Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What Makes Me Sad.... (A Mini Rant)

Something has got to be wrong with the system!
I'd like to share with you a conversation that transpired a few days before Yom Tov on Facebook.
Somebody posted a question on her wall asking "What Are You Looking Forward To Most About Yom Tov?".
Innocuous, right? Perhaps even fun. I myself have posted previously regarding some of the things and some of the rituals I look forward to during the Yom Tov "season". What shocked me were some of the immediate responses this friend of mine received:
  • ...for when Yom Tov is over!
  • ...when we take the chometz dishes back down!
  • ...the END of Pesach.
If people are looking forward to the end of a Yom Tov before it even begins, no matter how strenuous the preparations are, something has gone horribly wrong.
In their zeal to be so machmir in their cleaning prowess, these folks seem to have chosen to become meikil in their requirements for simchas Yom Tov.
Pesach prep need not and should not destroy a person.
Numerous missives have been written on the subject but I don't think they have yet seeped into the public consciousness and I'm not sure why, though I wonder if perhaps it has something to do with the current trend of "Keeping up with the Machmirs".
I though that this article is particularly to the point.

Perhaps if, as we clean, we focus on all the special moments and people that we are eagerly anticipating, this "imagery" will also help us through.
Speaking of special moments and special people:
Hearing one's grandchildren recite the Ma Nishtanah is definitely right up there in the top ten.
Having one's favorite son in law (Relax people! He's the only....) arrive with a Yom Tov present for his favorite mother in law (not much competition here either ;) ) - a Pesach Cookbook selected by himself personally - makes a lot of the effort worthwhile.
Familiar melodies.
Familiar memories.
Read this old post or this one to keep the smiles coming.

{stepping off my soap box now}

Heads up:
I'll have a Pesach treat for you shortly.
The Choir of Khal Adath Jeshurun put on a concert last night and footage is currently being processed for your viewing pleasure.


Anonymous said...

totally agree with you, it just so happens that my daughter asked me what my favorite part of Pesach is and I answered "when it's over". I realized that is too sad but it is a difficult Yom Tov and I miss my Keurig,lol!!!!1

Annie Cohnen said...

My macheteinista posted on FB that Pesach is her favorite holiday. I cann't say that, but there is so much to enjoy on Pesach or any Yom Tov, even if we worked so hard prepping. It's all in the attitude-I had made a huge milchig meal and when it was devoured in record time, I looked around the table and said, "Do you know how many hours it took me to prepare this meal that just got devoured so fast." My husband and son explained that it was not eaten in one hour, it was eaten by 8 people, so that was 8 man hours of eating. Boy did I laugh hard and then I asked them how many woman hours had cooked it and everyone cracked up!It was a good family moment!

cuzzin buzzin said...

comments like that are not exclusively from people who overclean and are overzealous, but from people who often were raised in homes that found the rituals, obligations, and demands of frum life to be burdensome, uneccesary, unexplained, not done with Simcha and excitement.

I like your list ;)

Anonymous said...

Part of it is the lack of the genre of davening you probably experience in KAJ. The choir, the chazan, the dignity, the melodies (there's a separate one for each Yom Tov, if I am not mistaken). Unfortuately, there are not so many frum shuls like that anymore. I have been in KAJ on Shabbosim and always leave feeling uplifted–permanently. In this place, there are no doubts – everything is meticulously rehearsed to the last detail and the chazan and choir working together deeply inspire me. With their traditional (unfortunately not very widespread) melodies, they tremendously add to the davening. The wonderful drasha complements the davening beautifully. Also, which other shul decorates the sanctuary so beautifully for shavuos?

In addition, while the home plays a large role, the community plays a more important one – so if the community aspect is missing, what do you expect? Rav Shlomo Freifeld zt"l was very insistent that people consistently daven at the same place, and used the Breuer kehilla as a role model. Rav Shlomo also saw to it that his entire kehilla was present at the kiddush on shabbos morning in order to promote unity within. (In many communities people have no set shul; they go wherever they feel like at that particular moment). Rav Hirsch writes that a shul is called a beis haknesses because it is the place for the community to gather.

In other words, these people have nothing to really look forward to – good food from the chag will not stay with you forever, but the inspiration from it (the chag, not the food) will.

By the way, I don't find the "contemporary" humdrum style of davening very inspiring – so it's quite fortunate that I go to a shul with a set chazan who *actually* prepares. It is also nice to watch the videos of the KAj choir rehearsing.

FBB said...

So Anonymous, according to this theory there are no yekkes who dislike yom tov. I am sure you have evidence to back that up.

Would you believe that there are people in the world who feel the davening in KAJ is completely uninspired and too rehearsed, not at all "heartsig," and get NO inspiration from it at all? I've have heard that to be the case.

Everyone's experience is different, and what inspires people is different. Why do other people need to be denigrated in order to proud of one's legacy? I am super proud of my lineage, but I feel no need to put others down to feel that way. If you want to be proud, just be proud, and it doesn't need to be in the context of "being so much better" than everyone else.

Anon the 2nd said...

Re: Anonymous.
I like your comments - I think you make some very valid points. One of the reasons that R' Elyashiv Shlita is a supporter of Yekke minyanim because the Halacha is that one must have song while davening (B'makom rena, shom t'hei teffilah). Most shuls in the world do not have anything close to this. I find your comments inspirational as well as the Yekke davening - and I don't see your comments denigrating anybody. Others would do well to learn from them.

Dolly Lamma said...

Does anyone besides yours truly wish Pesach would last longer? When the preparation for an event lasts many times longer than the event itself--think weddings and single-performance plays--one can't help feeling a little cheated. So much prep for just one week? Why not till the end of Nissan? HaCHODESH hazeh lachem, after all.

Do people actually dislike Pesach, or do they dislike the mishegoss that precedes it? Much of that mishegoss is voluntary and avoidable. There is plenty that one can do to ease the burden:
--making it a family rule never to allow food outside the kitchen and dining rooms, or at least to cease any such activity several months ahead of pesach and to thoroughly clean non-food areas at that time rather than a week before pesach;
-- learning the halachot and doing only that which is necessary al pi halacha (with all due respect to the late Rav A. Blumenkrantz, you do not have to move your stove and fridge to clean behind them, and if you do it's because you CHOOSE to;
--recognizing the difference between deep housecleaning, which can be done in the dead of winter or even skipped entirely, and actual Pesach cleaning (clean windows are lovely lich'vod YomTov--isn't it convenient that just seven weeks after Pesach we have another YomTov lich'vod which one can wash them?);
--rethinking one's storage, supplies and organization to make the changeover more efficient and physically easier (do you really have to store your Pesach china on a shelf so high you must climb a six-foot ladder and stretch your arms overhead to reach it? Or might a nice corrugated carton sealed shut with tape and stored under a bed work just as well? Especially since you don't allow food in the bedroom any more?);
--taking advantage, if one's budget permits, of modern technological advances that significantly ease the burden (so-called self-cleaning ovens, YESSS!)

and on and on. Pesach prep may never be out-and-out easy, but there's no good reason to indulge in avodat parech. And certainly no good reason to blame G-d for what we do to ourselves.

Dolly Lamma said...

Sock it to him, FBB.

Anonymous--and no wonder, I would be embarrassed to post such arrant jingoism under any personally identifiable name--your mental athletic prowess is truly Olympian. I refer to your impressive ability to pole-vault to (entirely derogatory) conclusions about other people's communities, family lives, spiritual health, devotion to G-d and more, based solely on the fact that they look forward to the end of Pesach. Maybe they're Ashkenazi vegans and find that a week of subsisting on fruit, potatoes, almonds and matzah wreaks havoc on both the waistline and the gut (yes, this is a valid medical term). Maybe as the only observant sibling in the family they find themselves hosting in their two-bedroom apartements all thirty-seven members of their clan, including one or two who are not paper-trained. Maybe they're ordinary balabostes of modest means who have a hard time churning out Yontif feast after Yontif feast with a couple of knives and one small fridge half-full of eggs instead of the full range of kitchenware they have for year-round. Maybe they just really, really, really love beer and pizza.

Whatever the case may be, I doubt that those who look forward to the end of Pesach are referring to their shul experience at all, and can't imagine why you would think they are.

YDL said...


rickismom said...


lawyer with a heart said...

Having missed half of yomtov this year, i am especially saddened by people's attitude. THe way i see it, there are ten days of Yom Tov a year. I don't even like to nap on Yom Tov, since you miss out on the beauty of this great gift from G-d.