We received an advertising supplement from a travel agency catering to the haredi public called “Pesach Plus.” According to the supplement reservations for Passover hotels have increased this year. Despite the economic downturn, the message is that you don’t need to be wealthy to go to a hotel. “Average” haredi families go too.
I think I know why after reading Malki Lowinger’s Pesach cleaning schedule in last week’s Mishpacha, a magazine for haredi women. If this is standard, it’s no surprise so many decide to go away. My friend Shelley, who sent me the article, reported that Lowinger covered the loft and the garage in a previous issue. Since Shelley lives in an apartment like most Israelis, she figured she could relax. But relaxing is out this week, except in small increments.
My comments are in blue. Everybody ready? Let’s go!
- Sunday. Closets and drawers should be done by now. [Houston, we have a problem.] Focus on the living area. Today, strip beds, vacuum mattresses, wash linens and dust ruffles. [That line reminds me of Amelia Bedelia.] Next, vacuum and clean under beds. Daily De-Stressor: Weather permitting, take a ten-minute walk around the block. Breathe in the fresh air. If weather doesn’t permit, exercise and energize yourself indoors. [Note to Lowinger: We just cleaned all the mattresses and floors and did several loads of laundry. We don't need MORE exercise.]
- Monday. Window day. Clean all windows and sills thoroughly. [Because you don't want to miss the chametz.] If windows have alarms, disconnect the system while cleaning. Take down blinds soak in tub, then rehang. Wash all curtain, shades and window dressings thoroughly. Warning: Don’t take apart window treatments unless you’re sure you can rehang them properly. Daily De-Stressor: A cup of your favorite herbal tea. Inhale the aroma and take your time enjoying every sip. Use this downtime to call a friend, but keep your eyes on the clock. [No wasting time. The seder is only three weeks and one day away.]
- Tuesday. Now’s the time to wrap up all areas in house aside from the kitchen, living room and dining area. If you have a den, home office, family room, laundry area, guest room, or playroom, clean thoroughly.[There's that word again.] Daily De-Stressor: Do something that makes you feel good. A bath, a nap, a massage, a sheitel cut. Put on a pretty sweater or enjoy a scoop of your favorite ice cream.
- Wednesday. Catch-up day. If you haven’t been able to complete the chores of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, here’s your second chance. [I'm torn between feeling insulted that I might not have kept up, and lost because I didn't get detailed instructions.] Daily De-Stressor: For some it’s Lipa, for others Beethoven. Take a break during your cleaning to listen to a favorite, or keep the CD player on while you work. What a difference it will make! [My daughter wanted to know why Lowinger waited until Wednesday to suggest this.]
- Thursday. Before Shabbos cooking, take inventory of everything in the cabinets, fridge and freezer. It’s time to use it up. Most of us have extra soups, cakes, desserts, pastas, cereals, mixes, sauces, and all kinds of chometzdike products. Work these into your Shabbos menu. [ALL of them?] When you finally tackle the kitchen, you’ll be glad you did. [I'm wondering what my family was supposed to eat on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Actually, I'm wondering where my family WAS on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.] Daily De-Stressor: Reading’s the all-time Great Escape. By now, you have probably received next week’s issue of Mishpacha. Put your feet up and enjoy your favorite column. [I can't wait to read next week's schedule.]
- Friday: Congratulate yourself. You’ve accomplished a great deal this week. Finish your Shabbos prep and air out the house. After a week of cleaning, it’s time to let in some fresh air. Daily De-Stressor: Go out. A short visit to a local park, a lake, a favorite bookstore, will do wonders. [Just don't forget to keep your eyes on the clock.]
Seriously, I doubt many women clean like this nowadays. Most women who don’t work and have a house with a garage and loft, window alarms, window treatments, and who get sheitel cuts on a whim, can afford hired help if they want a spotless house for Pesach. And the rest of us are either too young (with small children), too old, or too busy working to keep up this schedule.
The minimum (and it’s still not pretty): Pesach Crisis Cleaning
CookingManager.Com: Helping home cooks save time and money in the kitchen.