Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Many people wish each other “a freilichen Purim und a kosheren Pesach – a joyful Purim and a kosher Pesach.”

Many of us expend superhuman effort in getting ready for Pesach. But no matter how careful we are, we still need siyata dishmaya (Heavenly assistance). I can’t forget the time when I bought a small teapot, intending to begin using it after Pesach. Even though it was still wrapped in its original packaging, a bird must have chirped in my ear to open the package “just in case.”

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To my surprise, I discovered a small closed bag squeezed in a corner of the box next to the teapot. I opened the bag to find, what they call in Israel, a rogele. Believe me, I swallowed hard before catching my breath. To this day it is totally unclear to me how the factory released a product with this chametz “bonus” inside.

This is only one example out of thousands why it can’t be said enough that we need Heavenly blessings to get to, and through, Pesach. More than one man has reported that when he sat down at the Pesach Seder, he discovered crumbs in the pockets of his kittel left over from the last time he wore it – on Motzei Yom Kippur when he broke his fast. No wonder some people have two different kittels, one for Yom Kippur and one for Pesach.

But let me go back to the starting point of this article: the familiar saying “A freilichen Purim und a kosheren Pesach.” Some gedolei Yisrael have reversed this expression and wish each other “a kosheren Purim und a freilichen Pesach – a kosher Purim and a joyful Pesach.” Since many people are under the influence on Purim, a wish that Purim be celebrated in a kosher fashion is necessary. And since so many people are stressed by Pesach preparations, a wish that Pesach be celebrated with joy is also highly necessary.

This latter message is a crucial one that can easily be forgotten when busily preparing for Pesach. We must make sure to remember to be immersed in the aura of simcha that the Yom Tov provides. What a sublime chumra to take on as Pesach approaches: to keep our simcha thermostat on the highest digit without surrendering to the natural inclination of “losing it” due to tension and fatigue, two all too natural elements that come along with these days.

Let me conclude with the complete traditional saying, “A freilichen Purim, a kosheren Pesach, a milchig Shavuos, und a fleishige Tisha B’Av [when Mashiach comes]!L’shana haba’ah b’Yerushalayim.

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Rebbetzin Miriam Gross was director of education and assistant dean at EYAHT – Aish Hatorah's College for Women in Israel – for close to 30 years. Born and raised in Antwerp, Belgium, Rebbetzin Gross today lives in Jerusalem where she lectures, teaches, and serves as a Torah-based counselor. She can be reached at RebbetzinGross.JP@gmail.com.