As the world is falling apart around us… one thing is still going on as scheduled. No matter what happens we still have Pesach (Passover) to prepare for. As crazy as it is, there are only a few weeks till Pesach and Jewish women around the world are cleaning and preparing for the holiday.
This year will be more difficult than usual. We do have to remember that our people have celebrated Pesach under much worse conditions than this. (However, venting and complaining are still allowed)
When it comes to budgeting and life I often struggle with defining something as a necessity or a want. I don’t think that I am the only one. We often confuse the two and sometimes it is hard to classify each one. Especially since we do live in very modern, prosperous times there are things that we consider necessities that other people, countries and times did without (toilet paper anyone?). Many things aren’t truly necessities but have come to be very essential. As always, there is no reason to deprive yourself of basic things or even certain luxuries provided that you can afford them.
I think this global pandemic has put things in perspective. Instead of asking what is a need or a want, or should we really spend the money on this? We can ask another question: is this worth putting my life at risk? Is this worth putting someone else’s life at risk?
This was clarified for me when my husband and I were just talking about our Pesach shopping. We usually do our shopping in one store and then go to another store to buy snacks. After all, how can I have Pesach without my onion rings?!? My mother bought them every year and I continue to buy them. It practically won’t be Pesach without them. But am I really going to take a taxi or public transportation to go to a second store just to buy onion rings? In this suddenly new climate that we have been thrown into it sounds ridiculous. No, I am not breaking lock-down for onion rings. This Pesach will be one without onion rings.
There are other things that I will probably do without as well (unless things change drastically). My kids will use the clothes they have and that’s it. There are no new shoes this year. No new accessories. It is never warm enough to wear new clothes anyways. They will wear what they have or what I manage to order and that’s that. No one will be seeing us anyways. I like to treat myself to a manicure after all the prep work I do- that’s not happening either. It will either be at home or nothing. Same for an eyebrow waxing and a wig styling. All these things that I do every year won’t be happening this year. This doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have done them in the past. They definitely enhanced my Pesach and made me happy. But I can live without them and I will have a beautiful Pesach without them.
This past Shabbos was our first being in lockdown. We did one quick shopping and used what we were able to get. No going around to different stores. My husband didn’t go to pray. we didn’t have guests or hang out with friends. All those things usually make our Shabbos beautiful and we will do them again. But there was something very nice about a simpler Shabbos. there was a feeling of pride when we created a beautiful atmosphere without any trappings. So what if the napkins adorning our table were from a Valentine’s clearance bin?
I think that while we are dealing with something that we have never dealt with before in our lives, its ok to also appreciate the good that comes out of it. This Pesach will probably be the cheapest Pesach I ever make. There will probably be no fancy paper goods. There might not even be meat (I’m hoping the meat gets restocked soon!). there probably won’t be ANY trips this year, let alone someplace that costs money.
We sometimes glorify and fantasize about simpler times and about living simplistically. It is certainly not all it’s cracked up to be. But I, for one, will try to enjoy every good thing that comes out of it.