Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Guest Post

I've been kinda busy this past week as I'm sure all of you have been. And if you haven't, try not to rub it in our faces.

It's not like my fingers haven't been itching to get some words down "on paper." I even started two posts. One of which has become a story which may or may not end up on my blog. Of course, I didn't finish the posts, so they weren't posted. Should I write another sentence or two with the word post in it. Sorry, just a little punch drunk... haven't been getting too much sleep.

So I got an e-mail from a reader offering his services... NO! Not like that!!! Get your minds out the gutter!! He offered to post for me. And of course, I said, "yes." I believe in making my life easier soooo... I would like to introduce you to Yossi and his rant on wooden spoons and Pesach cleaning.

I’ve been thinking about this all day, as I furiously scrub down my apartment ahead of the looming deadline, and I have reached a conclusion: It’s all because of the wooden spoons.

For as far back as anyone can remember, Jews have been buying wooden spoons to use during the b’dikas chametz ceremony, even though they serve no known function. They simply get carried around for a little while, then get burned with the crumbs found. Despite the lack of utility, great effort has generally gone into getting these spoons, and no Passover can be complete without one. Or so it seems.

I trace back the entire genre of senseless, unreasoned, extra-halachic stringencies to this dynamic, all provoked by the lowly wooden spoon.

Why wash off the chametz before putting it away? Why clean in places no rabbi ever demanded? Why spend extra to buy unwashed eggs, so the shell shouldn't touch (non-chametz) soap? Why hire anti-Semitic Eastern Europeans to steal, break, and scratch everything in the house? Why raise the home tension level and blood-pressure to unsafe levels?

Does anyone think that the rabbis of the Talmud did such things? They didn’t even have aluminum foil!

The Ben Ish Chai, Chief Rabbi of Baghdad at a time when that community was very rich and living in huge homes,wrote a “Mussar” letter to the women in the community. I paraphrase: “Don’t be lazy when it comes to Pesach preparation and cleaning. You are privileged to live in large homes, and have plenty of help, so don’t wait until the last minute! Start cleaning two, maybe even three, days before the holiday!”

I rest my case. And my pruny-looking dishwater hands. Excuse me while I go learn Divrei Torah on the Hagada.

1 comment:

Leora said...

Thanks for helping put everything into perspective. And now, back to my kitchen...