One of the things I have been promising myself (and everyone else) that I will do, now that I am a Lady of Leisure, is to clean out all the junk from my desk, cupboards, wardrobe and everywhere else. So far, I’ve managed to put it off 😉 but, with Pessach almost upon us, I feel I can’t do that any longer. And yet – where to start, that’s the great question.
On the radio, this morning, there was an interview with a rabbanit, who, speaking on the subject of Pessach cleaning, stressed the importance of renewal in cleaning. She said there is a tendency, in this consumer age, to throw out the old and buy new, but when an object has been cleaned and polished and made bright and shiny, it is as if it is new. Familiarity often breeds contempt – whether we are speaking of our clothes, our toys, our home – or our spouse! But when she does the Pessach cleaning, she feels she is revisiting places and possessions she once loved and discovering them all anew.
Be that as it may, her talk inspired me to tackle cleaning out my wardrobe. Unfortunately, with the rabbanit’s words echoing in my head, I fell prey to introspection. Here is the royal blue outfit I bought for my sister’s wedding – how many years ago? It’s still in perfectly good condition and, indeed, I even wear it occasionally. How can I throw it away? And that black coat, which used to be my mother’s – which her own father, a master tailor, made for her with his own hands? It’s been in and out of fashion several times. All it needs is a new lining. I’m certainly not going to throw that away. On the other hand – the blue-grey linen suit which I bought to wear in court in the summer months, almost 25 years ago, when I was at the start of my legal career. It’s in excellent condition (because I hardly ever wore it) and it’s bang up to fashion again. However, it no longer fits me. Not that I’m fat – I wouldn’t have you think that. I’m just not as skinny as I was then. No, I finally have the more womanly figure I always wanted (for all the good it’s going to do me now). I thought of giving the suit away to one of my younger (ex-) colleagues. It’s exactly her style. And yet – suppose I just go on a crash diet… I could keep the suit for what I once heard described as “thinspiration” (lol). It’s such a beautiful suit.
Okay, what next? Two old handbags, in terrible condition. I can throw them out, that’s for certain. Oh, but wait. Both of them are full of old papers, salary slips, bank statements, you name it. There might actually be something important there. I can’t risk throwing the bags away until I check their contents thoroughly and that, in itself, is a full day’s job. Okay, back in the wardrobe they go, till I can find time for that.
What’s this? A cardigan that I started knitting – when?!?!? I seem to have finished it – except for one sleeve. Now this surely represents a Piece of History. It must be just about the only time I ever actually tried to knit something. Maybe, now that I’m retired and have plenty of time on my hands (says who?), I should finish it. These bulky sweaters never really date and you can never have too many cardigans, can you?
Oh, what have we here? A slinky, red halter-neck dress that I once shortened, because mini-skirts were the fashion, then lengthened again, and which never really went out of style. I remember wearing that to go folk-dancing. It would have been more suitable for ballroom dancing but I had my eye on the dance instructor and – well, no more of that! It’s been a while since I could fit into it, yet somehow it takes me back to honeysuckle- scented summer evenings and a whole host of bitter-sweet memories. I don’t think I could bear to dispose of this dress.
And so it goes on. The hours pass and I haven’t thrown anything away. The rabbanit’s words have only reinforced what I call my “Squirrel Syndrome”.
This afternoon, I went out and had a hairdo. While I was at it, I bought a new, clingy, navy blue dress for Pessach.
I don’t have room for it in my wardrobe!
Chag Sameach (חג שמח) to you all.