Sisterhood Blog

Pesach: The Mother of Invention for the Prevention of Chametz

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

  • Print
  • Share Share

Who’s stressed about cleaning for Pesach? Me, me! Yes, ladies, it’s that time of year when the impending festival brings out the inner balabusta in even the most latent of homemakers.

I know of women who spend weeks, and I mean actual weeks, preparing their homes to be chametz-free. Women — there may be men out there doing it too, but I haven’t encountered any — who clean out every closet long in advance, who diligently cover every kitchen surface with aluminum foil and whose couch cushions have long been free of crumbs.

Me, as the working mother of three children whose need for my assistance counter-intuitively seems to grow, not diminish, as they get older, I’m going to cram it all into two days when I have help at the end of this week. Karlene and I are going to be blurs of crevice-picking, surface-scrubbing, cabinet-cleaning, oven koshering, window washing, ceiling fan-blade cleaning efficiency. And, yes, I know that Passover prep does not require spring cleaning, but it seems as good a time as any to get it done.

Of course, I’m not as obsessed as my haredi friend T, who was telling me she “just” cleans out her china cabinet, polishes the silver and locks it up, putting away the key for Pesach so no one can get into the chametzdik piece of furniture. Her sister was critical because she was not only cleaning out her cabinets, but covering them up with opaque paper afterward so that no one should somehow be unclear that they were unfit for Passover use. I thought of her when I saw this Web site, which features every widget and aid the chumra-obsessed could possibly require.

Not only are there Pesach sink inserts and refrigerator shelf liners — these I’d seen before. You can also buy these little mitts to cover your sink knobs and faucets and cabinet handles. The label promises that they are guaranteed to be chametz-free. But the piece de resistance, in my (telephone) book are the plastic telephone and handset covers (available for purchase separately), designed to keep any sneaky chametz particles from touching your kosher-for-Pesach skin, I guess.

But even that may be surpassed by the “Bedikas Chometz Bread” package of 10 slices for the low, low price of just $1.49 — just in case you forget to set aside some of the regular bread you’ve been eating up until the day before Passover, to use in the ritual search for the last of the leaven.

Me? I’m going to wipe down the phone with a nice chemically cleaning wipe and leave it at that. My chametzdik cabinets will be cleaned out and then closed shut with masking tape as they are every year. My husband will shlep out the Pesach cooking and dining gear, we’ll put them in one cleaned out and lined dish cabinet and stuff everything else into the other, and close it with a little tape for good measure.

I’ll wait for next year to buy the latest and greatest Pesach innovation. That’s when I fully expect to find for sale a super-giant roll of plastic sheeting, designed to cover every surface in your kitchen in one ginormous shrink wrap.

This Passover may we all feel connected to the Exodus, and find liberation from all of our compulsions and anxieties.

What do you hope to be liberated from?


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Pesach, Passover, Chametz, Chumrah

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.