Friday, April 18, 2008
Happy Pesach

Good morning and welcome to another edition where an Atheist Queer Jewess named Faith explains it all!

Our topic this morning is cleaning for Pesach, which starts Saturday night, (not the cleaning, the holiday). Why am I concerned with cleaning for Pesach? Well, in Jewish communities, it's a big deal. The reason for the cleaning is called bedikat chametz which literally translates to search for chametz. What is chametz? That all depends on who you ask.

Wheat, barley, spelt, rye or oats are the 5 prohibited grains during Passover. Once these come in contact with water = chametz. That's the technical side. It gets a lot more complicated from there. I’m not even going to go into it…it would be like the longest blog post in history. Back to cleaning. You thought your grandmother did spring cleaning?


Cleaning for Passover involves making sure there is no chametz in your home. Any crumb of old food in any corner of your home that might have touched chametz and still be edible is considered chametz. In my home, we would throw out all of the bread and crackers, cookies and cereal. Anything that had a carby ring to it was gone. Clean out the pantry, refrigerator, freezer, oven, microwave, appliances and check every crack and crevice for edible chametz. And that’s just the beginning.

According to an article in the New York Times, some families start a month ahead of time with a wash of every Lego that may have a crust of chametzy saliva.

Don’t forget to copy all the recipes from your cookbooks that you may need during the 8 days because if a cookbook full of cookie crumbs gets loose, all is lost. Lest you think you are done – go out to the garage and get your specially made Formica countertops to sit atop your regular everyday countertops for fear that you have chametz permeating the pores in your Corian.

Put all of your starched shirts in storage, for fear you may get water on them, lick your shirt and get a little chametz that way. Finally after getting out your candle and feather, searching for the last crumbs, burning them and nullifying all the chametz that may have inadvertently been left behind, then you can get out the Passover dishes.

“WTF?” You may be thinking.

Well, as nothing in Judaism is just as it is, chametz is more than just the little crumbs of carboliciousness that are prohibited during these 8 days. Chametz is said to symbolize the egocentricity that threatens to eclipse our essential selves. It is also seen as a symbol of the yetzer hara (our inclination toward evil). We spend this time searching for the parts of ourselves that are not ourselves. Those things that we hang onto because our mother wanted us to marry well, because our peers thought would make us more popular, more fun or just more interesting, but we couldn’t have cared less about.

This weekend, I am going to do a little inventory of my internal chametz. Then, I might just do a little burning.

What are the things that you are holding on to that you might need to clean out of the nooks and crannies of your home?

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9 Comments:

Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

So, after reading ALLLLL that, we've come to the conclusion that carbs are evil. Duh.

I'll be crushing and soaking my matzoh for kugel later today!

Happy Pesach!

Blogger Faith said...

So funny Ellen!!! You know, I didn't even make that connection? Duh.

xoxo

Blogger Jennu said...

Interesting timing. This morning I was at the chiropractor/kinethesiologist and he got on me about stressing myself out (he could tell from feeling my neck) and I started talking about how I went out with friends a couple of nights this week and instead of feeling relaxed afterwards, I beat myself up over how many extra calories I had consumed. He said I have so much going on in my life and I'm beating myself up over my weight and I need to stop focusing on something so unimportant.

I've been considering stopping keeping track of my WW points without treating it like an opportunity to eat everything in sight. So I guess I'll be trying to give up obsessing over my weight.

Blogger Faith said...

Jennu - I highly recommend this article. It's pretty much everything I could possibly say and more. I wish you all the best!

Blogger MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

I would die without carbs. Just shrivel up and die. I guess its a good thing I'm not a practicing Jew. Or a Jew of any sort, really. How about an almost-married-to-a-Jew? :) I love Seder. I love the extra chair and the leaving the door open and the applechunk stuff, and the horseradish, just not so much the gefilte fish (did I spell that right?) I should practice Judaism the way most people practice Christianity - just on the GOOD holidays!!

Blogger Lynn said...

I came across this at a conference recently and I really liked it: http://www.shalomctr.org/node/1374 ...I like the implications for metaphorical chametz and the extraneous sh*t that clutters our lives.

Chag sameach to you and yours,
Lynn

Blogger æ said...

fucking a, faith, this is exactly what one of my clients needed me to read.

thanks.

I'll let you know whether I pronounce chametz well enough for the discussion to be productive...

xo
ae

Blogger dale-harriet said...

OY! (I had to, it's my obligation as a Genuine Bubbeh.) I don't go so far as the candle & feather; furthermore, I stuff the bacon and bread into the freezer, tape it shut with a piece of masking tape bearing the legend "TREF! OPEN IT AND DIE!" (for the benefit of my goyishe husband). But I separate milk and meat, eat only matzoh - &c. Incidentally....Manishewitz egg noodles are carbolicious, especially when I'm done with 'em .. I make a DELISH noodle kugel. I also box up all the chametz and "sell it to a non-Jew" -- that would be the husband, who then stores it in a corner of the basement which is NOT a part of MY house until the holidays are over. I'm an ethnic-creative-hippie-pagan sort of Jew, and only get into Chanukah, Pesach and sometimes, you know, Purim, on account of I lurve me some poppyseed hamentasch. Nevermind.

Blogger daiqianwen said...

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