Must Read: The Value of Doing Without, by the Frugal Ima

The Internet is a funny place.

When I decided, back in July, to start this blog, I Googled for other kosher frugal blogs. I didn’t want to be redundant, you know.

That’s when I first found Frugal Ima. She writes beautifully and I thought, “Gosh, I wish I could be friends with this gal.”

So, I kept reading – until I got to a post about how she was MOVING TO KANSAS CITY. Oh my gosh, I actually could be friends with this gal.

And so I stalked her until I finally met her in the sukkah of a mutual friend, and I was all, “Ohmygosh, I read your blog.” And she was all, “Ohmygosh, you’re Kosher on a Budget. I read your blog, too!”

And so a real-life friendship bloomed.

Sadly, it only lasted for 5 months, since they moved back to Ohio. Very happy for them, but a little bit sad for me, since LeighAnn is really good people.

On paper, we may not have so much in common – I’m a dorky kosher blogger, she’s a deep thinking Reconstructionist rabbi. But you know, the Internet is a great bonder. And even though LeighAnn is 12 hours away in Ohio, we still have that bond.

It was Facebook, in fact, that drew my attention to her beautiful and meaningful essay: Frugal Lesson of Passover: The Value of Doing Without.

We hold matzah aloft, sing about it, and experience its crunchy bland dryness between our teeth because tasting its sparseness, its simplicity, is to experience in some minuscule way what our ancestors did. This is the very definition of “doing without.” If, during Passover, I go for eight days without my favorite condiment or soft drink, I’m fulfilling part of the intention of this whole rule against chametz – To experience. To identify. To remember. To pass along the story to the next generation by way of a dry cracker, with nothing to dress it up or make it more palatable.

Go and read the rest of it. LeighAnn just reframed for me a lot of my current Pesach compulsions. She might do the same for you.


  1. I love leighann too. Someday I plan to meet her in person….

  2. I’m of two minds on this. I strongly agree with not trying to imitate regular food during Pesach. There is plenty of food that is naturally KLP; we are not experiencing a matzah shortage; and the KLP imitations of chametzdik foods aren’t very good anyway.

    But I am wary of anything that sounds like abstinence for the sake of abstinence – Pesach is not Lent. It is fine with me to impute meanings to avoiding chametz that go beyond merely avoiding chametz, but to my mind Pesach is a feast, not a famine.

    That’s the challenge: to take pleasure in food within the limits of Pesach. Since I like to cook but don’t always take time, I make a point of cooking entirely from scratch for the entire chag – I don’t buy any mixes or prepared foods, although I will buy KLP bakery items if any are available here in the midbar.

    Not using mixes and prepared foods, along with not eating bread, had an unexpected effect two years ago: by the last day, I was seriously hypotensive. I have hypertension and usually don’t use salt in cooking, so prepared foods, most of which contain a lot of salt, and bread are the main sources of sodium in my diet. Bread usually contains 100 mg of sodium per slice, sometimes more, but Passover matzah contains none. On the last two days, every time I stood up in shul I nearly collapsed.

  3. Leigh Ann says

    Mara, you seriously flatter me! One of the best things about Kansas City was meeting you and your sweet family.
    Phyllis – Awww! Love you too! Lady date? When? 🙂
    Paul – Thanks for your feedback. I wasn’t exactly saying abstinence for abstinence’s sake, rather, abstinence as a remembrance of what our ancestors did.

    Mara, you are incredible! Thanks for the link. <3

  4. wifeofmottel says

    you might also be interested in another frum frugal blog – penniless parenting (if you don’t already follow)

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