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Spring Cleaning

by Linda Wasilkoff
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
 

Cleaning prior to Unleavened Bread can be a chore to dread or a wonderful way to augment our preparation for Passover. Personally, I usually find that the amount of time and effort I spend in the physical cleaning aspect of my Passover preparation mirrors my spiritual preparation. But, after so many years of going through the motions, it is easy to either over-do or under-do the physical cleaning or, perhaps let it become mundane and meaningless.

Recently I came across an article online by Elizabeth Scott entitled “The Ways Cleaning Alleviates Stress.” It’s about how spring cleaning can help you de-stress. That sounded intriguing! Two points in her article got my attention and are applicable to cleaning for Unleavened Bread.

She suggests that cleaning can provide an opportunity to be thankful for everything you touch. For us, this goes deeper – being thankful to God for all He has given to us including such meaningful Holy Days. It is easy to mirror the attitude of the Israelites who were brought out of slavery but complained about all they didn’t have. This year I plan to take more time as I clean to be thankful for the Holy Days as well as the physical things that I have been given – even though I have to clean them.

Another point made in the article is that the actual work of cleaning can be a form of meditation. While the article was speaking about a stress management technique, our meditation as we clean for Unleavened Bread can be more to the point of examining ourselves and using the physical cleaning as a type of spiritual cleansing. It lends itself to many spiritual lessons when we just take the time to meditate while we are cleaning.

At one time, I cleaned every corner of my house, every coat pocket and cuffs on trousers. I even washed down the walls. It felt really good to have my house spotless by the time the spring Feast arrived, but I was overly stressed and exhausted. These days, I realize that I have to prioritize. I begin my cleaning early so that I can tackle some areas of the house that I would like to deep clean. Then, as the Feast draws nearer, I concentrate on the areas where leavened products are most likely to be found. I try to work logically so that I can begin to isolate the leavening to a small area that can be easily cleaned at the last minute.

Each year I learn a lesson as a direct result of de-leavening. A few years ago, during the Night to Be Much Observed, we had a question asked about an embarrassing moment having to do with what was forgotten in cleaning. That night I was pretty confident that my cleaning was all done as I related one occasion years earlier when we were hosting the evening in our home. As everyone was preparing to leave after dinner, I opened the refrigerator to find a bag of hot dog buns staring at me! I don’t even know why they were there. Ladies had been helping me put food away after dinner, but nobody said anything about bread in the refrigerator. I was mortified when I saw it, and my husband had to make a quick trip to the nearest trash can! Well, everyone had a good laugh at that story.

Little did I know that history was about to repeat itself. When we arrived home that evening I discovered a bag of bread sitting on my counter that I had intended to throw away on my way out that evening. The lesson I learned is that it doesn’t pay to become too confident about being sin free.

I hope you have a physically and spiritually stress-alleviating cleaning experience this year.
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