Pesach, at a full eight days (and even for those who hold seven), involves a complete immersion in the chag and it is for that reason that I love it. We look forward to certain recipes, to seeing my Pesach dishes and to unearthing the school projects from years past, including the Afikoman bag I made in kindergarten that I insist my dad use every year. And while some may have had enough matzo and cream cheese at this point (half-way through), by the time you read this article, many a bagel will have been eaten and matzo brei will be a thing of the past.
The pre-Pesach prep is enough to make even the strongest fall like a house of cards as a repairman was needed erev Pesach to fix my oven that blew as a result of the self-clean. “I’ve got a lot of calls like this today,” he said. “Can’t you guys just wait until after the holiday to clean your ovens?” It doesn’t work that way, I explained. And then looking around my kitchen he said, “So some people have two dishwashers, right?” Yes, I answered. “One for kosher and one for not kosher?” he asked. Um, no, I said smiling. “It doesn’t work that way either,” I explained. And after that was clarified and the oven started to work, the band-aids were applied to the cuts in my hands and the cleaning resumed.
The phone rang as I was scrubbing my oven. The gentleman I called to repair my fence wanted to know when would be a good time to swing by for an estimate. And instead of laughing hysterically or bursting out into tears, either of which would have been acceptable responses considering the state of my kitchen and my Pre-Pesach panic, I asked if it could wait until after the holiday.
“No problem,” he said, “It’s my holiday, too.”
“Great,” I responded, and then he clarified. “Except I’m too busy for all eight days,” he said, “so I’m doing it all on Sunday.”
“See, I’m a fence guy,” he explained. “I’ve got nothin’ to do all winter. But come spring I’m really busy — I’ve got no time for eight days!” And so, he was going to do it all on one day. Matzo, cream cheese and jelly were his favorite and that Sunday was going to be Passover for him. “You like matzo pizza?” he asked. “How about matzo brei?”
I said I liked them both, as I stared at my hands and looked at my clothes and the state of my kitchen and thought about this gentleman and his one-day of Pesach. And that’s when the hysterical laughter began, coupled with tears running down my face.
We all have our breaking points.
L’shanah Habah B’Yerushalayim.