… being the approximate length of time from the start of the Pesach food restrictions to the end of the holiday (in the diaspora).
Firstborns are supposed to fast the day before Pesach, but it’s generally accepted that they can go to a siyum (party for finishing studying some Torah) to avoid it. I woke up at 7.00am as intended, got up a little later than I wanted, but “went” to an online siyum. I had trouble logging in and missed the first half, although this is all kind of stringent this year anyway as no one should really be fasting in a health crisis even if they didn’t get to a siyum.
I fell into OCD anxiety while eating breakfast. I mostly got it under control by the time Mum got up, but then she was sick, which set up a whole load more anxiety – worry about her, worry about getting everything ready on time for Pesach. Once I start worrying, I can worry about everything, so I started worrying about me and E., feeling that the history of my life shows that good things rarely happen for me and never last and worrying that something will stop us being together, even though I don’t know what. E. is basically the best thing that ever happened to me, so I’m terrified she’s going to be taken from me somehow.
We did get the house changed over to Pesach mode on time. Having done the negative side of the festival (removing forbidden food), we are now busily doing the positive (cooking and preparing Pesach food). I am struggling intermittently with OCD and anxiety. I am washing my hands far too often, even for COVID-19. I have to keep telling myself that I’m doing my best and that that’s all that God can expect of me, and also that I’m not responsible for what other people choose to do or not do. I tell myself that God is probably more like my rabbi mentor (empathetic, understanding, patient, forgiving) and less like [insert name of any fire and brimstone clergyman].
We’ve got about an hour and a half until Pesach now. My parents have excused me from further food preparation, as I’ve been helping all day, and I only got about five and a half hours sleep last night. I’m going to shower and get into my Yom Tov clothes and probably chill in front of the TV for a bit so that I’m in a reasonable state of mind for the seder service this evening, the centrepiece of Pesach celebrations. It’s tempting to try to continue helping now, or do more Torah study or something, but then I’ll be a mess by this evening, so I’m going to take my time off knowing that I will be doing a lot to help the smooth running of the seder later.
I will be out of contact for three days now, until Saturday evening, as we engage in what Ze’ev Maghen refers to as Judaism’s annual Existential War on Leaven Bread. Chag kasher vesameach to those celebrating. Stay well to everyone else.