Passover helps us clear the clutter in our lives


Some 2-6% of Americans are hoarders, and hoarding disorders are on the rise, according to the International OCD Foundation.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, experts say they’ve seen a greater emphasis on hoarding disorder, characterized by resistance to give up any belongings no matter how useless they might be,” Susan Kreimer writes in the article “Compulsive hoarding comes into greater focus since pandemic,” posted at

Kreimer goes on to quote Dr. Michelle DiBlasi, chief of inpatient psychiatry at Tufts Medical Center, who said, “In general, hoarding has become more frequent and severe since the pandemic …. It’s a way to protect [our]selves” from the privations experienced during the COVID years.

How does hoarding relate to Passover?  In addition to the symbolism and meaning of Passover, when we prepare and clean for the holiday, we are taking a preventive measure against clutter, disorder and hoarding.

Although the focus for Passover cleaning is on removing hametz (foods and drinks that are forbidden on the holiday), not spring cleaning, it gives us a great opportunity to take inventory of our possessions and clean out the things we no longer need. It’s a wonderful way to declutter!

And I know how I feel when my space is clear and clean: I feel focused and unencumbered. And probably you do too.

So, as we and/or our helpers clean, organize, scrub, shine and dust for Passover, think about what Elana Mizrahi wrote in her article, “Knowing the Goal: Passover Lessons,” posted at

Mizrahi writes, “This year as I sit against a comfortable pillow at my Passover table, my home sparkling clean, my closets neatly organized and my home in order (at least for twenty-four hours) the smile that I sport on my face is genuine. Reaching this moment was not easy, but the whole time I told myself, ‘Stay focused on the goal.’ ”

The article continues, “You see, with each drawer that I cleaned, I sang, and with this singing, I know that I brought down holiness into the world. And this, my dear friends, is the difference between Passover cleaning and spring cleaning, between cooking and Shabbat cooking. It’s about focusing on the end goal and knowing that with each action that you do you can raise it up and make it holy. Sounds far-fetched and just a theory? Just try saying ‘in honor of Passover’  the next time you mop and let me know what happens.”

For me, Mizrahi’s commentary is real, thoughtful, practical and spiritual, all wrapped into one. It’s a great example of our beliefs driving our attitudes and our actions.

PATRICIA RASKIN, owner of Raskin Resources Productions, is an award-winning radio producer, business owner and leader.  She is on the board of directors of Temple Emanu-El, in Providence. Her “Positive Aging with Patricia Raskin” podcast is broadcast on the Rhode Island PBS website,