Monday, March 23, 2009

Pesach Gripes

A guest post by JS:

With birchat ha'chodesh this past Shabbat, the imminent arrival of Pesach becomes that much more real. In the spirit of the coming chag, I'd like to share a couple things that bug me each and every Pesach:

1) Ta'anit Bichorot (Fast of the First Borns) - Any fast day that you can "get out of" by sitting around half-asleep while listening to a 5 minute mumbled shiur is not a real fast day. Just abolish this farse already. We've already sucked all the meaning out of it anyway.

2) Bedikat Chametz (Checking for leaven) - Again, another ritual that has been rendered pointless. We've been cleaning our houses for weeks already. There is no chametz left. And yet we need to purposefully hide little packages of chametz so we can make a bracha and ensure it won't be in vain. How ridiculous is that? Either we're all cleaning too much or Chazal had different ideas about what it meant to make Pesach. Which brings me to my next point...

3) Pesach Cleaning - If you're going to clean your house to OCD levels looking for microscopic particles of chametz, just call it spring cleaning already and stop mislabeling what you're doing as being "machmir" (stringent) or having any semblance of holiness. Between the selling of the chametz, the "kol chamira" (nullification of chametz), and the myriad other steps we take to negate ownership of chametz this is just not necessary, stop pretending you're doing God's work.

4) The Feather and Candle - This is way up there on the gripes list. We use vacuum cleaners, HEPA filters, caustic chemicals, carpet cleaners, and a whole slew of modern 21st century cleaning technologies, and then suddenly we pull out a feather and a candle to search for chametz? Are you kidding me? Forget about the dangers of a lit candle - does anyone actually believe this is ritually required? Does anyone believe their bedikat chametz is incomplete without this?

5) People's Complaining about Matzah/Pesach Food - You'd think the world was coming to an end that for a whole 8 days people can't have chametz and/or have to eat matzah. There are still other food groups, you know. Have you never heard of a salad? Potatoes? Chicken, meat, turkey? And btw, matzah isn't bad either. Besides, it's only 8 days!!! Do you really need to spend a small fortune on disgusting kosher for passover substitute "pasta" and "cereal" and all the other overpriced stuff that you couldn't pay people enough money to eat the rest of the year but suddenly people will pay any amount to eat for Pesach?

6) People who pull out measuring charts to make sure they eat EXACTLY enough matzah and marror (bitter herbs) - First of all, get a life - the seder is about a heck of a lot more than this nonsense (the fact that this is a modern thing just adds to this point). Secondly, since when is this shiur (measurement) so freaking large? Lastly, am I the only one disgusted by watching people stuff their faces with these enormous quantities in the name of a mitzvah?

7) People who don't sell their chametz - What is up with this? What everyone else does isn't good enough for you? You want to really experience the suffering of our slave ancestors by having to throw out large quantities of food and/or make random and bizarre meals for days/weeks before Pesach so you can get rid of that package of cheese and that container of rice?

8) Announcements at the end of Pesach about Chametz - Number one, why the heck does it take several hours for the rabbi to buy back the chametz from the non-Jew it was sold to? Number two, why does it seem that every year I keep hearing more stringencies relating to "chametz sh'avar alav ha'pesach" (Chametz that was owned by a Jew over Pesach and is thus forbidden). Last year I was basically told the following by the rabbi on the last day of Pesach, "Please no one buy any chametz from any non-frum store until Shavuot because I have heard that a distributor's cousin's brother-in-law is Jewish and we can't be sure what products they distribute or to what stores in the area, and thus to be safe, it's better if we waited."

Celebrate Passover 2009 with Magnificent Passover Gift Baskets from Oh Nuts.

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