Thursday, April 14, 2011

Talking to myself while cleaning for Pesach

Chaya 1: Wow, there’s a lot of gross stuff stuck on this chair.
Chaya 2: It’s okay. Just spray it with toxic cleaner and keep working.
Chaya 1: As long as I’m cleaning the chair, I may as well really scrub at it.
Chaya 2: That would be fine if all you had to do before Pesach was clean this chair, but you have a few other things on your agenda.
Chaya 1: I can’t believe I let so much gunk accumulate on this chair. My sisters-in-law would never let their chairs get this dirty.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I want to be a matzah

I just heard this awesome story from Rabbi Hanoch Teller about a rabbi who realized right before the seder that his housekeeper had fed all the shmurah matzah to his children for breakfast.

This was the 18th century. These weren’t matzot that the rabbi had ordered from his shul or picked up at the local kosher mart. He had cut the wheat himself and separated the chaff and ground the grain to flour and mixed it with water and kneaded the dough and shaped the matzot and poked them full of holes to discourage rising and rushed them into a hot oven and baked them to perfection.  And through all this hard work, I’m sure he meditated on the symbolism of matzah, yearning to be “flat” and free of the chametz of ego and to perform the mitzvah with beauty and clarity. And in an instant, all that work was gone, munched into breakfast crumbs. But the rabbi didn’t freak out and yell at his employee; he just asked his wife to obtain some regular matzot, and they proceeded with the seder.

I shifted in discomfort when I heard this story. I thought of how I might react if, say, a side dish for the seder meal doesn’t turn out the way I want.