Volume 42 Number 22
                 Produced: Tue Feb 24  6:12:27 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Do it yourself Pesach Hotel (5)
         [Carl Singer, Caela Kaplowitz, Shari Hillman, Yisrael and Batya
Medad, Andrew Marks]
Jewish Observer article, Disney, et al
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Pesach and Cleaning (2)
         [Tzvi Stein, Alan Friedenberg]


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2004 07:51:47 -0500
Subject: Do it yourself Pesach Hotel

>How about nowadays?  The prices for Pesach hotels are astronomical!
>They're simply not an option for many families.  Instead, why not take
>along some pre-prepared (as well as raw) Pesach food and go to a regular
>"suite" hotel (the kind with the full kitchen in each unit) for Pesach?
>You could get there a day in advance to run the self-clean oven and
>prepare the kitchen... you wouldn't have to do much in the way of
>regular "cleaning", as it would be basically "clean" when you got
>there.... there certainly wouldn't be any food around.  Depending on
>where you go, there may or may not be a minyan available, but if you're
>willing to forego that, you could pick a beautiful location if you

It's certainly different strokes for different folks.

When I go to an exotic place for the scenery / experience I'd like to
enjoy the entire trip -- not just Hol HaMoed -- so why schedule on a Yom
Tov when half the time you have other things to do?   My wife and I, and
another couple went to Hawaii one year -- not on Pesach -- and had a
great time, but there's still lots of food prep work (that usually falls
on "the women") -- since it was NOT Pesach we didn't have to worry as
much about the hotel rooms (chometz in the mini-bar, the candies they
put on your pillow, chometz in general -- what if previous room guest
ate crackers in bed?)  -- additionally, all of the lights / elevator /
temperature adjustment, issues etc., that come with Shabbos or Yom Tov.
Also while sightseeing, we could grab a Coca-Cola, etc., without having
to lug our own beverages.   An electric frying pan or a small toaster
oven is more than sufficient for non-Yom Tov meals -- and a week of
mostly cold sandwiches, etc. isn't that hard to cope with. 

Doing without a minyan for Yom Tov -- another personal choice.

An alternative -- If you want to make it easy for your wife -- and if
your family minhagim allow -- bring in catered meals to your home for
some / all of Pesach. 

Here's a discussion point --  to what extent does one have to clean
one's home if that they are going to be away for all of Yom Tov.   Also,
when, if it all, does one do Bidikat Chometz, if they are going to be
traveling during the days before Pesach. 

Carl Singer

From: Caela Kaplowitz <caelak@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 07:15:02 -0500
Subject: Do it yourself Pesach Hotel

Correct me if I'm wrong, but a lot of people go away for Pesach to avoid
the cleaning and cooking that the holiday involves. Why would you want
to go to a hotel where you have to cook 3 meals a day under much more
uncomfortable conditions than can be found in your own kitchen?

Caela Kaplowitz
Baltimore, MD

From: Shari Hillman <shari_h_613@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 06:36:19 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Do it yourself Pesach Hotel

Tzvi Stein suggested taking Pesach food to a regular hotel suite (that
would have a full kitchen) and making your own Pesach hotel experience.

We've done something similar, when the calendar permits, renting a house
off-season in North Carolina and making Pesach there. It was a wonderful
experience and one our children remember vividly and fondly.

I say when the calendar permits because it works best when first seder
is a Wednesday night - check in at the house was on Sunday and that left
time to kasher the oven and stove (we asked the house agent to check for
a self-cleaning rather than continuous-cleaning oven), get set up, and
start cooking.

We brought everything with us except fresh fruits and veggies, but we
found national brand dairy goods (cottage cheese, cream cheese) kosher
l'Pesach in the local stores.

Taking a large family somewhere for two weeks can be prohibitively
expensive, and we'd never been away for vacation before. But the house
rental was less than $1000 for the two weeks and the food we would have
bought anyway. We brought our Pesach pots and cutlery and bought "fancy"
paper plates. The seders were much more relaxed, we had real family time
together, and before chag and on chol hamoed we did tourist things, hit
the local used bookstores, etc. It was too cold to swim, but we took
many walks on the beach (and no swimmers meant the people around us were
more modestly dressed than swimsuits).

The only downside was not having a minyan, but we found davening on the
beach at dawn an incredible experience. And everywhere we went we met up
with Israelis (who own many of the beach-side businesses) and the
occasional frum family doing the same kind of get-away.

Some of the houses are big enough for two families, and it would be easy
to put together a group, if having a community for the chag is important
to you.  We found the "just family" time very valuable. We all came back
refreshed and recharged.

I hesitated to write this because no one wants their little hideaways to
become popular and crowded, but making your own Pesach get-away
definitely works.  We're thinking about a cabin in the mountains next

From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2004 06:30:49 +0200
Subject: Re: Do it yourself Pesach Hotel

Let's get back to basics.  What is Pesach?  What are the positive
mitzvot?  What is a chag?  If you are bringing children, what are you
teaching them about Pesach?

Judaism is not a "solitary" religion.  We cannot celebrate any week or
holiday without community.  Small correction--women can, since we aren't
required to doven with a minyan.  But that's another issue.

Picking a totally non-Jewish/frum environment for a chag (holiday is
used to mean vacation in England) something very basic is missing.  Your
focus changes from the chag and its mitzvot to the logistics of kashrut.
Pesach is more than an evening of matzah and 4 cups of wine.

How can one kasher a traif hotel kitchen and leave one's own home
chametzdik?  If you have the money get away, at least go to a place that
will give you a real Jewish experience.  Think "chag" not


From: Andrew Marks <ajm58@...>
Subject: Re: Do it yourself Pesach Hotel

I don't think you can be somech on non-Jews (with no oversight) making
sure that there's no chametz.  This is especially true if they don't
even know that they should be extra careful to remove all of it.  Also,
you still need to cover all of the counter tops, etc, and (perhaps)
worry about the maid brings in with her (mints, etc).  A competent posek
should be consulted on this.


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2004 11:00:39 +0200
Subject: Re: Jewish Observer article, Disney, et al

When I saw what Chana Luntz posted, and seeing as it is now Rosh Chodesh
Adar, I could not resist telling you that I heard one more pair for
Yalta's list.

> Yalta [his wife] said to Rav Nachman - let us see, everything that the
> Torah forbad us, it permitted us something like it - it forbad us
> blood, and permitted us liver,

The Torah forbade collecting interest, but permitted ...  grandchildren!

> In addition, aliyat haregel was all about going away with other Jews
> (millions of them) and having each their own seder cheek by jowl with
> the next family (all on har habayit).

I think that should read "all within the Choma" - the city walls (but I
believe not necessarily the walls standing today).

> In fact, in which environment is it more likely that people
> (especially the women) will be receptive to a high quality seder and a
> meaningful yom tov?

At least in my case, the opposite was true. When I suggested to my wife
that I get her out of the kitchen and take us away for Pesach, her
response was that it would be a lot cheaper and more pleasant to just
buy a food processor for Pesach! She preferred staying home, so I bought
it. :-) She adds that "my walls are not scrubbed, I don't do "spring
cleaning". I enjoy the cooking, our seder, and most of all, having our
kids home.

Chodesh tov!
Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2004 10:59:00 -0500
Subject: Re: Pesach and Cleaning

From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>

> Firstly, at least a significant number of women completely dread
> Pesach. (Say the word pesach to them, and they say, oh know, I don't
> want to even think about that yet).  ... Then, the women work
> themselves to the bone, and are so shattered that they do not enjoy,
> not the seder and not the whole yom tov .

Again, this ties into the "ignorance" idea I was talking about.  If they
are "working themselves to the bone", then probably 90% of what they're
doing is not halachically necessary.  There is an excellent halachic
summary about the miniumum requirements of Pesach cleaning that was put
out by the students of Rav Scheinberg several years ago.

The main points I remember was that if something will not be used during
Pesach, it does not have to be cleaned or searched *at all*.  This
includes food cabinets and ovens.  As for things that will be used, if
they come in contact with a cleanser, any chometz crumbs will be
rendered inedibile.  That means, for example, a kitchen floor may be
cleaned for Pesach merely by making sure all parts of it come in conact
with a cleanser (Fantastik, etc).  As for places where one does not
normally eat or prepare food and that one does not want to close off
(such as bedrooms), it is sufficient to be sure they are free of "large
pieces" of chomtz (larger than a kezayis).

Women that are "working themselves to the bone" are undoubtedly doing
things like scrubbing an oven spotless, that will not even be used for
Pesach, scrubbing a floor so that no stains are visible, scrubbing walls
and ceilings, and turning bedrooms upside down.  In addition, much of
what they're probably doing is cleaning "dirt" or "dust" which has
nothing whatsover to do with chometz or Pesach.

Also, if you just look into the halachic sources, you will not find very
much at all that describes "cleaning for Pesach", beyond "the search for
chometz" that one does on the night before erev Pesach.  Certainly you
won't find mention of spending months cleaning for Pesach.
Halachically, it does not even make sense to start cleaning so far in
advance, especially if you have kids in the house.  How can you really
assume that a room you cleaned 2 months ago is still free of chometz?
So it turns out these women are "working themselves to the bone", and
they're not even accomplishing the halachic requirement of ensuring that
chometz has been removed.  A woman that started cleaning for Pesach just
a week beforehand, and at the same time stopped giving the kids chometz
to walk around with, is actually on much firmer halachic ground than the
woman who started cleaning the bedrooms 3 months before Pesach.

I think the problem goes beyond ignorance though, because I've seen
people who, once they learned of these relaxed requirements, just
continued doing what they always have done.  I've also run into rabbis
who did not want me to publicize the summary, even though they did not
disagree with it on halachic grounds.

From: Alan Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 13:30:14 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Pesach and Cleaning

As a male and a participating member of my family, I wonder - where are
the husbands of these women hiding?  I do not wish to glorify myself,
nor do I wish to sound smug, but I do as much work around the house as
my wife.  In fact, my wife and kids all know that the kitchen is mine on
the motzey Shabbos before Pesach.  I clean the stove, two fridges inside
and out, and the oven.  Why should any husband not help clean?

Sure my wife is tired, but so am I.  She does all the cooking, but I
clean the dining room.  It may make a difference for her - she may be
able to get 6 hours of sleep instead of 5.  And that is what makes the
difference.  I can't think of any acceptable reason for a husband not to
give some serious help around the house during the weeks before Pesach.



End of Volume 42 Issue 22