Passover, or Pesach as it is called in Hebrew, is the 8 day festival where the Jews celebrate their liberation from Egypt more than a thousand years ago. One of the most important features of this freedom festival is that the Jews cannot eat anything that is leavened. They eat unleavened bread.
They must also make sure that no bread crumbs exist in or around the house: the cupboards, the drawers, the kitchen, behind the bed, under the refrigerator and anywhere else where crumbs might have fallen through. To ensure that the house is clean of leavened food materials, the Jews have to clean the entire house from top to bottom as thoroughly as possible. And they do. During the week before Passover, house cleaning is what goes on in most Jewish houses. To answer this demand and to ease the tension, here is a joke on this subject called Impossible Timing, which highlights this cleaning tension.
Samuel, an observant Jew, who was also a financial wizard, left Brooklyn to accept the position of Vice President in a famous broker firm in Utah, which is well known for being a Mormon state.
When they learned this, the company’s directorate applied tremendous pressure on the company’s president. “We are religious people here,” they said. “It can’t be that a Jew will handle all our money.”
The president tried to ward them off, but when he couldn’t manage it anymore, he called Samuel to his office and explained the situation to him. Samuel was offered the choice of either converting or leaving the attractive job which also had a six figure salary quote attached to it.
Samuel had no choice but to convert, and he went home and told his wife that from Sunday, they will start attending the Church services.
A few months went by and his wife kept troubling Samuel about the conversion. “This is too difficult for me. I miss the Sabbath: lighting candles and blessing the wine. I miss the holidays. Money is not everything, Samuel dear.”
And with each time that his wife complained, Samuel’s conscience increased until he could not take it anymore and he went to meet the company’s President.
“Look, I can’t go on like this,” Samuel said. “I am full of regret. Money is not everything. I can’t sleep and neither can my wife. This is too heavy a burden for me to carry. I was born a Jew and I want to die a Jew. And if you want me to quit, I will without making any trouble.”
The President looked at him in wonder, “Listen, Samuel, I had no idea that this was so difficult for you. I thought it was a trivial matter. But you don’t have to leave. Everything will be the same as before: you can stay here with us without converting.
Samuel returned home happy and grinning from ear to ear. He ran to his wife, who was watching Ricky Lake, “You won’t believe it! It’s a miracle. We are going back to being Jews, and I still retain my job.”
His wife looked at him with eyes that spat fire, and said,” Are you mad?”
Samuel was shocked. “But I thought that this is what you wanted!” He cut in. “All this while you have been crying and complaining. Don’t you wish to go back to becoming a Jew””
His wife looked at him with ever more fury, “Of course I want to. Of course I want to,” she said. “But now? Only a week before Passover?”