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.