The Personal Avodah of Searching for Chametz

Rabbi Tzadok Cable Festivals, Pesach Leave a Comment

As the holiday of Pesach draws near one of the things many people do is clean their homes and get rid of Chametz (leavened grain products). There is actually a Biblical commandment to do so as well as a prohibition to own or have in our domain any such products during the Festival of Pesach. We will not spend so much time going through the details of this process from the technical level. But we will explore the spiritual meaning of this process.

The Talmud teaches in Tractate Brachos 17a that “It is revealed before you Hashem that our will is to do your will but what prevents us? The leavening agent in the dough and the influence of the nations.” Rashi in his commentary to that teaching explains that the leavening agent in the dough is referring to our yetzer hora (evil inclination) which distorts our pure nature and prevents us from doing the will of Hashem.

This class will focus our attention on the underlying symbolic connection between Chametz and the yetzer hora. We will also explore how the process of locating and removing Chametz from our domain is meant to be a catalyst for a parallel process of personal spiritual cleansing and mitigation of the yetzer hora in us.

We will also understand the significance of the mitzvah to eat Matzah during Pesach. Matzah is the exact opposite of Chametz. It is a dough that has been baked before ever having a chance to leaven and thus symbolically represents a simpler more essential version of “us”.

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