Pesach is over, and I have NEVER in my life experienced Pesach like this before. It was my very first “real” Pesach! I was officially in charge of the entire situation and did everything from start to finish. And it is a LOT !!!! It’s one thing to go to my in laws house and help in the kitchen, or I’ve been at my Dad’s house, but I never had the entire holiday and all its prep work on my head:
The shopping lists.
The Menu planning.
The exhausting shopping trips.
The Kashering / Covering the kitchen.
The Cleaning from the Cooking.
The cleaning from the cooking.
Oh, and mind you – you can’t look like a rag when Yom Tov begins, so after ALL of this, you still need to look beautiful and put together, with makeup and dressed in Shul – all with a smile on your face.
It is a LOT !!!!!!
(PS – I also “forgot” to mention that with all this going on, you still have a bunch of kiddies to take care of…. But for arguments sake, let’s pretend the kids don’t exist )
And so, I have a newfound respect for every single mother / wife out there. How they do this year after year is BEYOND me. Oh, and by the way – this was also NOT including guests! We are still settling in, and quite frankly, I’m not ready for major guests … so imagine the moms do ALL of this PLUS entertain guests (or annoying visiting family members) ALL with a smile and a grace!!
Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend
It is no wonder that many people have a tradition to give their wives a piece of jewelry before the Yom Tov. Frankly, I never really understood this tradition… get your wife some cleaning help, or do the freaking dishes for a change! How are some diamonds gonna help me get the house cleaned and the food cooked??? Who needs diamonds at a time like this?! Well, I gotta tell ya … come Yom Tov, and suddenly I said to myself, “damn, I deserve something for all this hard labor!” And lo and behold – my husband presented me with a beautiful silver pendant necklace. I hadn’t asked for it, or even MENTIONED that I wanted some new jewelry for Yom Tov!! (I bought myself an awesomely comfortably house dress / Dashiki to wear and I’m in love with it!) but I never even thought of jewelry… until Pesach began ….and here he got it for me. And I appreciated it more than ever.
Anyway, like I said, I have a serious newfound respect for my fellow women folk.
Something else occurred to me while I was cleaning chickens….
For thousands of years, women have been doing the exact same thing. Every Pesach they go through the same difficulties, the same schlepping and shopping and cooking… and every year they are exhausted come Seder night. Why is it that the women never got together and decided to change the traditions a bit? Sure, you have to eat Matzah – but couldn’t the women decided NOT to have such large meals one after another? Or maybe decide to have communal meals which means less cooking? Or maybe decide that either you have FISH or Meat – NOT BOTH. Or maybe have a custom to hire cleaning help and cooks – so when we sit like Kings and Queens by the Seder, we really do sit like Kings and Queens and have servants? Surely, there are ideas out there to make Pesach simpler, easier, and not as grandiose as it has become over the years.
What is Pesach without the Traditions?
A while back I mentioned my good friend – who keeps a very strict Pesach. One year her husband who wanted to help, bought Kosher for Pesach Orange Juice. He felt that his wife should not slave away squeezing oranges for fresh OJ when he could just buy it from the store! While my friend appreciated his help and caring, she refused to use the juice and told him, “its just not Pesach with store bought orange juice.”
Sure, my friends a nut job, (hehe) but it helped me realize why women throughout the ages have kept this degree of difficulty on Pesach (and all Yomim Tovim for that matter). Sure, there are easier ways around it. Sure, the Rabbis can make decrees that will make the preparations less tedious. But at the end of the day, the women have realized (maybe subconsciously) that the beauty of Yom Tov, what keeps Pesach special for generation after generation, is the atmosphere and traditions that comes with the hard work that we put into the Yom Tov. We know deep down, that as women it is our job to create the Yom Tov feeling and atmosphere in our homes year after year. It is these feelings that come through our traditions (as nutty as they might seem) that carry on, with our children… and their children. And it is this reason that thousands of years after the very first Pesach – we are still here celebrating with the same fervor, the same faith, and the same sense of pride in our heritage and religion. Yes. there are always ways to make things easier, but I think deep down, whether we as realize it or not, understand that the hard work that goes into making Pesach – it is that exact effort that carries us through generation after generation.
And so, here is a shout out to all of you out there who have made Pesach this year, and are just as exhausted as I am. We did it! Now, go get yourself a massage and a manicure