Pre-Pesach Post

A Story:
Five years ago on erev Pesach I came into our kitchen found my wife soakng the Romain lettuce before checking it for bugs.

I noticed that she was soaking the lettuce in the sink insert that we use for the ‘dairy’ side of our sink.

I, of course, over-reacted and freaked out on the spot!! I was in a complete panic.
Several questions exploded in my brain at once:
What are we going to do? What’s the status of our lettuce? Milchig or Fleishig? Could we use it? Would we be able to get more romaine in time? Should I even be worried?

I decided to call a well know posek (in Chicago) and ask about our lettuce.
B’H, he answered his phone. I explained what had happened and he asked, “When was the last time we used the Pesach sink bin?”

Not since last year, I answered.

The he calmly told me, “It’s not a mitzvah to make your wife crazy before Yom Tov. Your lettuce is fine and enjoy your Pesach.”

A Quote:
From my earliest youth, I remember that the children would ask each other on the first morning of Pesach, “How long did your Seder last?”
This was true in my youth, and it is still the case today. If the children were to ask me this now, I would answer them, “I made sure to eat the afikoman before chatzos (midnight).”
-Rav Shimon Schwab (from Rav Schwab on Prayer-page 541)

A Thought:
The word Pesach doesn’t only mean to “pass over”, it can also mean the “mouth speaks”. This, of course, fits nicely into the mitzvah of telling the story of our exodus from Mitzrayim. It is a verbal mitzvah. The whole evening we read, ask questions, sing, and discuss things pertaining to the Seder.

The minhaggim we have on Pesach have been passed down to us (either from our own families or we have taken upon the minhaggim ourselves over the years) in the oral tradition.

I find it interesting that most Jewish families have some sort of Seder on Pesach. While they may be unaffiliated or association themselves with camps outside of Torah Judasim, they connect on some level with the Pesach experience. An experience involving a Haggadah rooted in Torah sh’bechsav. A Haggadah that is based on Midrash, Mishna, and Gemorah- the main elements of our Oral Torah.

When we open our mouths at the Seder we are not only attaching ourselves to a powerful mitzvah, but we are connecting with previous generations and building memories for future generations, as well.

A Request:
My wife mentioned to me that I should blog about this issue of ona’as devarim (hurtful words) and Pesach. A seemingly casual question like, “Have you turned over yet?” might be a sore topic for some couples.
While one may be proud that they “turned over for Pesach” five days or even a week before yom tov, it only makes those who have yet to turn over or got a late start feel bad. The same could be said for telling friends what delicious food one ate at the Seder or what plans you have for Chol Hamoed.

A Link:
Run, don’t walk, to read A compass for a journey by Rafi G. In fact, if you have time take a look at some of this other postings.

Chag Kasher V’Sameach!

7 thoughts on “Pre-Pesach Post

  1. Rafi G

    thanks for the link and kind words.

    BTW, I am the opposite. I take pride in our turning over the kitchen as late as possible. I have to convince my wife to wait to turn over. I believe that Pesah was given as a mitzva for a week and (unless you have extenuating circumstances) there is nothing great in saying I turned over a week early. Hashem wants you to eat Pesah food on Pesah and not worry about the crumbs a week before Pesah. Only on pesah are we supposed to be rid of hametz!

  2. Neil Harris

    You know when I finished turning over. Base on a conversation w/ Mrs. Uberdox, I only asked people over Shabbos, “How are plans for Pesach coming?”. Did you like the Rav Schwab quote?

  3. david harris

    a great posting, especially the first section on the status of your lettuce. the posek’s answer seems right on to me and speaks of the need of keeping things always in the proper perspective, an important lesson from the seder, i.e. being thankful that we are no longer slaves, recognizing how blessed we are to be free, and, of course, perspective is the essence of “dai’einu.”
    chag sameach!


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