These Are the Weeks That Try Jewish Women’s Souls

There are two different types of women that other women hate – those who are naturally thin, and those that love to clean.

I will take a huge risk here (hoping against hope that I don’t lose most of my female readers) and admit that I fit into the first category. I keep my friends by being solidly the opposite of the second. Women who visit my house always leave in a chipper mood – either because they think to themselves “wow, I thought my house was a mess, but now that I’ve seen westbankmama’s house mine doesn’t seem too bad” or, if they are just as messy as I am, they are happy to find a soul mate! (No, I do not have a cleaning lady. The idea of someone else cleaning my dirt bothers me no end, although I understand why women who work full time need one).

This means that the weeks between Purim and Pesach (Passover) are very hard for me. I have a halachic (Jewish law) obligation to clean my house of chametz (leavened products), so I clean, but I hate every minute. Every year I try to find the right way to minimize the torture. Sometimes I organize myself down to the last little detail, and write down in my diary exactly what things I am going to clean when (and I actually stick to the schedule). Sometimes the procrastination demon takes over and I leave too much to the last minute (although there are some who swear by this method. They think to themselves, “why should I ruin four weeks with cleaning when I can just ruin one?”)

I haven’t figured out how to go about it this year. I have less time at home, now, because I am working. On the other hand, Fridays are still free.

And yes, I KNOW that dirt is not chametz. This is the refrain that men say over and over to their wives in order to try to get out of helping with the cleaning. The only thing this really applies to is windows, and the bathrooms. Everywhere else in the house is a potential site for chametz!

I really enjoyed reading RenReb last year at this time. Her rants about Pesach cleaning were therapeutic. I’m just waiting for some brilliant Jewish woman to open the Pesach cleaning hotline, with experts in psychological trauma on hand to calm us down. Until then I guess I’ll have to stick to reading blogs.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. zahava
    Mar 07, 2007 @ 10:27:55

    See…now the trick is to limit food to the salon/dining/kitchen area! That way, there is no chance that the rest of the house is chametz-dik! Years ago, when still living in the States our Rabbi came to drop something off at our house the day after Pesach ended. He almost fell over when I interrupted our conversation to yell at my then-four-year-old son NOT to bring a sandwich into his bedroom because it was chametz.

    “But Zahava!” he gasped, “Pesach is over!”

    “Yes! But it will be back!” I replied.

    This tactic has gotten me through for the past 13 years. G-d willing, it’ll get me through a lifetime of Pesach prep!

  2. Liorah Lleucu
    Mar 07, 2007 @ 18:26:02

    Gee, to think cleaning one’s house is considered by many women to serious trial of the soul. I can’t imagine it.

  3. Jenifer
    Mar 08, 2007 @ 03:15:53

    I want to thank you for giving the translations of words I don’t know the meaning of. I’m not Jewish, but love reading your blog and others. However, there are times I just have no idea what folks are talking about. (Kind of like sitting around and listening to my son and husband talk “Techno-Geek.” I’m left clueless…)

    I fall into the same category as you–thin, but messy. Hey, I know what is in my piles. Don’t mess with my piles! Of course, my piles wouldn’t contain leaven. They’re just messy.

    I enjoy your writing. I certainly hope you can keep up your blogging with work, family, etc., but understand limited time. Thanks again!

  4. Bruce
    Mar 08, 2007 @ 06:49:58

    This reminds me of the man who told his wife that she only had to clean the chametz, not the dirt. Fine, she replied, I’ll clean the chametz and put the dirt back!

  5. debby
    Mar 08, 2007 @ 08:39:26

    This is Rabbi Aviner’s famous article about how to clean and if you work full time it really does help

    http://www.torahmitzion.org/eng/resources/show.asp?id=300

  6. westbankmama
    Mar 08, 2007 @ 15:20:47

    Zahava – yes, I know that tactic, but I am too lazy during the year to yell at my kids not to take food into the bedrooms!

    Liora – to each his own, I guess. Then again, I think going through this world without a sense of humor is also a trial….

    Jenifer – thank you for noticing that. I try very hard translate, although sometimes things slip past me.

    Bruce – LOL!

    debby – yes, I have heard of this too.

  7. My Home Improvement Portal
    Aug 17, 2007 @ 09:48:02

    Thanks for sharing this information. Really is pack with new knowledge. Keep them coming.

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