Holistic House Cleaning for Passover
Passover cleaning is upon us as we step into the second month of Adar on our way to the month of Nisan and Passover. The current reality of the world is divisive, filled with negativity, fragility and chaos. Life in our beloved Eretz HaKodesh is similar and we also feel the chaos, disharmony and fragility of life and of the world around us. We suffer greatly from the tragedies of our current state of affairs. Therefore, it behooves us to make every attempt to bring gentleness, harmony and wholeness into all our endeavors. I would like to suggest one way that we, as Jewish women can create positive energetic shifts and restore a semblance of balance to the world. It is through a commitment to embrace “Holistic House Cleaning for Passover.”
What do I mean by “Holistic House Cleaning?” The term holistic is characterized by comprehending how the parts of something are intimately interconnected to its whole. This understanding creates a powerful and dynamic resonance that has the potential to be extremely positive. Therefore, instead of approaching the task of Passover cleaning in a negative fashion, as a daunting task to be dreaded, we can choose to look at it in a new transformative way. From the shift of consciousness, we can choose to comprehend on a deeper level the beautiful parts that we will bring into alignment with the whole, as we holistically clean our home in order to gear up for the exquisitely moving and soul stirring SEDER.
We know as Jewish women that if we fight against the task of Passover preparations or approach it in a negative way, an internal war breaks out and we and our family bear the brunt of the negativity and toxicity. Besides, Chazal state, it is an obligation for every member of the family to enjoy the Pesach Seder. In my opinion, we cannot engage in the Seder with positivity and joy if we have spent the preparation time in negativity and resentment.
Let’s be realistic: Passover cleaning has reached unnecessary and overwhelming levels and women are creating nervous tensions in their homes as a result. Let us be mindful of the true mission of Passover cleaning which is to rid the house of chametz—leavening. Chametz is representative of the evil impulses deep within a person’s soul. This entire cleaning process translates into ridding our souls of any spiritual impurities. This is the integration of the cleaning of our physical house to the cleaning of our inner, spiritual house. This concept is extraordinary! We are given the ability to clean out our inner spaces through ridding our homes of chametz. The symbolism embedded in the work we are doing rewards us with the gift of freedom of body and spirit on THE SACRED NIGHT OF THE SEDER!
So, what’s a woman to do who does not enjoy her Passover housecleaning tasks? Several options are available:
- hire help
- trade babysitting for cleaning
- bribe your husband or children or negotiate with them
- work as a team with a friend on each of your homes (it’s more fun)
- go away for the entire holiday
- accept the reality of your tasks in the home and apply Torah principles in order to do it B’Simchah (with joy).
My favorite example of what a woman CAN do is taken from a book called “Loving What Is” by Byron Katie. Byron Katie is an American speaker and author who teaches people how to end their own suffering around any and all issues through a process of inquiry. One of her greatest quotes is “when you argue with reality, you only lose 100% of the time.” Passover cleaning is a reality and we do not have to suffer through a process that is inherently a blessing. If we do, we are negatively impacting ourselves instead of blessing ourselves and our home.
In the book, Katie tells a story of walking into her house after a business trip. She goes into the kitchen and sees dishes piled in the sink. Instead of getting angry and losing her footing, she simply starts washing the dishes and one by one, she finishes in an easy uncomplicated, unemotional way. It fills her with joy and she goes on to the next task and same thing, no emotion or negative, energy-draining thoughts. She just completes the task in front of her. She states, “When you become a lover of what is, there are no more decisions to make, because you embrace the practice of loving the task in front of you and moving through it instead of battling against it.” Katie says “We are really alive when we live as simply as that…embracing what is in front of us without all the emotional knots we tie ourselves up in.” I agree wholeheartedly. It feels so FREEING.
Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller in her book, “More Precious than Pearls” (insights on Eshet Chayil) writes the following in relation to “She works willingly with her hands“. She relates that many women do their household duties without any great deal of enthusiasm. This comes from thinking only in terms of the unpleasant consequences of not doing what needs to get done i.e., having to live in a messy house. “If this is a woman’s motivation, she is not giving the gift of an orderly, clean home in a loving manner but is concentrating instead on fear of consequences……two very different perspectives on the same task.” The same reality applies to Passover cleaning and preparations.
The Gra on his commentary on Mishlei speaks about the unhappiness of one who seeks a certain result but does not appreciate that the process which leads to that result has its own inherent value. The Eshet Chayil is capable of manifesting a deep desire and true inclination to do what needs to be done…stemming from a deep appreciation of why she is doing the things she does. This is the wisdom of the Jewish woman and we all have it within us.
It is interesting to note that we begin our Passover cleaning in the month of Adar—the month of great joy. It is also the last month of the year according to some, so it is all about tying up loose ends. We finish our Passover preparations in the month of Nisan, which is the first month. It is all about new beginnings, rebirth and renewal. We see from this, the wisdom embedded in the Jewish calendar to guide and instruct us in the details of our lives.
Nisan is the month to leave our personal restrictions. It is the month in which we celebrate our freedom and our redemption. There is a powerful, heavenly influx of movement towards freedom and rebirth that enables us to go forward in our lives. Knowing this, we can choose to perform our entire Passover preparations with an abundant flow of inner joy, vitality and personal power while drawing down enormous blessings into our homes and into the world. Just as G-d gifted the Jewish nation with freedom from slavery, we can return our gift to Him by freeing ourselves from the slavery of assigning negativity and disdain to an incredibly spiritual task.
This year, choose to embrace HOLISTIC HOUSECLEANING FOR PASSOVER. Turn on the music and sing and dance while you work. Open the windows and let the warm spring breeze envelop you in a sunny influx of joy and by all means, perform your Passover preparations with wisdom. Your soul will thank you and so will your family and G-d will richly bless you.
With Blessings of love, light and holistic living. Chodesh Tov, Purim Sameach and Happy Passover cleaning, Ariella Bracha Waldinger