Pesach essentials – From checklist to soundtrack

Thanks to a flexible schedule and some help, I started spring cleaning just after Purim, so I was able to check a few boxes off on my fairly extensive list. With less than a week to go though, I need to refocus and prioritize, lest a joyful celebration of freedom will start feeling like just the opposite. To that end, I am arming myself with’s Passover cleaning made easy article, Out of the Ortho-Box: How to clean for Passover in one day, by Ruchi Koval, and focusing on the Chametz column of my nifty Pesach cleaning check list.

In short, the point is to say: Getting rid of chametz does not mean getting rid of every particle of dust in your house. Chametz is food. If you wouldn’t eat it (because it’s mixed with dirt or ended up stuck under your car seat, somehow), then it’s not food, and if it’s not food, it’s not Chametz. So if time is getting away from you, don’t fret: focus on the areas of your home where you cook and eat, do a good vacuuming of the rest of the house and enjoy your holiday. You can plan the rest of your spring cleaning over the next couple of months, whether you’re a room-by-room or an item-by-item kind of person.

Oh, and don’t forget a good soundtrack! It will add soul to your clean.

Cleaning bucket

Cleaning bucket, credits to


Chametz hunting soundtrack

I don’t know about you, but I clean much more efficiently with a good soundtrack. Since I can’t seem to post MP3s on here (I’m just starting to figure out all the options, don’t blame the tool), I embedded a YouTube playlist so you can sample the goods.

Any other song out there get your Pesach grove on? I’d love to know 🙂

  • Freedom  – Akon
  • Les femmes (arabe / hébreu)  Amine & Noa
  • Mi’Ma’amakim (Out of the Depths) The Idan Raichel Project
  • Parce qu’on vient de loin (acoustique) – Corneille
  • Don’t give up – Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush
  • Go down Moses – Louie Armstrong
  • Moses Don’t Get Lost John Davis and the Georgia Sea Island singers
  • Got no Water –  Matisyahu
  • Blowin’ In the Wind  –  Ziggy Marley
  • Redemption Song (Live In Pittsburgh) –  Bob Marley
  • Long As I Can See the Light – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine
  • Walk  – Foo Fighters
  • Uprising – Muse The Resistance
  • I Want to Break Free – Queen
  • The Crossing – Johnny Clegg

Freedom by Pesach

Freedom is the freedom to chose our masters.

Among many other wonderful things, Pesach is a celebration of freedom. A people long enslaved learns to be free, regains faith in its God, and finds its way home through a long, arduous journey.

As Jews in North America today, we enjoy tremendous freedom to practice our religion as we see fit, we are free to express ourselves and our opinions, we are free to chose in virtually every area of our lives.

Passover gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the amazing gift that is freedom, to value and cherish it. But it is also a chance to clear the slate and take stock of all the things we voluntarily enslave ourselves to.

At our first seder table (the traditional meal, meaning “order” in Hebrew), we talked about freedom and what it meant to us. Our guests and us took turns thinking about something we would like to free ourselves from during the coming year. I mentioned my desire to go off an anxiety medication (which I did, gradually and with professional guidance), a friend mentioned her wish to stop “playing it small” at work and to gain confidence, another mentioned his fear of commitment, and so on. It was a liberating experience (pun intended).

We enslave ourselves to our jobs, to toxic relationships, self-defeating attitudes, electronic devices, our social media profiles, bad habits, resentment, disappointment, grief, the list is endless. It is not the job, the relationship, or the life event in itself that is the problem. The problems arise when we let those determine how we feel about ourselves and about life in general, when we lose our balance and let it affect how we treat the ones we love.

So, this coming Pesach, my wish for you is that, in the midst of all the cleaning and cooking and planning, you find a few minutes to take a walk or sit by a window, and think about something you would like to be free of by Pesach next year. May you find strength in HaShem and in the beautiful story told on two very special nights.

If freedom is the freedom to chose our masters, let’s chose them wisely (and maybe let’s just stick to One ;).