First off, I have to give a “Hat Tip” to HaRav Gutman Locks for his post that inspired me to write this piece.
Pesach will soon be upon us; and, as usual, it will arrive quicker that we expected.
Each year we go through the exercise of cleaning for Pesach. Each year it seems like an overwhelming and endless task (maybe not for you, at least for me it does!). Cleaning all the rooms, making sure every corner is clean, everything is dusted, everything has been scrubbed within an inch of its life, everything that needs to be kashered is done, and finally, everything is put away. But, somehow, every year, it all gets done by the last few hours before Pesach (Again, at least this is my experience.).
When it is done, our muscles are sore, we are exhausted and short tempered. Remember your mother? “Hey! get that food out of here, I just finished cleaning!” “Don’t put that there, put it away!” “I don’t intent to clean this over again because you are eating chametz in your room!” And, of course, my favorite, when mom would find something unexpected, like a cereal bowl found under a bed that had milk which now resembles something akin to cottage cheese, “What? You were born in a barn!” Ahh, the memories of being a kid during Pesach cleaning!
Through all of the mishegas, we find that we have somehow diminishing the joy of Pesach.
So, today I am looking at the house and trying to prepare my mind to start Pesach cleaning; and hoping for some extra ambition and energy to appear out of nowhere to get it all done. Immediately my mide goes to the Big Picture. WOW! I have ten rooms to clean. That’s 1904 square feet of floor space; 17,136 square feet of interior space that has to be vacuumed, washed, dusted, scrubbed and/or kashered! Sure, there is a lot of empty space included in that number, but ….. Are you kidding me? 17, 136 square feet! I am going to need an army and a bulldozer to get this done! The only thing I am grateful for is that I don’t live in a two-story house!
I am overwhelmed to the point I am considering alternatives. Forget the house, just walk away and buy a new one. Naw, too expensive and I probably can’t find one Pesach ready in such a short time. Dig a large pit bulldoze everything (including the house) it to the pit and bury it all; cover it with dirt and forget about it. Again, too expensive, and I don’t think my mortgage company or insurance will go along with the idea. So, what am I left with? Just slug it out and get it done? It’s too much! I’ll never get it done in time! Oh, woe is me! (are you feeling sorry for me yet? If so, come on over and grab a rag and bucket!).
At this point, I am sitting here with a cup of coffee and procrastinating. Not very productive, but much more appealing that actually doing the work.
As I ponder my options and procrastinate about starting, It suddenly dawns on me what Rebbe Nachman of Breslov said about serving HaShem.
“Think only about the present day and the present moment. When someone wants to serve God, he may see it as a heavy burden. But if you remember that you have only today, it won’t be such a burden. Don’t push off serving God from one day to the next, saying, “I’ll start tomorrow – tomorrow I’ll pray with real devotion.” All we have is the present day and the present moment. Tomorrow is a whole different world.” Likutey Moharan I, 272
We can also applied to Pesach cleaning (as well as to many other things). We do it because HaShem asked us to do it. So, we approach the cleaning as: You have only this room to do now for HaShem. If that it still too overwhelming, than I only have this to do for HaShem (I only have to pick up, I only have to vacuum, I only have the counter to clean, and so on). Once that is done, then go on to the next task, keeping in mind all the time, I have only this to do for HaShem.
If you do this for every task, and do it every day, the next thing you know, the house is Pesach ready and the entire experience has not been so overwhelming or stressful. One task at a time. This is all I have to do, the rest I will not think about until this one thing is done.
Once the Pesach cleaning is done, you are now free to turn into your mother! “Hey! Go eat that out on the back porch, I just finished all the Pesach cleaning!”
I hope this helps. I am now off to do one thing for HaShem!