don't understand the message.
And yes, you were the friend. Nice detective work.

At 3/27/2007 6:04 AM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

I don't get carried away with all the cleaning and I've never had a problem with chometz on Pesach.

One thing people do forget to do is check each item they are buying to see if it's really kosher l'Pesach. I have been at super Frum peoples homes on Pesach and seen them discover items in the kitchen which they were eating which were not kosher l'Pesach. Read the labels.

Anyway, I love yom tov. It's one time I go off my diet. Hurray!

At 3/28/2007 3:38 PM, Blogger Dofan Akuma said...

I agree with you in general, but for people with kids it's more complicated.
Like, I don't put pretzels in my sock drawer, but somehow they end up there.

At 3/28/2007 7:40 PM, Anonymous megapixel said...

I try to approach pesach cleaning as if were a man.
ex. i gave my husband two jobs: the seforim, and the car. He told me the seforim dont have to be done, and he hired a kid to do the car. anything questionable gets sprayed with mr clean, thus deeming it not raui la' achilas kelev.
(well sort of... the female side of me usually wins - as in I know I dont HAVE to move the fridge, buy I may as well just do it...)

At 3/30/2007 6:09 AM, Blogger Jacob Da Jew said...

f the closets! Thats what I tell DaWife.


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