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Rent-a-Bochur

Zivia Reischer

“No, seriously!” My mind lit up with a thousand ideas. “Rent-a-Bochur. That’s what we’ll call ourselves. I’ll make us T-shirts. We’ll make millions!”

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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GET RICH QUICK “Are you kidding?” I waved some papers in Manny’s face. “We’re going to be rich, man. We’re going to hire other guys to do the actual cleaning, and we can market an original line of Pesach prep products— spray bottles of Davar HaPosel, and Suspender Sacks—”

F irst day of bein hazmanim, my mother was already anxious about my room. “I’m cleaning,” I said. I pointed to the garbage bags piled against the wall.

Her eyes traveled around the room, from the dumped-out drawers to the piles of Stuff. “Doesn’t look very clean to me,” she said in her watch-me-model-staying-calm voice.

Mothers take cleaning so seriously. Seriously.

“Cleaning makes a mess. Like, it gets worse before it gets better. That type of thing.”

“Dovi,” she said warningly.

“The halachah is—”

“The halachah is that you have to listen to your mother!”

As soon as I could, I escaped to Manny’s house. He was doing the same thing as me. His mother was doing the same thing as my mother.

“Oh, hi, Dovi,” she said, in her own stay-calm voice. “I don’t know if Manny’s available right now.” She looked pointedly at Manny.

Manny looked surprised. “I’m not?”

“Manny, Pesach is in two weeks.”

“Exactly!”

Manny’s mother closed her eyes briefly. “What’s all that Stuff?”

“What Stuff?” Manny followed his mother’s gaze. “Oh, that. Well, it’s not chometz. That’s the main thing. Right?”

When she left the room, Manny shook his head. “What is it with these mothers?”

“It’s the stress,” I explained authoritatively. I had thought about this a lot on the way over. “Their brains release cortisol and it puts them into fight-or-flight mode.”

“Flight sounds good to me. Like a flight to Disneyland.”

“Maybe for Chol Hamoed,” I said. “Hey, Manny!”

Manny looked wary. “What?”

“We should open a Pesach-cleaning service. To help all these overworked, stressed-out mothers!”

“It would be so hard for my husband to go through a whole meal without learning, so I bought him a Pesach Shas…”

“A Pesach Shas?!”

Manny looked at me like I was crazy. “You mean in addition to our own overworked, stressed-out mothers?”

“No, seriously!” My mind lit up with a thousand ideas. “Rent-a-Bochur. That’s what we’ll call ourselves. I’ll make us T-shirts. We’ll make millions!”

“By testimony of our own mothers, neither of us knows how to clean.”

He had a point. “So it can be a reconnaissance mission. Market research. We can do information gathering. Operation How to Clean for Pesach. It’s gonna be great. Believe me.”

Manny groaned. “Do me a favor, Dovi. You want to clean, you can start right here.”

I picked up Manny at 9 a.m. “What’s that in your pocket?”

“A notepad.”

“For what?”

“To take notes. What else?”

I decided not to press the matter.

When we got to the Feinzeigs’, Manny made me ring the bell. “This was your idea,” he said.

“It’s not like they’re going to know who pressed the bell.”

“Exactly, so you do it.”

I rang the bell. There was a box of latex gloves on the ledge near the door. I stared at it. It was just a box someone had left here by mistake, I assured myself. It couldn’t be… (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 536)

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