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Tempo Story: One Day We’ll Laugh

Shoshana Itzkowitz

One of my teachers used to say, “If you’ll laugh about it in five years from now, don’t cry over it today.” Apparently, she never made Pesach

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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W ARNING: The following content is not recommended for general audiences. The stories and details set forth herein are all 100-percent true and have not been modified from their original versions or edited for content. Caution strongly urged — some material may be inappropriate for those who suffer from PTPPMCS (Post-Traumatic-Pre-Pesach-Mishap-Contagion Syndrome: DSM-5).

The first time I made Pesach, I was an old married woman (we’d just celebrated our three-year anniversary), living 6,000 miles away from my parents and my no-longer-local-but-still-Orthodox Rabbi. So when the time came to buy a Pesach oven, Hubby and I were on our own.

I went with my sister to a mega-supermarket near the old Central Bus Station, where I picked up a jumbo-sized toaster-oven type of thing. (Yes, at the supermarket — don’t ask questions. This, in a city where the tichel place in Bukharim also stocks eggs, and the stationery store up Yirmiyahu sells authentic fleishig kishke. So I bought my appliances and tableware in the supermarket, az mah?) The toaster oven was big enough to fit a 9x13-inch pan and a loaf pan alongside it. Top that.

Then the problems began. I’d just read in a kuntres that toasters are complicated things. For starters, it said, toasters needed to be toiveled. I’d never heard that before. More than that, they’re often tested with bread, and are therefore chometz.

I made a quick call to my once-local- still-Orthodox Rabbi and asked if I could kasher a chometzdig toaster oven for Pesach. He told me to turn it onto the highest setting for longer than it had ever been used. It had only been used to toast bread, I explained. If it was new, he responded, about 20 minutes would suffice. (Please do not try this at home without consulting your own LOR.)

Hubby went to toivel the toaster oven right away, as we’d have to wait anywhere between 36 and 48 (but preferably 72) hours before the wiring would be dry enough to plug in, and I was anxious to begin cooking.

A day and a half later, after ensuring the insides were totally dry, we plugged in our shiny new appliance. We turned the knobs so the thing was on full blast, and moved on with our chores. Twelve minutes later, a funky smell wafted out of the kitchen. We rushed in to find all three knobs and the handle on the door completely melted. As in, off. My counters had puddles of black plastic, in early stages of congealment.

I was horrified. They’d sold us a defective model! The oven couldn’t even withstand its own heat for 12 minutes! Back into the mammoth box it went, with Hubby hauling it back on the bus to exchange. (Two points for the man who can’t even return a spoiled bottle of milk to the store.)

Problem was, we had to start the process over again. This time, Hubby didn’t even come home first. He knew how nervous I was to begin cooking (I may have been 25, but I was hosting an army), and went directly to the mikveh to dunk Oven #2, coming home complaining that the Yerushalmi bochur behind him at the mikveh was smirking the whole time. As if he’d never seen someone toivel an appliance before.

 (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 585)

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