June 25, 2024
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June 25, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The Jewish calendar can really be broken down into holidays: the preparation before and the recovery afterward. Nowhere is this more obvious than pre-Pesach. Another suggested name for this period is, “Get Ready to Clean the House, Don’t Leave Crumbs Around, and Time to Get Rid of the Food.” Whatever you call this time period, it is one that can stress people.

I think some of the stress this time of the year comes from the need to change our habits. When we are in ShopRite or some other massive supermarket, we have to step back. That sale of eight boxes of Aunt Jemima waffles for $9.99—while attractive—forces a calculation. Let me jump into your head and tell you what I hear.

That’s a great deal. My kids love waffles. Let me get those. Oh, wait. Eight boxes. Do we really need eight boxes of Aunt Jemima waffles? Passover is in three weeks, and the most we will go through is four of those boxes. I don’t feel comfortable owning waffles over Pesach, so I’d have to throw them out. Four boxes of Aunt Jemima Waffles for $9.99 is not such a great deal. Besides, I hate to throw out food. My grandmother would roll over in her grave.

So, you are left standing in aisle 14 of the supermarket having an internal debate about food waste and economics while reviewing your internal calendar. This is pre-Pesach. And it doesn’t end there.

Normally, you let the kids eat chips in the play room. You have enough battles to fight. This is not worth it. They’re happy, and you avoid a confrontation. Besides, it’s not like you don’t clean.

However, there are always a few bits or crumbs that get into nooks and crannies. You know the ones you clean only when your mother-in-law is coming? Yeah, you know what I mean.
Anyway, so the kids are watching SpongeBob and want chips. You’d rather feed them dinner, but all you have is eight boxes of waffles in the freezer. So, what do you do? Do you engage in battle with your children over the chips? Or, maybe you try to carefully explain to your 5-year- old about crumbs, nooks, and crannies, and the meticulous search for chametz that is around the corner. Of course, to him, anything more than two days away is like forever. This is pre-Pesach.

You with me so far?

The pre-Pesach season arguably begins on Purim day itself. By the way, Rashi and Rashbam rule like this, while the Netziv says it begins on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Feel free to check me on this.

I’m with Rashi and Rashbam. Anyway, you’ve come home from your Purim seudah. You’ve gotten the children to sleep despite the mounds of chocolate they ate while at your brother’s house. It’s taking all your energy not to curse that darn brother of yours.

Now, if I may, I’d like to reenter the inner recesses of your mind. Okay, let me go through the Shalach Manot packages. Let me count how many there are. 44 bags!! What in the world are we going to do with all this stuff? How many hamantaschen can we eat? Can’t people just give to Project Ezrah instead? I’m bringing half this stuff to work. Those people will eat anything.

This is pre-Pesach. Enjoy this time of the year—whatever you call it—and try not to stress.

Larry Bernstein is a freelance writer, teacher, and tutor. He and his family live in Bergen County. You can find his website at larrydbernstein.com.  His blog address is memyselfandkids.com.

By Larry Bernstein

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