I don’t know if you are aware, but in Israel, Passover, the Spring Festival where we all gather together around a table and read the Haggadah, or story of the Exodus, is the “Feast of Cleaning.”
You could say that there is a rampart surrounding the country enclosing us all with cleaning products, brooms and dust pans in preparation for the holiday. The supermarkets are almost sold out of washing up stuff and the most common topic of conversation during the week has been what I cleaned, how much I cleaned, what I had left to clean, or, do you have a cleaning woman or are you doing it alone? It’s kind of a subtle competition even if we don’t admit to being in the game. ????
If you want to hire someone to clean the house, that’s another story. To get a housekeeper to clean for me, she first comes and checks out the house, asks questions, does a complete investigation before deciding whether or not to “take” the house and accept working for me!
There is a joke in Israel that you better clean your house before the cleaning lady shows up! And don’t fire your cleaning woman because you’ll never be able to find another.
My cleaning lady has had to be in quarantine because she was in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID. Great excuse, right? Left me spending the last several days racking my brains trying to figure out how I was going to handle this year’s Passover cleaning. I was exhausted even before I began! Having no other choice, I decided to enlist my family, most of whom are still living at home, which includes my dear husband Aviel, and my youngest son Elad, who is currently on leave from the army.
I let them know that this year we are cleaning the house ourselves. The next morning, as I was getting it all organized, Aviel informed me that he was going out for a morning run and would then be available to help. Elad had decided to spend the night out late and was still in bed. I found myself alone and, I admit, not very happy that nobody was ready to help.
I had no choice. The Passover tradition of cleaning the house is greater than me (or my abilities). As I started cleaning, a force stronger than myself kept pulling me until I really got carried away with the work. At some point Aviel returned home. I believe he must have decided to finally run a “marathon.” Aviel claims that I am exaggerating and that he ran at his usual one hour.
Well, I must have also lost my sense of time (along with the rest of my senses!) and Elad, who suddenly woke up, came out of his room, scolding me for making noise and complaining about my cleaning at such an hour. “Today? When I needed to sleep?” I kept my mouth shut. As a rule, I prefer to save my strength for moving sofas and other cleaning. So what do you think happened? Aviel helped, and Elad sort of helped too when he finally woke up. He cleaned his room. Whatever. Whether I like it or not, or have a cleaning lady or not, at Passover the house will be clean.
And then, as so often happens, a dust storm hit just before Passover. No matter how much I clean, everything keeps getting covered with it. Lesson learned. Tradition must be tradition. Another clean Passover!