We’ve reached the week. The week when Purim is on our minds, and Pesach is right behind it. I have some guidance to offer but first and foremost, I respect that households have very different needs, and issues related to this depend on so much – age of the kids, size of family, are you hosting the purim seudah, do you have out of town family visiting you, how long you’ve been doing chatzos and if you are in the mood, or, imagine this, one of our long-time members is putting on a wedding the Monday after Purim – try that idea out in your minds and you’ll feel very lucky for your pressures! (But mazel tov and we know you’ll pull it off!)
So here are some thoughts:
I posted a week ago that I had Purim figured out and ready. That’s not a coincidence. If you wake up monday morning without any clue of how you are doing Purim, and you also have to figure out Shabbos, that’s a lot of pressure. I figured out my theme three weeks ago, bought everything I needed a week ago, and I’m ready to get all of the mishloach manos put together on Sunday evening. I know what i”m making for our potluck seudah and I’m doing that thursday morning. So I recommend, if you are concerned about Shabbos, that you use every day of this week to be organized in your approach to shabbos and purim in this week.
For shabbos, Pesach being around the corner, most of my shabbos is coming out of the freezer. But again, this is not something unplanned. Quite the opposite. A few weeks ago, when I knew that I would have a stressful week, I doubled recipes, and put into the freezer soup, and challah, and noodle kugel, and a beef stew, and desserts, all freeze well, and much of my shabbos is already made with some additions needed, but not enough to stress me out.
Since many of us cook on Wednesday and Thursday for shabbos, that will be different this week. But these times are not entirely gone for us. For example, I will cook some shabbos food on wednesday evening when I come home from the megillah reading. And I will cook thursday during the day in between deliveries and answering the door and preparing for the Seudah. Shopping for Shabbos I can also do in the regular supermarket on Thursday.
I will set my table for shabbos on thursday night as I always do. Even those who are hosting the suedah in their homes can do this.
For residents of Jerusalem, when Purim falls on a friday, this is much trickier. When I did this in the past, I remember letting go of cleaning the house other than making sure that the main area we were eating in was tidied up and clean, and cleaning the kitchen. Also, it makes sense to make friday night meal as simple as possible, since most people will not be hungry. These folks may consider showering friday morning, preparing for the freezer their entire shabbos before purim even begins, and easing up on yourselves if it isn’t all perfect. You don’t want to rain on the fun of Purim by being stressed about shabbos the whole time.
It’s all about having an organized view of the week ladies, whatever your circumstances, and reminding yourself that pesach is around the corner, so whatever you can use up from your freezer and not cook fresh isn’t cheating Shabbos, it’s keeping you calm and helping you prepare for Pesach!
Wishing all of you strength, and creativity, and joy, and wisdom.