June 22, 2024
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June 22, 2024
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Premature Preparations

It feels like Pesach is arriving earlier than ever before. Many Jews still haven’t finished their hamantaschen yet most stores have started lining their shelves with that white paper that screams Pesach is coming. For most vendors, Pesach is when serious money is to be made, so the longer Pesach shopping runs, the better. In other words, for supermarkets there is no such thing as preparing for Pesach too early just like there is no such thing as preparing for an asteroid impact event too early.

Of course, the Shulchan Aruch and other sources indicate that Pesach preparation should take place during the thirty days between Purim and Pesach. To put this in aeronautical terms, those thirty days are designed to afford ample runway to land the Passover plane. To continue the analogy, however, air traffic control does not welcome flights that arrive too early because that causes chaos. Similarly, planning for Pesach too early disrupts the natural order of things, as does eating dinner at 3:30pm just to catch the early-bird special.

Thus, the question is: how do you know if you’ve started preparing for Pesach too early? Let’s run through the calendar, picking up right after Pesach (and acting like Covid never happened).

If you are (i) eating dairy (or at least not eating meat), (ii) staying up all night to learn (or at least telling people that you did) and (iii) trying to explain to your co-workers what Shavuot is (or at least struggling to point to any well-known symbols for the holiday), then it’s way too early to start preparing for Pesach.

If you are (i) dropping off your kids at the bus for summer camp (and then secretly heading to the airport for a childless getaway) or (ii) driving up to camp for visiting day (and trying to convince your spouse that you have plenty of time to stop at the legendary Heimische bakery), then it’s still way too early to start preparing for Pesach.

If you are (i) dipping apples in honey, (ii) placing bets on and timing the duration of each Tekiah Gedolah and (iii) counting the number of seeds in a pomegranate to confirm whether there are actually 613, then it’s too early to start preparing for Pesach.

If you are (i) fasting, (ii) dreaming of the bagels and lox that await you after shofar blowing and (iii) fighting with family members over who gets to toast their bagels first (and are then being scolded: “How can you fight like this right after Yom Kippur?”), then it’s too early to start preparing for Pesach.

If you are (i) sleeping in your sukkah, (ii) making etrog jelly and (iii) insincerely sukkah-hopping as reconnaissance just so you can surreptitiously steal sukkah decoration ideas from your unsuspecting neighbors, then it’s too early to start preparing for Pesach.

If you are (i) trapped in a super-menschy Simchas Torah mosh-pit, (ii) waiting on an endless line to get an aliyah and (iii) searching feverishly but futilely for the kippah that flew off your whirling dervish head during an almost dangerous hora, then it’s too early to start preparing for Pesach.

If you are (i) cutting a turkey, (ii) wondering why you don’t eat cranberry and yams more often and (iii) instantly regretting another tension-filled Thanksgiving dinner with your often dysfunctional extended family, then it’s too early to start preparing for Pesach.

If you (i) have a fresh jelly doughnut stain on your shirt, (ii) trip over a spinning dreidel and (iii) get yelled at by family members who absolutely hate the lame and misguided gifts you got them, then it’s too early to start preparing for Pesach.

If you are making a series of unbearably annoying and completely unfunny statements in honor of Tu B’shvat such as (i) “To tree or not to tree, that is the question,” (ii) “Trees are like banks, they both have many branches. Trees are like cars, they both have trunks. Trees are like dogs, they both have bark” and (iii) “Which baseball player loved Tu B’shvat? Babe Root,” then it’s still too early to start preparing for Pesach.

If you are (i) still in your controversial and poorly-received Purim costume that is threatening to destroy your marriage, (ii) receiving intensely dirty looks from everyone in the room every time you “boo” the name of Haman by blasting an ear-splitting air horn and (iii) offering seudah guests hamantaschen with bizarre fillings such as tuna fish, Worcestershire sauce and toothpaste, then even then it’s still too early to start preparing for Pesach.

Final thought: The early bird catches the worm but the chronically late worm likely catches a break.

Send comments or criticism to [email protected].

By Jon Kranz

 

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