Dealing With the Post Pesach Blues

Pesach is over and I’m sure many had a wonderful Yom Tov.

How do you deal with the inevitable let down as we return to the day to day struggles of life?

What impressions, insights and lessons have you taken out of Pesach this year which can continue to inspire you and others in the Beyond BT community.

16 comments on “Dealing With the Post Pesach Blues

  1. Some kid(s) once stuffed cookies into the vents of a air conditioner wall unit in our shul library. Luckily, adults spotted these before Pesach.

  2. David,

    I do appreciate the philosophy of “no pain no gain” but Pesach also comes with something different from other festivals and Shabboses and that is anxiety. Sure, it is hard work to prepare for the fall Yom Tovim as well (especially with a homemade 1000 pound Sukkah, which like Tom Sawyer, I had lots of help with from a bunch of great guys) but you don’t have to worry about the Cherrios that your daughter keeps in her diaper and spreads throughout the house or the cookies that your son hid in the attic, the fake sink that seems to be backing up, or whether the napkin you just used is actually chometz. Maybe we are doing something wrong, but when you enter Pesach with bad colds because of lower resistance brought about by lack of sleep and the second cup of wine puts you in a coma, then keeping your minds on the mitzvohs presents an even greater challenge.

  3. Regarding David’s 10:45 comment above,

    We get more reward for doing a Mitzvah than for doing a very similar action that we (because of our status, our timing, etc.) are not commanded to do.

    You might say that’s because its harder to do things on command, as in Twain’s example of work vs. play. But if we really understood our duty to HaShem, we’d revel in executing his orders!

  4. “Ben He He omare l’fum tsaara agra – according to the effort comes the reward (sort of an earlier version of “no pain, no gain”

    That’s a quote from a comment in today’s Pirke Avot post. That definitely applies to Pesach.

    I think it helps to take Bob’s approach in his comment above:

    “…even though preparing the house was arduous for us (which builds character, anyway)…”

    I also think it helps if you focus on the mitzvah aspect of the cleaning and prep. One of my favorite literary scenes is of Tom Sawyer painting the fence. For those who aren’t familiar, Tom has been punished and must whitewash the fence. He would, of course, rather be fishing or swimming or whatever else the other boys would be doing on a summer day. He devises a plan to make the other boys think that he wants to paint the fence and that they should only be so lucky. Before you know it, the boys are begging for a chance and actually giving Tom their respective prized possessions to get a chance to paint the fence. Twain then writes:

    “He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it — namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. And this would help him to understand why constructing artificial flowers or performing on a tread-mill is work, while rolling ten-pins or climbing Mont Blanc is only amusement. There are wealthy gentlemen in England who drive four-horse passenger-coaches twenty or thirty miles on a daily line, in the summer, because the privilege costs them considerable money; but if they were offered wages for the service, that would turn it into work and then they would resign.”

    Now, I don’t think you’re going to have your friends paying you to help clean and prep for Pesach, if you do, please contact me so I can get the recipe. But, I do think that we build up the cleaning and prep to such a point of drudgery that we often fail to realize that there are mitzvos involved. Losing sight of that adds to the drudgery and exhaustion.

    This won’t make it easy but maybe, just maybe, it will help us focus and see the gain from the pain.

  5. AJ, I’m not dismissing the tremendous effort involved and without older daughters, I would probably feel the exact same way.

    The question I ask myself in these situations, is what did Hashem or Chazal have in mind? Is Pesach meant to be such a burden that many of us can’t wait for it to be over?

  6. Mark,

    It is great that you get such joy from the Pesach season (and I say the season because it starts after Purim and goes until the end of the Yom Tov.) But honestly my wife and I feel the same as FFB, in that it was great to have it, but the end is also welcome. I know that it might not be the right attitude but it is a heck of a lot of work! From the weeks of cleaning, to the 10 hour shopping day we do in Monsey that seems like it will never end, to the twelve (12!!!) meals that need to be prepared (I am including the Shabbos that came right after it), the two kitchen turnovers (the last one had to be done in 24 hours plus cooking, another commercial for Aliyah) the guests prep, the trying to get the kids to nap so they can stay up, the tons of $$$ that we spent, I could go on and on.

    You may have heard me say in my stand-up that they do not put the Pesach details in the Kiruv brochure! (as Heidi would attest to!)

  7. Again, I enjoyed the holiday and the food, even though preparing the house was arduous for us (which builds character, anyway). The Pesach diet has never bothered me; it’s probably more healthful overall than what I eat normally.

    Work and email did not pile up any more than it would during a normal long vacation.

    There were enough new things to talk about during the second seder that had not been said in the first, so it was not redundant.

    The 8th day was not an imposition. If the Rabbanan said to observe it here in Golus, who are we to squawk?

    Lately, I work about 3 hours from home (in Goshen, IN—not Egypt. This Goshen is in Indiana’s Amish Country). Weekdays, I normally stay in South Bend and get home to Indy only for weekends, so now I miss being at home for a longer stretch. A Golus from a Golus!

    When Mashiach comes, we’ll have a lot more to thank HaShem for than shorter holidays!

  8. Pesach has been a hard time for me the last few years. Growing up in a “religious” reformed house, I used to LOVE pesach. Pesach is the one holliday where my family truely had their own rich traditions. Now, were they halachically acceptable tradiations? Not at all. We had the sedar meal at dinenr time, we horsed around with the afikomen, and then we collected serious cash from various family members. We ate whatever we wanted (except bread of course!!) So, with all these rules, especially in my house now, where even matza meal or cream cheese on matza are no-no’s, I sometimes really miss the Pesach’s (passover’s) of my youth. I just tell myself that what I find beautiful about Orthodox Judaism is the idea that we do things even if they are not necessarily pleasent–but because God wants us to. So, I guess this Pesach thing is just part of the package.

  9. My wife and 2 oldest daughters love to plan, cook and serve Yom Tov meals. And we all love Yom Tov davening, which may be why we get the Post Pesach blues.

  10. There’s a Yiddish sayings: How is Yom Tov similar to grandkids? You’re happy when they come and you’re happy when they go.

  11. Nathan has the nerve to say it.

    It’s a relief. I do enjoy Pesach. I wouldn’t ever want to lose it. But it’s only meant to be a week long, and for me frankly it’s a relief when it’s over.

    Pesach is stressful because of the severe halachic strictures on what you can’t eat. It’s hard because of the digestive effects of what you can eat. It’s especially hard in years such as this one when you are a professional and so many yomtov days fall out on weekdays. Voicemails and piles of paper and email inbox counts just rise and rise and rise until Isru Chag as if — why, as if someone had put yeast in them!

    The sedarim are also — well, let’s just say that I am amazed that I can do it two days in a row, and enjoy it, which I do, but readers familiar with my views will appreciate how profound it is when I say that after the first night’s Chad Gadya, the prospect of a second seder makes me contemplate Aliyah!

    Yes, there’s a reason Hashem gave us Pesach for as long as we did, and not longer!

  12. My family definitely has the Post Pesach Blues after a great Yom Tov week.

    Here’s a thought:

    Pesach is day of spiritual inspiration, because it was during this period that G-d showed the world that there is a spiritual (non-physical) basis behind the physical world.

    We come out of Pesach with the clear understanding that the world has a spiritual foundation.

    Our goal from Pesach to Shavous is to work on our middos and on accessing the spiritual through our intellect. This process leads us to an ability to access the Torah on Shavous which is the real pinnacle of history.

    So Pesach is just the starting point and our goal is to reach higher levels through an unbiased intellect, which make Torah more accessible to us.

  13. I have no Post Pesach Blues. If I were able to, I would eliminate the additional day of Yom Tov that is celebrated outside Eretz HaKodesh, so Pesach would have ended a day sooner.

Comments are closed.