Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Everyone always wants advice before Pesach – something about the holiday makes people want to send each other questions.



Dear Mordechai,

What’s wrong with my vacuum cleaner?



Dear A.,

It’s probably broken. There are a lot of Pesach traditions, and one of the first is the annual breaking of the vacuum cleaner.

In our house, every Pesach cleaning begins with replacing the belt on ours. You’d think we would get a better vacuum, but we don’t have many carpets in our house, so 95% of our yearly vacuuming is done right before Pesach. And not even on carpets. We vacuum everything, once we have it out. We vacuum the floors, we vacuum the ceilings, we vacuum to pick up big things that we don’t feel like bending down for, we vacuum the long string at the edge of the carpet, and we vacuum up the old belt that’s still lying on the floor for some reason. I’ve even vacuumed hair out of the bathtub drain.

On that note – check if the bag is full. The vacuum cleaner bag is always full. It’s smaller than any of your garbage cans, and you’re using it to pick up all the garbage in your entire house, plus innocent spiders who are living on your ceiling and not hurting anyone except when they come down on an invisible string and scare you off your tuffet. Plus, think of how full your garbage gets before you put your foot in there to push everything down. Are you sticking your foot in your vacuum cleaner?

Oh. Maybe that’s why it’s broken.


Dear Mordechai,

Do I have to clean my bathroom for Pesach?



Dear S.,

Well, we do. Despite the fact that we don’t bring food in there. We don’t even have a medicine cabinet in there. There is a discoloration on the wall where a medicine cabinet used to be, but someone who lived in the house before us asked himself, “Why on earth would someone keep medicine in the bathroom?” And he was right. After all, what’s the first thing you do after you get a pill? You look around for a drink. And what’s the one room in the house where you can’t drink? Are you downing the pill with a swig of mouthwash? So we keep our medicine in the kitchen, which is where we keep the drinks. We keep it the candy cabinet, right below the candies. This is not recommended either.

But I’d still advise you to clean the bathroom before Pesach, because if this is the kind of question you’re asking, I’m starting to worry that this is the only time of the year you consider cleaning the bathroom at all.


Dear Mordechai,

Why, before Pesach, do we teach our kids what will happen at the Seder? They know every step better than the adults… and then we expect them to ask their parents what’s happening?



Dear Y.,

I’ve been wondering about this for many years myself. Why don’t we just let Pesach totally surprise them? Say absolutely nothing about it in school the whole month, give them a full day of school Erev Pesach, and suddenly they come home from school and, “Hey! What’s going on here?” I think the non-frum families actually do it right. (Or should I say “not-yet frum”? I’ve heard people call them that.)

On the other hand, that’s a lot of new material to teach your kid in one night when he’s tired and you’re drunk. Especially in the old days, when the wine was really strong, and just the first cup could give you a headache until Shavuos.


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