Off the Pulpit: Invisible Work


While traveling in Southeast Asia I learned that certain cultures refer to housework as “invisible work” because if it is done you cannot see it. Only if it is undone do you realize it is needed.

Entropy operates in our daily lives. Left alone, my house will get dirty. As we all know, it never seems to get spontaneously clean. The job of maintaining our environment takes a lot of work. At no time do we realize this more vividly than at Passover.

Passover is the decathlon of cleaning. It is hard to believe all the crevices and nooks that crumbs have crept into over the year. It is like a mass migration of chometz, carried out stealthily, to places no normal dustmop can reach.

Passover cleaning should also increase our appreciation for those who do our ‘invisible work.’ People who clean our homes and streets, who maintain our buildings, who must constantly toil so that our world remains manageable. As Passover approaches, thank the sanitation worker, the gardener, and the housekeeper. Without their help, the lack of work would be visible indeed.

(Rabbi David Wolpe is the senior rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.)

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