Sunday, April 1, 2007

Making Pesach and the Search for Levening

Today we turned the kitchen over for Pesach. This means removing all the dishes that will not or cannot be make kosher for Passover, kashering those that will be used during the holiday and then bringing in the Pesadikh dishes and the food.

In the process, there is much cleaning. The cabinets have to be cleaned out, the counters cleaned and covered, and there is a massive moving of dishes.

Everybody helps!
This is MLC, my 21 year old daughter, showing off her muscles as she removes a stoneware salad bowl. Stoneware takes on the substance of the food placed in it, being porous and cannot be made kosher for Passover.

MLC is a runner and is training for "Run for the Zoo!" She has been getting very good times and is proud of her progress.

Another thing that has to be done is the kashering of pots, pans and utensils for use during Pesach. Different items have different rules. May utensils are immersed in boiling water. First, you boil a full pot of water. Then you immerse a stone to make the water overflow and kasher the outsie of the pot. Making Pesach involves a lot of towels! Once the pot is kosher, you can immerse your utensils. (I keep a set of Pesadikh tongs which I use to fish them out again).

Here I am kashering some of the items I will need for Pesach.

I also kasher my pots and pans. That involves scrubbing off accumulated carbon and then using the heat of the pan or pot to make it kosher for Passover. I have a dream that someday I will have a separate 'Pesadikh' set of cookware. But I really like my cookware and to have another set would be very expensive. I do have Pesadikh china for the Seder and also Pesadikh plates for the rest of the holiday. I do NOT kasher glassware. Usually, the klutzes of the family break enough glassware that it is worth getting a new set of drinking glasses every year in time for Pesach.

I do have special stemware for Pesach, however. This I got from my mother-in-law, may she rest in peace. I never knew her, but Bruce was given her crystal and I use it only for Pesach.

Here is N., removing my "Longest Tram in the World" souvenir beer stein. Beer, being fermented grain, is Chametz (levened stuff). During Pesach, we are commanded to remove the Chametz (foods made from wheat, oats, spelt, and rye) so the beer stein is definitely NOT Pesadikh.

Like I said, everybody helps. Bruce even gets out the Passover cartons that hold the dishes and some of the ritual objects. But then he disappears into his office. His job is to the get the taxes done before Pesach so that he can enjoy the Seder.

When the sun went down tonight, we conducted a ritual called "Bedikat Chametz" which is the search for levening.

I hid 10 pieces of bread around the house while N. took the dogs out. Then N. took a candle and a feather and a wooden spoon and searched out the Chametz. Yes, I hid some behind the plant! We said a blessing for fulfilling the commandment of removing the chametz. Then we recited a legal formula that says:

"All Chametz in my possession, which I have not seen or removed, or of which I am unaware, is hereby nullified and ownerless as the dust of the earth."

In this way, we acknowledge our honest effort at removing chametz from our lives--those things which enslave us or remove us from our true selves--but we also recognize that the job can never be completely done.

The kitchen is now turned over. I have started my chicken soup and the brisket. The turkey is slow roasting. Tomorrow I will make the side dishes and prepare for the Seder. I am actually ready! I have a lot of cooking to do tomorrow, but I know it will all get done!

Now the fun part of Pesach begins!

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