Monday, March 26, 2012

The Pesach Dilemma

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As I embark on Pesach cleaning, I find myself faced with the same dilemma I have every year: The balance between what I need to do and what I feel I SHOULD do.

My husband is anti-chumra on Pesach. He insists that Pesach cleaning should be bare minimum to avoid shalom bayis issues.

I grew up putting away toiletries and scrubbing every inch of the home. My husband says I don't even have to vacuum. (If you wouldn't pick up the chometz and eat it, he says, it's not substantial chometz. Unless it's an actual chunk of chometz, it doesn't matter.)

Every year, I try to adhere to his Pesach rules, and I end up feeling anxious and guilty, like I've for sure missed something important because I didn't have a nervous breakdown and shout obscenities at anyone. Isn't that what Pesach cleaning is all about?

So, okay, I get where he's coming from. It makes sense. I'm sure he's right. But isn't Pesach a time where we're supposed to go l'chumra? Shouldn't I be going that extra mile in my service to Hashem on the holiday that celebrates what may be His greatest chessed (kindness) to the Jewish people, the exodus from Egypt?

I mean, there we were, on the bottom rung, the absolute lowest level of tumah (spiritual impurity) that we could possibly achieve, and Hashem came along and saved us from slavery anyway. He redeemed us from the lowest of the low. Shouldn't we acknowledge that by raising ourselves up as high as we can?

I guess the real question is, which is more important: Shalom Bayis or ridding your home of chometz?

If going above and beyond the call of duty in Pesach cleaning will result in misery, screaming, anger, and an all around negative environment which will cause you and everyone in your household to dread the coming holiday, are we truly honoring Hashem and elevating this experience to a holy place? Are we cleansing ourselves of tuma and geivah (haughtiness)? Or are we sinking even lower into the pit of Mitzrayim?

Food for thought. (Hopefully non-chometzdik food)

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