One of the mistakes I made when we moved into the house this summer is that I kashered the oven/stove rather than buy a new one. It literally took me days to kasher it, and it's not even a good unit so what was the point? Had I realized how difficult it was going to be, I certainly would have just purchased a new one.
Part of the problem was that the previous owners, it seemed, hadn't cleaned the oven/stove even one time in the thirteen years they lived here. (Likewise for the kitchen as a whole.) Layers and layers of grease were caked onto the oven and in every nook and cranny. Every time I removed a panel I uncovered another layer. It was disgusting, and not just physically. I felt so defiled having to swim through the tarfus. I've never immersed in a mikve nor have I ever felt the desire to do so, but for the first time in my life I now wanted to go. I needed to get this tumah off of me.
After it was all done and over, I remarked to Kinneret that we should be thankful for Pesach and not complain about the associated cleaning chores. We are not necessarily the cleanest people in the world ourselves, but at least Pesach makes us do some basic housecleaning at least once a year.
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We are not big Pesach cleaners. I personally am a big believer that dirt isn't chometz. Pesach may be chag ha-aviv, but Pesach cleaning isn't spring cleaning. I am always amazed by people who start preparing for the holiday weeks or even months before it actually begins. I've always thought the record was held by the Jews of southern Germany, whom Hugo Mandel relates in his wonderful memoir would begin to prepare right after the conclusion of Chanukah.
Well this year Kinneret broke that record. As we were in the midst of turning the kitchen back over she pulled out a paper and pen. She proceeded to start of list of all lessons she learned this year for how to prepare for next year. Yikes.
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