Passover is upon us and I am sort of almost ready. Because of my car accident seven and a half months ago and my tendinitis which I am just finally over, my cleaning and cooking will not be as thorough and rigorous as I like them to be, but I am doing things differently this year and that’s a good thing.
Here are the things I am doing differently:
1. Not obsessing as much as I like to. Traditional Judaism is a beloved religious undertaking for those of us on the Obsessive-Compulsive spectrum, with its myriad boundaries, numerical rituals, and things to do and not do in order to be “right” with God and the world. Even our spring cleaning is regimented, to a certain extent, and I usually take this time of year to go totally nutso bonkers with my cleaning. This year, it will be more by-the-books and I will save the super duper magnifying glass-type of scouring for another time when my hand is better. And that’s ok.
2. Asking for help. Uuuuggghhh I hate asking for help. But I did it. My therapist told me to (she’s been telling me to hire a cleaning service for literally years and I keep resisting). My BFF told me to (she has the most reasonable brain of anyone I know and is very persuasive). My mom told me to (she likes me to pamper myself in all ways possible even though I have never enjoyed any pampering my entire life). So, I hired someone to help me clean the kitchen and bathrooms. Just for a few hours. And I recruited my other BFF to help me do some prep cooking while our kids play. We’ll order them in dinner and chop apples until there are no more apples to chop. So that’s that.
3. Buck the environment (just this once). I don’t use my dishwasher during Pesach, since it’s not stainless steel and I’m the kind of Jewess who won’t use it during Pesach if it can’t be kashered the way I want it to be. I also don’t have a housekeeper or want to hire someone to come and wash my dishes after the seders. Period. It makes me uncomfortable, it’s not my thing, don’t bug me about it. Solution: I am going to use paper goods for the seders and that’s going to just be how it is. During the days of Chol HaMoed (the intermediate days of Passover), I will use my Pesach dishes and I can handle washing them for me and the boys, but for the extra five people coming for seders, it’s going to be paper goods. That’s that.
4. Sit in uncomfortable feelings. I usually run from uncomfortable feelings. Or hide from them by keeping really busy and running myself into the ground. Having Mike (my boys’ father) and his mom (who I adore) over for the seders may be uncomfortable, but I’m also really excited to celebrate Pesach together because we are still a family, divorce or not. Our boys love Pesach, and they love their father and their Safta, and I love them too, because we are a family. It’s ok. We can do this. We know this is best for our boys, and we are working so incredibly hard to make this transition as smooth as possible. Part of that means it may feel sad, and hard. And that’s ok.
5. Order food. For Chol HaMoed, I actually ordered some vegan Kosher for Pesach food from a woman named Brenda (CateringbyBrenda.com) who makes food here in Los Angeles for this exact purpose. Since my hands can’t cook like they are used to, I got some soup and some salads, just to have some stuff around the house. I have to travel to Lubbock, Texas during Chol HaMoed and I don’t think they have much kosher food there, much less Kosher for Passover food, much less Kosher for Passover vegan food. So some of Brenda’s lovely prepared food will accompany me to my talk I am giving in Lubbock. So that’s that.
Pesach is the time of year we seek to free ourselves from what chains us. I am typically a slave to obsessing, seeing my life as a Hunger Games competition, and running from the hard stuff. I pray that God grants me the serenity this Pesach to start the process of freeing myself, one limitation at a time until I am the me I was designed to be.
When we burn chametz (leaven) the morning before the first seder, I imagine all of the dark parts of me floating up to God in Heaven, because only God can bring light to those parts. I hope the same for all of you, whatever the darkness is you find yourself in this spring.
Chag Sameach and have a freilichn koshern Pesach!
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