The Passover Princess?

The Passover Princess?


I had just handed the balloon man $2.50 for that flower balloon, and less than 5 minutes later, before we’d even stepped out of the mall, it was nothing more than a limp strip of plastic in my 7-year-old’s hand.

My gut instinct was to blame the balloon guy. “I paid $2.50 for that balloon, and it already popped! Give me my money back!”

But I didn’t do it. Balloons pop, that’s what balloons do.

And I remembered the $2.50 Angry Birds ice cream that I’d bought earlier that morning for Tsofiah and Moriah. Those ice creams were also enjoyed and gone within five minutes.

Gashmius. The physical pleasures of this world. The food eaten, the clothing worn, the souvenir purchased, the house renovated.

The pharaohs of Ancient Egypt were buried with their stuff, placed inside a pyramid with tons of food, drink, furniture, clothes, and jewelry to be used in the afterlife.

Hardy har har. What silly Egyptians! Everybody knows that you can be a billionaire with billions of dollars of stuff. But when your time comes, you can’t take even a single dried date or hieroglyphic decorated throne with you.

Which is a troubling thought for me as a JewishMOM.

I, like you, just completed a 5-week stuff-obsessed frenzy. First there were the hectic weeks of organizing and scrubbing. Followed by a week packed with cooking and setting the table and serving the food and clearing the dishes and washing them.

And now that my Pesach dishes are packed away, what am I left with? A skirt that I can barely button closed. A mountain of laundry to be sorted on my bed. A half-consumed bag of matzah meal.

On the last day of Pesach we hosted our old and dear friend David and his absolutely adorable 5-year-old twins Ofree and Nevo.

The meal we served for David was the finish line of my own JewishMOM Pesach marathon. The last time the Weisberg family maid (me) cooked and set the table and served the food and cleared the dishes and washed them.

David’s daughter Ofree is obsessed with princesses. She dressed up as a princess for Purim and at one point when Ofree was crying, David tried to distract her with an offer to go together on a walk around the block “in search of princesses.”

But then David looked up at me, and he turned to his daughter and said, “Ofree, look! We’ve found a princess!”

David is not religious, and I’m not sure Ofree has ever seen a religious women dressed up for a holiday.

Pointing to the scarf on my head, David said, “Look at her head, she’s wearing a crown!”

And pointing to my holiday outfit, he said, “And look, she’s wearing royal clothing. Princess clothing!”

Ofree eyed me carefully. And after a few seconds, she nodded. Yes, her father was correct. They had most definitely discovered a princess.

A fellow princess, like her, of the highest King.

A princess who, when she remembers Who she is really serving, CAN take it with her.

photo credit: Gabriela Camerotti via photopin cc


  1. so so truly beautiful. thanks for sharing the reminder!! I gave birth the week before pesach to a healthy baby boy BH. this pesach was just completely insane – included an erev pesach bris! anyway, I have definitely been feeling shmatalike in the past few weeks with all the kids home and the new born and pesach ……..I needed to read this, because man oh man is it true, again thanks for sharing it!

    • JewishMom

      mazal tov!! I was wondering if you gave birth after I saw you in the shuk that day…

    • JewishMom

      mazal tov!! I was just wondering today if you gave birth after I saw you in the shuk that day…

      • thanks…yeah not until a week later!!! so much for natural induction methods. gave birth at week 41- 4.3 kilo baby!!

  2. Great post! I also feel that way- so much cooking and cleaning- but we do take away so much spiritually from the holiday. I also feel very accomplished, look how hard our family has worked the amount of stuff we did seems huge and it is all to serve G-d.

  3. What a beautiful piece, Chana Jenny! I really liked the fact that your friend, who is not religious, saw that you were a true princess. How lovely that some in Israel can build bridges between the two communities. Thank you for writing such a moving piece.

  4. love it. you’re the best. thank you for the reminder 🙂

  5. I don’t know if this post is in place or not – but here goes…
    Pesach, and everything else, really gets easier when the kids get older. My kids help to clean and cook, and everything goes so much smoother. I even have time to sit down with a sefer on the chag itself.
    So hang in there young mothers. You’re doing a great job, juggling kids and home, and LIFE. The time and effort you put into your kids now is so important, and it pays off later. The good relationship that you build with them lasts a lifetime.

    • Part of it is the kids are older, part of it is getting our routines in place, part is realizing that dirt or dust is not chometz – yes we want to have spotless homes for Pesach but priority is chometz free homes. It is important for me to enjoy my cooking and keep it simple. Lucky for me my family loves a basic yom tov day time meal of roast beef and mashed potatoes with gravy that works on any yom tov! If your kids pick up on a negative mood of complaining, or resentment then it can poison their perception of living a frum lifestyle. By the way those of you in Eretz Yisroel have it easy – here in Chutz L’aretz there are 4 yom tov meals then Shabbos then four more major meals. (not counting feeding everyone breakfast, lunch, and supper + snacks on Chol Hamoed.)

      • Forgot to include this: every child likes to feel useful. Three year olds can help set tables, five year olds can help through out napkins, or used paper plates, eight year olds and some even younger can help peel,(for sure lots of that on Pesach) ten year olds can follow a recipe and make a dessert or other dish, and boys as well as girls need to learn to help out with all aspects of yom tov, cooking, cleaning, minding siblings etc.

  6. Okay I have a confession to make, I was blessed with a new kitchen erev pesach after 35 yrs,. of marriage which we kept pesachdik for the most part and my kids are much much older now, but what I think was the crowning glory of my initiation into the court of Royalty was that when there was so many opportunities to yell, scream, go into panic mode, “how am I going to do this?”, so much do, oye, oye, oye, all those old negative scripts. Thankfully none of these scripts resurfaced albeit we came pretty close at times…instead I kept saying this aggravation it too will pass, this isn’t important it is a triviality, so I don’t bake,who cares, so I serve the same thing over and over again, who cares, applesauce, potatoes, chicken, carrots, eggs, over and over again, did mange to make some brownies though but no frills this pesach, never was….but in the end to me this is princess hood, not to sweat all that small icky stuff, which use to pull me down down and down, and could easily have erupted the shalom bayils into a 8.5 earthquake on the Richter scale Its nice to be a princess, not the JAP variety but a real princess married to the KIng of Kings and finally took the lesson of being the glory of the King’s Daughter to heart….

  7. This was a very meaningful post for me. I’ve been struggling with getting dressed for Shabbat and yom Tov lately, because when I emerge from the silence of my room and descend the stairs feeling like a princess, the unravelling scene of madness that awaits me in those final moments before candle lighting (somehow the tidy house I left behind before going to change turned into something resembling the Gymboree on chol hamoed….) – leaves me wanting to turn around, screaming, and run back upstairs to put back on my shmatters…. I really have to hold on to the moment ( and the stair rail) when my kids stop the balagan for one second, eyes light up, notice me, and show their appreciation. For one second only ….. But it’s mine, and so I keep getting dressed up, every week….

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