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The Jewish Spring Clean What is Passover Cleaning

Jewish Passover traditions How to spring clean your house How to clean for Passover

Pesach or Passover cleaning is a Jewish tradition, the actual purpose being to get rid of any Chametz or bread from the house before Pesach begins. However Pesach cleaning has expanded to include a thorough going over of the house even in places where there will obviously be no bread. Whether you are a religious Jew or not Pesach cleaning is a Judaic version of spring cleaning and many Jewish families, especially in Israel take the opportunity to give their houses a good going over.

The religious requirement for keeping kosher during the week of Pesach is to not only not eat bread and other leavened products like biscuits, cakes and crackers, but in addition to that you are not supposed to even be in the proximity of these forbidden foods. That is the reason for the intensive cleaning, to make sure there are no hidden crumbs or an old sandwich hidden out of view.

Different Jews keep Pesach differently, ranging from those that don't keep kosher during Passach; those that don't clean their houses or get rid of their leavened bread, they leave it in the house but simply don't eat it; others clean out the kitchen of leavened products and don't eat them during Pesach; then the more religious use different kitchen utensils, plates and cutlery so as not to even eat off of plates which have had bread on them; finally the ultimate kosher Pesach includes an intense spring cleaning of the whole house, plus the changing of kitchen utensils and getting rid of all leavened bread.

If the Jewish family doesn't want to use the usual kitchen utensils they have a few options: they can seal up all the daily cupboards and use plastic plates, cutlery etc; or they can take their usual kitchen things to the ritual baths (mikvah) and have them koshered, the things can also be cleaned thoroughly in boiling water and lastly and the option most religious Israeli families go for is to have a Pesach set of all kitchen utensils and equipment. This means having Pesach food processor, plates, cutlery, glasses, cups, plastic containers, pots and pans. These Pesach kitchen things are kept locked away from everyday use during the rest of the year and are only brought out during the week of Pesach. In addition the fridge, oven, microwave, stove and kitchen surfaces are cleaned down to the smallest details.

For a guide on how to time your Pesach cleaning so that you can get through the whole house in the weeks running up to the holiday see my article: House Cleaning: How to spring clean your home for Passover/Pesach.

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