Everyone knows about cleaning for Pesach, but “after Pesach” presents a new set of challenges for the Jewish homemaker. As I write this around midnight on Monday, my Pesach and everyday dishes are back in their places, two loads of laundry are hanging, and while I can’t say the house is shining, it’s certainly cleaner than on an average day during the year.
And yet. My friend Amanda says it takes two weeks to recover from Pesach. Here are the reasons:
- Laundry. After I finish all the Pesach laundry and linens, I can look forward to warmer days that bring both fewer bulky clothes and faster drying time.
- Shopping. It will take a week or more for the stores to be restocked, and for me to make the necessary rounds to refill my pantry. This year I did an especially good job of using food up before Pesach, whereas I usually have more non-chametz, non-Pesachdig (or Pesach-stick, as the kids say) items that I put away.*
- All those meetings and chores that get put off until “after Pesach.”
- The holidays that come just about every week: Isru Chag (Pesach vacation here lasts one more day–the kids go back Wednesday), Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day–thanks to Raanana Ramblings for reminding me), Yom Haatzmaut (Israel Independence Day), Lag Baomer (the pyromaniacs’ holiday; the kids stay up all night with bonfires and get a day off of school for their troubles), Yom Yerusahalayim which isn’t a school holiday but involves numerous activities, culminating with the one day of Shavuot that merits three days off of gan/school. All to be quickly followed by two months of summer vacation.
- Even though the switch to daylight time, which my English-language-impaired son translates as “clock of the summer” (shaon kayitz), occurred right before Pesach, it will really take effect for us when school starts after this two-and-a-half-week vacation. Between Shabbat starting and ending late and the holiday disruptions, we may not see regular bedtimes in our house for quite a while. I’ve gotten better about bedtimes for the younger kids, but I more or less give up on this time of year.
- The freezer. Partly because we don’t eat gebrokt, and with no bread or rice to soak it up, I end every Pesach with a liter or two of gravy from the meat and poultry. I defat and freeze it to make delicious soups. Except for that my freezer is bare. (For this reason we call any soup made from leftovers “Pesach soup,” as in, why are we still eating leftovers from Pesach after Shavuot.) Usually the freezer has enough food to make at least partial main meals for a week or more, but for the next several weeks I will be cooking almost completely from scratch.
*Note for Israelis: The trend in Israeli kashrut circles is to avoid chametz from before Pesach, even if it was properly sold. Many products coming out now have a label indicating that the wheat was ground after Pesach. Last year our rabbi, who opposes the sale of chametz by private individuals (because it was a dispensation given only to business owners to avoid heavy losses), pointed out that since we insist that stores sell their chametz, we should patronize them afterward and not give all our business to the charedi chains.
Enough kvetching!! I’ll just sit back and enjoy the loveliest weather of the year.