The Matzav Shmooze: Why I Go to a Hotel for Pesach

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pesachDear readers,

I have been finding the Jewish holidays more painful each year. I am a female, 59-year-old, attractive single, with no children and a small non-religious family (two sisters and a mother), all of whom live out of town. Despite the many invitations I receive in my community, I don’t have a family. Work is becoming more and more stressful and, frankly, I don’t have the mental energy to do all the preparations necessary. Changing over my kitchen has become more difficult…and for what?

I just am depressed and in tears with every holiday. The organized programs offer me a chance not to be dependent on others. I haven’t booked yet, because yes they are expensive and for single people outrageously more. There are no good options for Chol Hamoed if you are alone. And the programs are also family oriented and for someone without a family it is painful.

I have been Torah observant since my late 20’s and never thought I would consider becoming non-observant, but it frequently crosses my mind.

Sally E.


The Matzav Shmoooze is a regular feature on that allows all readers to share a thought or analysis, long or short, one sentence or several paragraphs long, on any topic, for readers to mull over and comment on. Email submissions to [email protected].

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  1. and if you become non observant? how will that help? seek out a family in financially difficult straights, seek to become like an aunt to their kids, you will then
    1) be able to halp others who need it
    2) be able to give children joy which will give you joy
    #)see how you will have family.
    hatzlacha and may you find your lifes partner soon!

  2. May this Pesach be your last to suffer alone & you and everyone should find our mates and live where all Jews belong. Eretz Yisroel.

  3. May Hashem bring you a complete yeshua very soon.
    Sally, these are such sad times. Your situation may be yours alone; however, the emotions you express are not. We are living in a time of Hester Ponim, and people within many different types of situations are lonely (lack of shlom bayis), heartbroken (children, but no nachas), and discouraged (jobless, illness, etc.)
    There is only one chizuk, and that is that Hashem is running the world, and therefore we are not alone. There is a master plan, and we will only understand it when Hashem reveals Himself to the world Bekorov. You are not a random, wandering soul but a precious child to Hakodosh Boruch Hu Who takes your tefillos, tears, and hardships very seriously.
    May we be zocheh to the geulah shlaima, in this time of geula, very soon.

    Hatzlocha vebrocha

  4. Dear Sally E.
    I can certainly understand your frustrations at what you may feel that life has let you down.
    Your last phrase puzzles me slightly.
    I do not come to judge you at all but allow me to analyze. We know that we have one God and he gave us an amazing opportunity, called “to live the life of a Torah Jew” based on studying the Torah and living by its teachings. By saying that you feel frustrated at your loneliness by stating that becoming irreligious frequently crosses your mind, makes me think that their are some primary misconceptions.
    If we are guided by the Torah and live a life of closeness to God, and we believe that is the ultimate, how would it makes sense to leave this simply because you are unmarried (please do not say that I do not care about your plight) It would be like saying, “My cell phone bill is too high so I am going to trash my friend’s apartment”. What does one have to do with the other?
    Many ask, why was the Torah given on Mount Sinai, why not in Israel after the Jews conquered and settled there? Wouldn’t that be the more ideal condition?
    The answer is given, that we are too focused on ‘our condition’ and not on the reality and goal. The Torah and it teachings are not based on, a comfortable recliner, tall glass of ice tea, air condition set to 67, quiet classical music playing in the backround, “Now I’m going to open a Sefer”! How many times do we say that we cannot learn because we have not yet had our coffee! Have you ever heard of someone who missed a flight because he didn’t have his coffee? Or do that many people not go into work on a Ta’anis?! Its all about staying focused on what is right and putting all our ‘issues’ (and everyone thinks their’s is ‘THE’ issue) behind us and go serve our God. That is what the Exodus from Egypt teaches us. Get rid of the shackles, all the nonsense holding us back. Leave it all behind and go out of ‘your personal Mitzrayim’ on the way to ‘your very own Mount Sinai’.

    May Hashem wish you much happiness and health in the future.
    Have a wonderful Pesach.

  5. Good luck & try to relax a little over Yom Tov. Going off the Derech won’t help the situation! Do you think if you become non observant, you will suddenly find happiness? I hope you find your Bashert very soon! Good luck.

  6. I can empathize completely. You can be assured that you are not alone in your feelings. For seven years (since my divorce) I have been alone for Pesach by choice. I too have had invitations from other kindhearted people, but it is just too painful for me to sit at another family’s seder, having no available family of me own. Finally, this year, I became completely paralyzed and could not handle the necessary and laborious job of cleaning for Pesach. So I bit the bullet and called around for a hotel which had last minute accommodations available at a reasonable price for a single (I’m going to a hotel in Lakewood which is charging me only $200 extra as a single). So, even on this erev Pesach, Sally, you should go for it, too.

  7. Dear Sally,

    I hear the anguish in your words and would like to lighten the burden somewhat. Please forgive me if my words are inadequate – they truly come from the heart.

    One of the most central principles of Judaism is that everything has a purpose. One’s person task in life will be different from another person’s task. B”H I have everything one could ask for. However my wife and I also went through some difficult times. We had several children who were sick and died at a very young age. Obviously part of our job in this world was to care for these holy souls who had to be here for only a short time to achieve whatever they needed to achieve. Others may have the task of caring long=term for disabled and sick children – a very difficult job.
    I cannot tell you what your job in this world is but obviously Hashem gave you all that you need for your spiritual fulfilment. That means that even if your life seems empty in your eyes or compared to others, this is definitely a misconception. Your job in this world is also a difficult one – like other difficult jobs that Hashem has to give out. But don’t forget, HE who gave you the job is the ONE who created you and thus the job is taylored to exactly what you need to achieve
    Things that we can change, we strive to change. But those things that are clearly given to us without any way that we can modify them, are simply part of OUR lives that we accept as coming from our Creator who not only created us but loves us and cares for us every second of our lives.
    Hoping that my words will bring you a little comfort and wishing you together with all of Klall Yisroel a wonderfull Yom Tov.

  8. STOP these discussions already.

    Whomever chooses to go away for Pesach whether it is to parents, relatives, friends or to a Pesach get-a-way or hotel program, GO & ENJOY with happiness, satifaction and spiritual gain.

    AND those who want to experience Pesach like their bubby and zeide with only fruits, vegetables, eggs and potatoes and nothing store bought. Enjoy with GEZUNT.
    and if Matzoh Pizza, Matzoh Muffins and store bought food with proper hashgachos are for you. Enjoy with GEZUNT.
    Why do we continue to JUDGE and PREDETERMINE the spiritual caliber of those around us? Put on a smile and wish each other Gut YOM TOV and Chag Sameach.

  9. Sally,
    Your adherence to Torah and Mitzvos is the single most important accomplishment in your (current) life.
    Anything else you are doing in your life is meaningless and transitory. Indeed, you are achieving greatness through your mitzvos. Those mitzvos are your ticket to Olam Haba, Olam Haemes. It is gaining you a great status for eternity. Therefore, strengthen yourself in the mitzvos and be a walking Kiddush Hashem. Do chessed whenever you can. Hashem will reward you Midda Keneged Midda. You can achieve truly achieve greatness. May you be blessed.

  10. It is heartbreaking that you are not enjoying the holiday. I am very sorry to read about this. I wish it is the last bittersweet Pesach.

    I have a question. What does it mean that you think of “becoming non-observant”? That you don’t feel like cleaning obsessively? There are plenty of people like that – or who don’t have enough time, strength, or health, or who simply can not (there’s people travelling everywhere, and I am sorry to mention, there is even people imprisoned) – and they are not “non observant”. They sell and nullify their chometz and chometzdig dirt, and make different arrangements.

    You say you are Torah observant but you never mention your rabbi. What does he say? Have you ever told him that it’s a burden for you to clean? He will no doubt find for you an opening, but how can he guess if you don’t tell him? Our rabbis are overwhelmed with things to do, I imagine you hoped he’d realize and reach out to you with just the right words, but please, talk to him and tell him. Talk to a rabbi you trust and he will help.

    You also say you live in a Torah community (as opposed to, say, some remote location where you’d be forced to eat fruit): is there no deli that offers take-away? Why not ask your Rabbi how to properly eat in a nonkosher for Pesach kitchen? And then relying on what he says? You might even take a couple of days and visit your mother and sisters. I am sure they’ll do their best to arrange for you and accommodate you as much as possible. There are also ways to cook a few things in a new pot (and lots of aluminum foil) in a non-pesachdig kitchen, talk to your rabbi and he’ll give all the instructions you need, according to your minhag.

    Finally, look up “fruitarian” on the internet, they really exist, especially in california. Human beings survive if we eat for a few days raw peelable fruit and walnuts, especially in between heavy shabbos / yom tov meals with plenty of fats and calories. It might even be healthy, for a change. Been there, done that.

  11. As another single suffering through another painful yom tov without a husband and children, I understand your pain.
    To those of you out there who don’t understand the reason for this post- it is to raise awareness for the pain of singles and Ba’alei Tshuva out there for whom yom tov is a very painful time. It marks the passing of another milestone, another year that has gone past without without that trip down the aisle. Another set of sedarim, not lead by her husband or hosted by her own family, where she is instead a bystander, a guest and a taker instead of a giver. It is very painful, and instead of offering solutions or explaining away why the writers idea for avoiding some of the pain seems wrong in your eyes- try and withold judgement and try and be respectful of her pain ad the amount of effort it takes for her and other singles in her situation to function normally and try and enjoy whatever they can of yom tov, while watching everyone else around them have everything that they don’t- ie. a family to spend time with and to enjoy yom tov with.
    I’m not saying there aren’t lots of other tsaros out there- and I’m not minimizing anyone elses pain of whatever shape it may be, but this post is a tiny little glimpse into the life of a single on an erev pesach…
    As for the writers statement about abandoning yiddishkeit, as a totally frum FFB, I understand that too… I think what you are saying is that ‘out there’ there are fewer reminders of that ‘not belonging’ feeling that singles have in frum society. Obviously you are not seriously saying you want to leave, and obviously you understand why you are frum, but are just stating that it’s hard that you have the choice to have it so much easier- where there are less constant and daily reminders that you don’t belong anywhere because you are single. If you weren’t frum you wouldn’t have to deal with a pesach seder, where you feel like your eyes are being poked out as you have to watch and listen to someone elses 5 year old say mah nishtana…
    So please, don’t comment, except to express support or sympathy, and try and be understanding to the singles in your life… don’t judge them- because you probably don’t have a clue…
    Sorry if this post is a bit raw to all of you out there who have never really had a single open up to you and tell you how hard pesach is… but to a lot of us out there… this is a tiny little piece of how it feels.
    O, and most singles will deny that this is how it feels because they don’t want to come across as pathetic or whatever…


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