To our dear Yad Rachel family members,
Purim has come and gone! We sincerely hope that you were able to tap into some of the joy and celebration that comes along with that magical and mystical Yom Tov.
Can we sit back and relax now? Not quite. The Jewish calendar is once again calling for us to keep busy.
All around us, there is a palpable tension in the air. Conversations of cleaning, cooking, shopping can be heard. Shelves in grocery stores being lined and filled with Pesach products. Pesach kitchens being opened and scrubbed down. Lines in kids clothing stores with purchases and returns. For a large majority of us, all this activity fills us with dread and anxiety. The lists seem so long. The errands seem endless. The cleaning seems insurmountable.
The anxiety can turn to panic; the panic can then turn to anger.
“Is this Simchas Yom Tov? Really? Scrubbing and cleaning?”
The anxiety can turn to shame, which turns into feelings of inadequacy.
“Everyone else is managing. Why am I crying and why am I the only one not coping?”
The anxiety can turn to avoidance, which then turns into unmanageability.
“The list is too long. I can’t handle. I’ll leave it to the last few days when I have no other choice”
If you can relate to any of the above feelings, you are not alone.
You are also NORMAL.
The preparation for this special meaningful Yom Tov can make the most capable women not sleep at night. Especially women who might have a mood disorder and aren’t their usual selves.
Here at Yad Rachel. We understand. We can relate. You are not alone!
So we compiled a list of a few pointers to help you through the next few weeks.
1. Purchase earplugs and blinders. Just kidding. What we mean is, try to tune out and detach from all the endless chatter amongst peers and family at where they are up to and how much they accomplished. Just because a neighbor feels like it’s not Pesach unless all her closets are color coordinated, doesn’t mean you have to. Create a mantra and keep on chanting to yourself “I will do the best I I can with what I have today”. Change the conversation if it’s heading in a direction that makes you anxious. Avoid discussions to begin with. The only discussion you should be having about cleaning is calling your Rav and find out exactly what you need to do in order to make your home Chometz free. We guarantee “koshering the chandelier” won’t be on his list. You will be pleasantly surprised to hear that it’s much less of an ordeal than you think it is.
2. We hereby grant you full-fledged permission to save the spring cleaning for another time. You get zero spiritual reward for staying up all night reorganizing closets and dusting light fixtures. The Mitzvah of Pesach is to remove Chometz from our homes- not cobwebs or dust. Focus your energy on areas that you know contain Chometz
3. Create manageable, clear concise lists. This is an effective tool that breaks down each task into a more manageable one. There is such a sense of accomplishment when you can check it off!
(We will provide this 3 Week Chametz Clean-Out as an attachment in the email)
4. Menu planning. If staying at home, we need to address cooking. Here is a great and easy way to be organized.
It’s hard to be helpful with menus considering everyone has specific Minhagim and Mesorah related restrictions. Here are some universal tips:
A. Don’t bother with a million options. Double or even triple each item you make in advance. No one is there to judge your culinary skills, they just want a warm meal and good company.
B. Keep it simple. Avoid all recipes that require many steps and parts. One pan/one pot!
C. Skip desserts. Fresh fruit- watermelon and cantaloupe are an economical and excellent way to end a heavy meal.
D. Two course meals. Keep it simple! Start with a fish, and then go straight to a main. The culinary police aren’t handing out tickets!
E. Cooking is allowed on Yom tov. Make sure to have a hot plate or a burner on with a Blech. This way if you don’t get to finish your cooking, it is very simple to put up a pot of mashed potatoes, or bake some cutlets. Don’t fall into the “I must finish every little bit of food before Yom Tov” craze. It will just create an impossible task to overcome.
F. This year we have a long Chol Hamoed. When preparing your shopping and menu planning, keep that in mind. A simple option is to utilize your crockpot. Start the day by throwing in potatoes and meat, a vegetable soup or even a chicken soup. This way you don’t have to worry about giving your family a nutritious meal when they come home. Everything will be all ready and smelling delicious when you come home from your outing.
5. News flash. Contrary to popular belief, children’s clothing stores remain open after Pesach. If the thought of getting all the clothing shopping done makes your heart rate accelerate, please remember that the rush to get every single summer outfit, Shabbos and weekday, including accessories, shoes, socks etc. is completely unnecessary. Majority of the time, Pesach weather is still chilly and rainy. First, only get items that are necessary (new shirts for husband, new shoes for someone who’s are too small) promise each child something new, a pair of shoes, a Shabbos robe, a new white shirt. Even a headband. Then let go of the pressure and enjoy the peace and quiet that the stores will have when you shop post-holiday.
6. Medication. If you are being prescribed any medication, make sure to fill your prescriptions in advance. Yad Rachel is closed over Pesach, and we don’t want you stuck out of town without access to your medications. Now would be a good time to ask a Rav if all are Kosher L’Pesach and not leave it for last minute.
7. Every engine needs fuel. All thisplanning, cooking, cleaning requires energy. Make sure you are being super diligent about eating right, hydrating, and resting when necessary. Take some time off each day or night for some quiet self-care. Meditation, journaling, whatever form relaxes you the most.
8. Ask a Rabbi. Call your Rav to discuss your requirements when it comes to everything, especially the cleaning. As someone who has certain limitations at this time it’s important to discuss what’s Halacha, and what’s a Chumrah. Don’t be afraid to make the call. Now’s the time to embrace yourself with acceptance and love. Be open to hear Hashem’s message through the Rav who will eagerly grant leniency if you are truly honest and open.
Good luck with all preparations!
Keep in mind “this too shall pass!”
Let’s take steps to arrive at the Seder relaxed and inspired.