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Where’s the Meaning in the Cleaning?

Where’s the Meaning in the Cleaning?



I love Pesach. I hate Pesach cleaning. I’ve heard that Passover is about spiritual freedom and overcoming personal limitations, but what does housecleaning have to do with it?


My wife finds a new spiritual lesson in the Pesach cleaning every year. Here is her latest insight:

Do you know which parts of the house are the hardest to clean? Which areas accumulate the most junk? You would think it’s the busy areas, the rooms that get the most traffic and the sections that get the most use.

But that’s not the case. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The messiest parts of the house are those you don’t live in. A spare room, an unused cupboard, a neglected garage—these are the most cluttered, dusty and disorganized corners of the house. The more deserted and empty an area is, the more mess it will accumulate. If you don’t fill a room with useful things, it will become the dumping ground for those tchachkes that belong nowhere. Empty space does not remain empty for long. It gathers dust, and much more.

Your life works in exactly the same way. A mind that is left idle is fertile ground for needless worries and fears. It is when we have nothing to think about that we start feeling down and sorry for ourselves. The most dangerous people are bored people. When you have nothing better to do, you get up to no good.

On the other hand, when we are busy, we are less likely to get into trouble. As one great chassidic master said, “I don’t expect my disciples not to sin because they are too righteous to sin. I expect them not to sin because they are too busy.”

So, as you clean out the house for Pesach, ponder those messy corners of nothingness, and marvel at how emptiness can be so full of junk. Let it inspire you to fill your mind with wisdom and your schedule with good deeds.

Want to find some meaning in life? Mind your own busy-ness.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to
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Bonnie Kamel Saint Louis Park, MN March 27, 2015

When I go through the tiresome for cleaning for Peach, I feel like I'm going on a trip. I'm packing things away and I'm going on a journey. It makes me feel like I'm leaving Egypt and following Moses. It helps with the beginning of counting the Omer. The cleaning and changing dishes and all gives my Passover meaning. Without the preparation, I wouldn't feel like I"m going anywhere. Reply

Shimon Texas April 20, 2014

If You Don't Enjoy it, Something is Wrong I learned Passover cleaning is 'not spring cleaning'. We have to remove Chametz, but there is no obligation to clean where Chametz is unlikely, as an unused cupboard. It should be a team effort and fun and exciting for the entire family, like preparing for the arrival of a very important guest. When Passover cleaning becomes such a chore that we prefer to 'go on vacation', then we are overdoing the cleaning effort. Reply

Thomas South Carolina April 10, 2014

A little goes a long way Great analogy, but the cleaning of the Children of Israel house’s had nothing to do with , cluttered, dusty and disorganized house’s, but with leaven. Leaven represented sin and they had to make sure there was none remaining in their house. So, they swept and swept, making sure ‘all’ leaven was ‘out’. Then was the starting of 7 day’s of unleavened bread.
Like leaven which ‘permeates’ the whole lump of dough, sin will spread in a person, a synagogue or a nation, eventually overwhelming and bringing its participants into its bondage and eventually to death.
Such a little thing, but able to do so much ! Reply

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