Rivkah Writes…

April 23, 2009

It Hath Passed – Over

Filed under: Humor — rivkahwrites @ 6:40 am

In my neighborhood, Passover is a big deal. And not just Seder night, but the weeks – in some cases, months – of behind-the-scenes preparation that take place prior to the big night. Passover, for all ye who are uninitiated, is a celebration of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt. Here’s the brief historical synopsis: God dispatched Moses to convince the Egyptian Pharaoh to release the Jews from captivity and enslavement. He refused, hence the ten plagues. In unleashing the tenth plague – the killing of the first borns – God “passed over” the houses of Jewish people with first born sons and only killed the Egyptian first borns, hence…you get the picture. At any rate, by mid-tenth plague, the Egyptians were only too happy to have the Jews leave. The Chosen People were evicted so quickly, that the bread they prepared for the journey didn’t rise – become leavened – and accompanied the Jews on their desert sojourn in its unleavened state.


So much for the history of Passover. Getting back to the present, depending on each Jewish family’s level of observance, celebrating Passover turns into a smaller – or much larger – disruption of the everyday routine. Just how great a disruption does Passover create in my everyday routine? Well, let’s just say that since marrying into a Hasidic family at the tender age of 19, my favorite expression has become “maximum discomfort = maximum holiness,” or, “why should it be easy when it can be hard?” So each year before Passover, my task is to clean the house of leaven, and believe me, if you’re prone to OCD, that innocent phrase “clean the house of leaven” can translate into an agonizingly daunting task.


Of course, over the years, I’ve come to side strongly with the rabbinical authorities who insist that Passover does not constitute spring cleaning. According to the Rabbis, anything a dog wouldn’t eat is not considered leaven. So I walk around the house waving my mop in front of me like a censer repeatedly chanting, “if a dog wouldn’t eat it, I’m not cleaning it – kosher…” a mantra that makes the whole process that much easier. Or so I’ve found. This year, though, with my layoff occurring only a few weeks before Passover, I found this strategy more challenging than usual. Imagine me, if you will, newly rejected by corporate America, assuming a brave face while preparing for the holiday and its attendant pleasures (cooking, cleaning, and washing up – ad infinitum, not to mention ad nauseam), and you’ve hit upon my Passover state of mind.


So ask me how Passover was this year and I will tell you, in no uncertain terms: It has passed. It is over. Amen.



  1. O mom u know it was’nt that bad!!!!!! We loved the delicious food you made and I’m sure you enjoyed making it just as we enjoyed eating it. But like you said its over and you know what that means…..NO MORE POTATOES AND EGGS!!!!

    Comment by Felicia Kaufman — April 23, 2009 @ 7:19 am | Reply

  2. My kids wouldn’t buy the “if a dog doesn’t eat it” routine. My 17-year old made the bidikah into a two hour marathon, examining every corner and looking under every piece of furniture. It also puzzles me why all I ever here during the whole week is “I’m hungry.” My husband suggested that it was because everyone is home. I say, they were all home on Sukkot, and it was no problem. It isn’t the bread because they eat matza all year round. There is just something in the air. I’m happy it has passed over also.

    Comment by Nadine Bonner — April 24, 2009 @ 2:07 am | Reply

    • I hear you, Nadine!

      Comment by rivkahwrites — April 24, 2009 @ 5:17 am | Reply

  3. That’s why I have a dog, no need to clean, I tell him to eat everything, whatever he doesn’t eat OBVIOUSLY is kosher!!!

    Comment by R. K. — April 24, 2009 @ 5:07 am | Reply

    • Hey – can I borrow that dog?!

      Comment by rivkahwrites — April 26, 2009 @ 11:26 pm | Reply

  4. As a long time yeshiva boy, modern orthodox jew and dog lover, I always got a real kick out of the “if a dog won’t eat it” proviso. Apparently the great sages, in their infinite wisdom, knew little about the eating habits of canines. Especially Labrador Retrievers. My Lab will eat just about anything that isn’t moving, and maybe even a few things that are. I suppose this means that colored pencils, tennis balls and Batman action figures are hametz too.

    Wonderful blog, btw.

    Comment by Elliot C. — April 24, 2009 @ 11:13 pm | Reply

    • You know Elliot, maybe dogs have just evolved since the old days! Glad you like the blog.

      Comment by rivkahwrites — April 26, 2009 @ 11:22 pm | Reply

  5. Thanks for a good laugh! I’m linking this post to my “Kosher Kitchens” blog posting, to educate the unknowing on this annual rite of Spring!

    Comment by Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS — April 26, 2009 @ 10:09 pm | Reply

  6. Thanks Jamie – I also enjoyed your posting on Kosher Kitchens!

    Comment by rivkahwrites — April 26, 2009 @ 11:20 pm | Reply

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