Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A little Pesach chizuk

Yom shlishi, 6 Nisan 5769.



My friend, Glenna, has a smile and a warm word or a story of encouragement for everyone.  Here is a story she sent to me.  She heard it from her friend, who heard it from her friend, who...

I’d like to share a favorite true story from a special friend of mine, Pearl K.  She uses the following to keep in a happy frame of mind while cleaning for Pesach.

Someone Pearl knows made aliyah.  She tells the following personal story:

"I was glad to be living in Israel, but one thing I really missed – besides family and friends I’d left behind, of course – was my washer and dryer.  I couldn’t afford those items as a new olah, and found doing laundry by hand an arduous physical chore.  I noticed, however, that my next door neighbor seemed not just philosophical about hanging up the wash -- she seemed to really enjoy it.  In fact, she acted as if it was her own personal celebration!

"I was so curious, I got up my courage to ask her about it in my broken Hebrew. What was such fun about hanging out laundry?

"My neighbor explained:

'I’m a holocaust survivor.  The concentration camp I was in was right near an ordinary Polish community.  I was a teenager, not at all sure that I would survive.  I’d look through the barbed wire enviously as Polish women nonchalantly hung out their wash.  I wondered if I would ever be blessed to get out of there, marry, have a family and the need to do large amounts of laundry.  It became my fondest dream.

'Well, with Hashem’s help, I did survive and was blessed in all those ways.  Is it any wonder that I’m thrilled by the task of hanging out laundry?'

"When I face making Pesach," continued my friend Pearl, "I think of that story.  It becomes not a personal chore, but a personal celebration.  There are, unfortunately, so many Jews who still have to hide to keep Pesach, and certainly more who had to in previous times.  Here I am, able to make Pesach openly, to go into major national stores and nonchalantly select kosher-for-Pesach items with no fear of a possibly-resurgent KGB or anyone else.  As I go through, cleaning out the junk from my life along with the physical chometz, how can I not – like my friend’s neighbor in Israel -- make it a personal celebration of thanks to Hashem?"

In these changing times and times of change, may all of us continue to feel how holy a gift is the freedom simply to live as Jews; and may we remember Whom to thank.
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