Friday, July 10, 2009

Erev Shabbos #19- Sponja Time

Nativeborn Israelis, from what I've observed, have an obsessive habit of doing sponja every night, rain, shine, whether or not mud and dirt actually exists on their usually spotless floor.

Olim and other immigrants to Israel have not uniformly accepted that minhag (custom) as a group, but some of them can be just as intolerant of dirt as the true sabras.

I belong to the other group, one that waits until an Erev Shabbos for the whole house to get a good cleaning. My sponja stick, pail, and cloth wait patiently, while during the week my floor accumulates dust, and finally, on Erev Shabbos, a sponja is performed.

Everyone has their own method of doing sponja.

Some pour water all over the floor, and then using the stick, 'sweep' it all up into the conviently located sponja hole in the bathroom. Some use a cloth, and by dipping it into the bucket to get it clean each time, it's almost like a mop. Some tie the cloth onto the stick and swish that around the floor, hoping to get the streaks gone at a later time.

And then there is the debate about what cleanser to actually use. Economica, Polywax, there are endless choices of each. Some prefer the kind that makes the floor too slippery to even walk on, while others prefer the ones that make the floor so shiny that you can see yourself in it.

As to who actually does the cleaning? Sometimes the mother of the house, sometimes the children, but more often than not, this back bending chore usually ends up in the father's hands. He even has a precedent- the Steipler Gaon used to do the sponja in his house.

Anyway you do it, this chore is part of Erev Shabbos.

When I finish setting my table, and finally get the chance to look at my sparkling floor, I feel truly like the Shaboos Queen has entered my home.

Gut Shabbos everyone!


corner point said...

I LOVE sponja!!

In seminary, I used to swap my toranut job with anyone who had sponja for the week. They were thrilled to take out the garbage instead, and I was thrilled to put on my flip flops and blast the music and have a hilarious time.

Thanks for bringing up the great memories!

CJ Srullowitz said...

It's crazy that, lulei demistafina, as a yeshiva bachur, while being supported by my parents, I took a job doing sponja at an apartment building in Jerusalem. I'm fairly sure my family was wealthier than everyone of those in the building. Nevertheless they chose to pay someone to do the sponja - and that someone was me. I think I had a strong work ethic and didn't want to take money from my folks. I was seventeen, you know!

nmf #7 said...

CP- You do?! That's awesome! Wish I enjoyed that chore. I'm happy to switch with anyone washing dishes, my personal favorite.

CJ- They do that in almost every building in Jerusalem- we pay Vad HaBayit just for that in my building, so they might as well hire someone. They could do it themselves and pocket the money, but truthfully, doing sponja in an apartment is hard work- even with a good work ethic.

corner point said...

Oh, don't get me wrong! I love washing dishes, too. Special time to think...wash away stuff you don't want or need anymore...make order out of chaos...

Same reason I love doing laundry. And making order out of a messy room. You end up with wonderful products--a clean floor, neatly stacked dishes, delicious-smelling clothes, a neat living space. Y'know what I mean? It's different than cooking or working on a project. Those kinds of things produce wonderful results....but there's nothing like the act of cleaning....


Jameel @ The Muqata said...

I'm the primary sponga sponger in the house. Well, let me correct that -- the kids usually do sponga on Erev Shabbat...but I'm the one who does it motzei shabbat...usually after an exhausting 2 hours of hockey.

(Usually with guys from the Mir who visit our neighborhood for Shabbat).

Our elderly next door neighbors used to always chastise us for suing a whole bucket of water for sponga, saying that you should ONLY use a damp rag.

My wife would never hear of such a thing. (She grew up here, while our neighbors grew up in the US).

nmf #7 said...

CP- Wow. You know, I like the after effect, but I would gladly skip the work involved. But, sigh, no pain, no gain.

Jameel- See? I knew it was a guy's job. And you're one of those water pouring people who drench their downstairs neighbors. :-)

Although, I know plenty of native born Israelis who use the damp rag method. Each to his/her own.

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

Sounds great. I said it once before, but I love reading your Erev Shabbos posts. Gives me a good spiritual feeling.

nmf #7 said...

Jewish Side- Thanks! Glad to help with the spiritual side of things. It also helps me to write these posts- puts things into a good perspective to enter into Shabbos with.

A Jew in the Rain said...

Great story about sponja: