One Pesach many people got to hear the interesting flavor of my cousins. My aunt, in a drive to have no suspicion of any Chometz crumbs anywhere, had her children wash the telephone. (Hey, you never know, don’t you sometimes speak on the phone with your mouth full of food?) The phone receiver was promptly taken apart. Each part was washed and scrubbed well (in our house when this happened, the cleanser of choice was Easy-Off). Finally, it was dried, put back together and put back into use.
Thereafter, began a run of crank calls. Someone kept calling and being silent. The phone would ring and they would be greeted with the ominous silence.
Having the whole family home for Pesach vacation meant having a dozen kids all cooped up and ready for fun. The crank caller was the perfect person to use for that fun. The phone would ring and the family would gather in the kitchen. They would pass the phone receiver from hand to hand and yell insults and invectives into the phone. Sometimes they would do the yelling in chorus. Weirdly enough, the crank caller did not get scared off from their bluster. That phone kept ringing and ringing and ringing.
Chol Hamoed my parents called my aunt. They dialed the number and said “hello”, really innocently. From the phone came a cackle of booing, cursing, yelling and hysteria. It was fun for us to hear such colorful language. We promptly called back. And got a repeat of choice words from the chorus of cousins. We tried talking to them, but seems that we weren’t being heard.
My father smiled. “Someone has been Pesach cleaning,” he wisely deduced. He then called another relative to “tee es schnell” go over to my aunt’s home and let her know that there was no crank caller and that the earpiece of her phone was broken, whilst the mouthpiece obviously was in perfect working order.
You learn, over the years, through trial and error and through many incurred expenses, just what to clean for Peach and what to leave alone. You also learn how not to get rid of Chametz.
For example, I can promise you that throwing flour into the trash is way wiser than trying to pour it down the toilet or to wash it down your sink. Flour and water in combination, not a good idea. Dough in pipes, not even Drano will be very helpful there, my friend.
Tangible examples, with more meaning that can be incorporated in it. When Pesach cleaning, do not break down the lines of communication. How many of the balabustes, those who are expert at cleaning and running their homes, forget that their earpieces need to continue working through the Pesach preparations and not just their mouthpieces. If you are hollering at your loved ones and creating chaos in the Pesach preparations, you’ve gotten your Pesach prep all wrong.
And sometimes, when getting rid of things that we don’t want, we create a bigger mess for ourselves. Guilt, throw it out. Don’t combine it with anything else.
Keep your lines of communication open this Pesach. And keep your emotions unclogged by mess and guilt.