THIS PASSOVER, Jewish families throughout North America, Israel, and around the world will hold a ritualistic Seder, during which the story of Exodus is retold. Generations and families will honor the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.
Prior to the seder, however, come extensive preparations. “The seder and special dietary requirements of Pesach are so important that it takes weeks to prepare for the festival,” explains MyJewishLearning.com
in its post, Passover (Pesach) at Home
. “Nowadays, it has become the season in which Jews do their spring cleaning. The house must be prepared for the removal of all hametz
(leaven), and it is cleaned from top to bottom prior to that.”
WHAT IS HAMETZ?
Leaven is a substance used to cause fermentation in food, often in bread. Yeast is the most common leaven.
“The Hebrew word hametz is translated as leavened bread and refers to food prepared from five species of grain—wheat, barley, oats, spelt, and rye—that has been allowed to leaven,” explains Rabbi Ronald H. Isaacs in his MyJewishLearning.com piece, “Three Steps for Ritually Cleansing the Home for Passover.”
“The Bible prohibits the eating of leaven during the festival of Passover,” Rabbi Isaacs adds. “The rule against leaven applies not only to its consumption but also to enjoying any benefit thereof and even to its possession. Therefore, before the arrival of Passover, all leaven must be removed from one’s premises.”
SPRING CLEANING WITH CHILDREN
Getting the house in order for Passover can be a family effort—even children can participate.
To get your children in the mood to clean, take some advice from Organized Home editor Cynthia Ewer. In her article, “Five Tips For Spring Cleaning With Kids,” Ewer offers five tips:
- Focus on Teamwork—“Working as a team involves kids in the cleaning process, helps them learn cleaning skills, and most important, models both the attitude and the job standard you're trying to teach,” Ewer writes.
- Put It in Writing—“Post a list of the day's jobs, or write them out on index cards.”
- Add Entertainment—“Playing upbeat music or an exciting audiobook keeps spirits high,” Ewer writes, “and dust cloths moving.”
- Keep Jobs Age Appropriate—“Delegate big, but safe, jobs to teen children.”
- Reward Little Workers—“When the chores are done,” suggests Ewer, “schedule a family treat.”
SOME PJ INSPIRATION
Using the PJ Library book “Izzy the Whiz and the Passover McClean” written by Yael Mermelstein and illustrated by Carrie Hartman, PJ Goes to School program director Lisa Litman explains the basics of spring cleaning, searching for hametz, and preparing for Passover in the video below—and, of course, no Lisa Litman lesson would be complete without a song. Give it a watch:
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March 10, 2013