Monday, April 02, 2007

Passover prep at MZ's house, Part 1

Shalom, all! I know many of you are not 100% familiar with all that goes into Passover for an observant Jewish family, so let me invite you into my levin-free home for some wine, matzos, and a little story about what it's all about and what we have got to do to be ready for Pesach.

First of all, a husband and wife somehow need to eliminate all chometz (levin) from their house before Pesach actually begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan without killing each other first. This is no simple task, and I am proud to announce that Mrs. Z and I have somehow gotten through yet another year, thank God.

You think it's easy, do you? I can tell you do. You're just sitting back laughing thinking, "big deal, you dump the bread and go about your day. What's with all the pissing and moaning?"

Bah! You have no idea what you are talking about. We need to get rid of all the dishes that we normally use since they've been exposed to chometz, we need to eliminate all the grain products, get rid of every table cloth that had chometz served on it during the course of the year, every fork, every dish, every glass, every can of beer, every bottle of scotch, every box of cereal, every bit of meat in the freezer and fridge, every crumb on the floor, and every Cheerio on the counter. All of it goes, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Starting to see how this could be a bit of a challenge?

Of course, the reason that this is done dates back to the time in Torah when the Jews were led out of Egypt and had been required to eliminate all levin from their homes if we hoped to keep safe from the plague of the first born God placed upon the Egyptians. Of course, God doesn't always intervene when a stressed out wife is on the verge of going postal trying to be prepared for Pesach, but that's another issue.

Now, you may be asking yourself how we are able to empty our home of all our kitchen utensils, pots, pans, dishes, liquor, glasses and everything else we must nullify if we are to be properly kosher for Pesach. The answer is that we actually sell our chumetz in order to renounce our claim to the forbidden. This is done by giving the Rabbi of the community a donation to be the broker who sells our chometz with the intention in mind that after Pesach it would be bought back by the original owner. Real contracts are used to insure that the sale is a legitimate, legal, at risk transaction that cannot be viewed as a scam or loophole. It is a very real and sincere deal, and we do it every year out of necessity.

You see, perhaps in isolated ghetto communities under Arab rule there was no need to worry about tremendous quantities of expensive dishware, liquor and silver, because no possessions of great monetary value existed in the 3rd world homes the Jews had to suffer in. People lived like dirt. However, when we became prominent merchants and businessmen, and had vast quantities of valuables, it became virtually impossible to transfer our Chumetz, so we needed to find a halachically legal solution that would allow for a transfer of chumetz to take place - thus, the Rabbi selling the chumetz became the eventual preferred method.

Anyway, we are now Chumetz free, having gutted the house of levin and then selling all that we could not throw away. I must confess to being exhausted and relieved, so it is time to get a little shut eye...

Stay tuned for more...



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