What My Son Did After I Cleaned his Room for Passover

What My Son Did After I Cleaned his Room for Passover

Last week, I went through the clothing in my boys’ room and set aside clothing which no longer fits to be given away or into storage bags which I labeled with their different sizes. I gave away the give-away bag and then placed the storage bags on top of my sons’ cabinet.

This past Sunday one of my family members had to unexpectedly go into the hospital for three days, which meant (among many, many other things) that I fell three days behind on Passover cleaning.

Last night I came home at around 7 PM, and my 8-year-old Yoel greeted me with a huge smile, “Eema, you won’t believe it! I cleaned my whole room for Pesach! It is METSUCHSACH!” Metsuchsach means something like “I scrubbed it so clean that it shines like a diamond!”

But when I looked in Yoel’s room, it looked more like the mine than the diamond. While searching for chametz, Yoel had taken most of the articles of clothing I had set aside so carefully into storage bags and left them lying all over the beds and the floor. He also found my new skirt for seder night which I was keeping in his closet, and put it away…well, he doesn’t remember where.

At that moment, I had a few choices…
1. Criticize!
2. Yell!
3. Scream!
4. Tell him exactly what I was thinking, and LOUDLY!

But this last Shabbat at the playground a mother told me something she heard from Rabbanit Yemima, that before Pesach there will, without a doubt, be mishaps in which a child of yours ruins hours of hard work by eating or putting something chametz where you have already cleaned or by messing up something you already organized.

And at that moment, Rabbanit Yemima said, you need to remember that this is your opportunity for “Gevura,” heroism.

So when I saw Yoel’s “Metsuchsach” room, I refrained from doing all the things I wanted to do and instead said “Great job, Yoel! I think you did such a thorough job that you don’t have to do any more work in this room at all!”

This morning, when I said the blessing “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokanu Melech Haolam. ozer yisrael b’gevura” I thought of all the things I didn’t say to Yoel.

And I knew this was a story that I wanted to pass on to you, just in case your child does something that drives you absolutely crazy before Passover, and you are wondering what exactly you should say, or not…:)

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12 comments

  1. Wow! You are a hero!

    (You can give tzedaka to Rabbi Meir Bal Hanes for finding your skirt)

  2. Hadassah

    I sure hope your skirt gets located before you need it. You made the right choice and I am sure that even if his room is disorganized there isn’t any chometz there. We have to remember that dust isn’t chometz and our kids are not the korban Pesach! Chag Kosher v’sameach!

  3. I’m so glad you shared this. Thank you for taking the time! May things be easy and smooth for you this week 🙂

  4. Wish I’d read this earlier but love it as general rule for when they destroy things that were lots of work or not appreciated something that was a great effort.
    I didn’t think you were posting anything new so hadn’t checked, but just did on the off chance. So glad I did! Wishing you and all the jewishmoms a pesach kosher v’sameach!

  5. Mina Gordon

    Bravo for making good choices!!!
    It helps to remember that the clothing (including the new skirt) will be a shmatteh in ten years time but the effect of an angry outburst by a parent or a teacher will remain with a child forever. There are people that I know who are in their fifties or sixties, and still cannot get past the hurt of a scolding during childhood. This is especially so when the the child had no bad intention.
    Someone just sent me a beautiful quote: No child behaves better by being made to feel worse.
    Thank you Chana for sharing another one of your beautiful and practical observations on how to actually live by Torah values.

    • I like that quote: No child will behave better by being made to feel worse. That is so good to remember…

  6. Sharona

    Your personal gevura is SO INSPIRATIONAL! Thank you for sharing.
    Is that the new skirt that you bought a hat to match? SO glad you found it.

  7. frieda

    I was told about a mother who had sewn a new dress for herself for Pesach, but did not get around to the finishing touches until 2 nights before Pesach. Tiredly, she left it still unfinished, draped on the sewing machine and went to bed. But her little son got up ahead of her and also wanted to do some “sewing” so…. he took the scissors and… her almost finished dress….
    This was told to me erev Pesach as a consolation for my son throwing up all over 3 beds worth of pillows, blankets and sheets on leil bedikas chometz.
    Never did hear about the other mother’s reaction….but once we have read your story, maybe it will help all of us to react better. Thanks.

  8. Why do some mothers have the ability to actually remember the wisdom of others in these moments when others (like myself) don’t have the presence of mind to gain those nanoseconds that make the difference between action and reaction….. Where can I get those extra seconds?!
    But I don’t beat myself up about it or abuse my thoughts by thinking I’ve ruined my child for life…. I just say that there is always room for improvement and don’t let the yetzer hara get me twice in one go- once for the anger, then for the guilt. So far I’ve got the guilt part. Now I just have to work on my temper!

  9. I would like to add that I don’t think it would have been a problem to ask your son to help you put the clothes back how and where he found them! I think in our desire not to get angry we throw away the baby with the bath water. He still needed to learn that he needs to clean up after any job: even a cleaning job. I would say the same even to my four year old.

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