Once, when I was living in Southern California, several
women from my community took advantage of the fact that
our youngsters were attending day camp and drove to Los
Angeles to restock our dwindling supplies of kosher
As we left Fairfax Avenue, which was then the main
shopping street in Los Angeles, laden with boxes of
groceries, fish, frozen meat and fresh baked goods, one
of the ladies took out a bag of rugelach and
began passing them around. The driver quickly but
firmly asked her to put away the pastries, explaining
that she had an iron-clad rule: No eating in the car.
After the bag of goodies had been stashed away, our
friend went on to clarify, on that hot July afternoon,
the reason for her no-eating rule. It simplifies Pesach
cleaning. For her, there is no pre-Pesach trip to the
car wash: no back seat to remove to get to the
pretzels, bagel and wafer crumbs and other sundry
chometz: no last minute vacuuming of the
children's car seats.
My initial reaction to this idea of keeping Pesach in
mind all year, especially while deciding where and how
to grab a quick snack on the run, was something along
the lines of, "Forget it!" However, I did have the
opportunity to give the matter some thought months
later, specifically during the first two weeks of
Nissan, while I was busy cleaning my car and other
places far from my kitchen. As we got closer and closer
to the Seder night, the concept began to have more
merit. In fact, by the evening of bedikas
chometz, the idea seemed downright brilliant!
In preparing for Pesach, as in all other aspects of
life, the old adage holds true: an ounce of prevention
is worth a pound of cure. Why NOT stop eating in the
Those of us who do not own cars, and therefore take
buses and taxis instead, can also plan ahead to make
their lives easier just before Pesach. Here is a simple
Right now, while you are in the Pesach mode, designate
one roomy, zippered tote bag as your going-on-the-bus
bag. Into this bag will go the spare key to your house,
your mini-Tehilim and tefilas haderech/siddur,
small packages of tissues, a telephone card, some
change, and perhaps the children's immunization
records. It will be the one bag that goes on all trips
outside your immediate vicinity.
Make a firm rule that aside from grocery purchases, all
food that goes out of your house or is coming home with
you, has to be carried in that one bag. This will
eliminate the tedious pre-Pesach search of every coat
and raincoat pocket, pocketbook and backpack for any
and all of the following treasures: the carefully
wrapped slice of cake from the Friedman bris back
in December; the roll of candies from your mid-winter
bout with laryngitis and the crackers you took to the
first prenatal doctor's appointment in case you got
carsick in the taxi.
You won't even have to think about the little bag of
cookies and toffees that you stuffed into the bottom of
your purse on the way to the Megilla reading on
Purim: at night for after the fast or in the morning,
in case your daughter remembered a last minute
shalach monos. All forgotten food items will turn
up in one easy-to-clean source -- a bag that can be
emptied, turned inside out and brushed or vacuumed in a
matter of minutes.
Once we get into the spirit of it, the list of
premptive Pesach cleaning tactics can go on: No eating
over seforim or books, or storybooks you read to
your children; no snacks in the bedrooms etc.
Wouldn't it be great if next year we could confine our
Pesach cleaning to the kitchen, pantry and dining room?
A person can dream, can't she?