בינה בפייסבוק בינה באינסטגרם צרו קשר עם בינה במייל

Passover as an opportunity to eliminate internal chametz | Avraham Eisen

In many homes the process of getting ready for Pesach starts when Purim ends, while putting away the costumes. But whether the cleaning fever hits you early or late, a unique sense of renewal is in the air as everyone waits for winter to end and for spring to arrive. Along with the burning of chametz (leaven), the transition of seasons and the holiday itself provide an opportunity to eliminate our “inner chametz”, as well. On Passover, there are principles that can guide us if we want to make a change in our lives. These principles can launch us on a journey for change and renewal that begins as we prepare for Passover and ends with Shavuot and the beginning of the summer.

Internal chametz burning begins with breaking habits

The Hebrew calendar takes us out of our day-to-day habits and prevents us from slipping into a monotonous routine. In fact, it forces us to get out of our comfort zone, examine our habits, and to examine our inner selves. On Passover, we need to prepare in advance for the holiday, from the preparation of the house to our individual, inner preparations. Breaking habits is not limited to the preparation phase of the holiday, but it culminates on Seder night. A whole night that celebrates change, raises questions in order to shake up the mind and heart. We change the way we sit (by leaning), the order of the dishes we eat, and of course, what we eat as the breads and chametz are replaced by unique holiday dishes such as matzah or egg in salty water.

Inward humility and outward humility

Change cannot exist without the examination of what one wants to improve in oneself. The person who wants to change does not see themselves as perfect. Recognition of the ability to change requires inner and outer humility. Thus, on Passover, we give to the poor in the form of "Kamcha D’Pascha" (a sort of community organized donation of food or money that one donates to before Passover) to recognize that the abundance we might enjoy is not guaranteed to everyone. Those whose life has not improved must also be recognized. We also eat matzah to remind us all that in the distant past we were slaves. The reality of freedom is not to be taken for granted, but is an ongoing process. We are constantly defining and redefining what freedom means to us. When we are humble, we are more open to new thoughts and insights that we may not absorb when we are full of pride.

Elimination of internal chametz requires small changes

Passover is a multi-generational holiday. The Haggadah we read is a thought piece that unites stories of past generations, from biblical stories to sermons and commentaries, added hundreds of years ago. In addition, each and every generation adds songs and melodies that turns the legend into a living book. The pioneers that arrived in Israel at the beginning of the last century wanted to renew their Judaism together with their return to Israel, and so they sought to renew the story of Passover again. Members of Kibbutz Ginegar asked Haim Nachman Bialik to instruct them on how to bring about the desired change in the ancient corpus. And so, Bialik wrote to them in moderation but with his characteristic firmness: "Celebrate the feasts of your ancestors and add to them a little of your own according to your wisdom and according to your taste and according to your party. The main thing is that you do everything in faith and out of a living feeling and mental need, and do not be very clever." Bialik's words are a prophecy for generations, since they reveal within them the way change is to be brought about. If you want to bring about internal change, you do not have to fundamentally destroy the old and the familiar, but rather choose one dimension in which you want to improve and change.

 

This Passover let uswe will break old habits by choosing the personal point of “chametz” that we want to eliminate. Then, may wewe will take small and determined steps to bring about the change we want to bring about in ourselves and the reality around us. This consistent walk in the path of change and renewal will help us to emerge from bondage to freedom and experience the special taste of inner renewal.

Avraham Eisen – former Director of Education at BINA

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