I used to think that people made their kitchens kosher for Passover way too early. What's the rush? I pondered. And why the competition? I asked myself. Does it really matter to anyone who's done first? (Short answer: No!)

One could even argue the disadvantage of being stuck with a now complaining family deprived earlier than necessary of pasta, toast, cereal...

And while there can be a compulsive quality to it, this year a number of personal events (life constantly throws unexpected twists and turns our way!) conspired to make me more empathic to the "It's never too early to begin" philosophy.

So I began to prepare with a fury the day after Purim. And, despite my reluctance and hesitancy (I haven't turned over the kitchen yet so my children haven't started fussing about malnourishment or the dearth of cereal choices!) I learned something new.

I've always recognized that it is through the physical preparation for the holiday that the most valuable lessons are understood and internalized. If the actual leaven is a metaphor for the ego and the task of ridding our homes of chametz is meant to rid our souls of our ego's destructive influence, then more is certainly better.

Surely a month spent in serious preparation is nowhere near enough time to completely eliminate the pernicious effects of ego but it must be better than 3 weeks, 2 weeks, 1 week, a few days...

While I've never been a frantic last-minute person (not to my credit or demerit, just a reflection of my personality type) I've also tried to avoid being over-zealous. I usually espouse the philosophy of "everything in moderation" (that is until I tasted the babka my daughter bought me last night!) but I think it may not apply to Passover. It's the holiday where being extra strict is applauded and considered praiseworthy. If ever there were a time for zeal and over-preparation, Passover is it.

So this year, I'm not only embracing the circumstances that required the advance planning and action but also the accompanying opportunities.

I'm celebrating a little compulsiveness, a little over the top, and I'm praying that through this experience I will finally diminish the role of ego in my life and enjoy an unparalleled freedom.

Visit Aish.com’s Passover site and get ready for the holiday. http://www.aish.com/h/pes/