What Is The Meaning Of Chametz?
Chametz is one of the five known grains: Wheat, Barley, Rye, Oats, and Spelt, mixed with water and water and allowed to stand for more than 18 minutes which allows the leavening process to commences. Before Pesach, we begin a war to search and remove any Chametz in our home.
Why Is Chametz Forbidden?
The Torah rules that we are forbidden to have Chametz over Passover. We cannot see, own and obviously eat Chametz! (Exodus 12:15-20)
What Must We Do Before Pesach?
1. Bedikat Chametz: Checking For Chametz
We have to check the house for any Chametz related foods. This includes the normal areas such as the kitchen, dining room- including the chairs and under the cushions. The lounge and any other place that you would eat food during the year. This, of course, includes the car. The Torah rules that we must remove the Chametz from our homes before midday of the eve of Pesach.
2. Biur Chametz: Burning Chametz
This has two parts:
a) Annulling of the Chametz. This includes a declaration that any Chametz that remains in my possession will be destroyed by burning it on the morning before Pesach and
b) Declaring that any Chametz in my possession will be as the dust of the earth.
3 Mechirat Chametz-Selling of The Chametz
Since we cannot own any Chametz over Pesach we have an important question that needs to be answered. What to do with the whiskey collection? We fill in a form to sell it to a non- Jew. This legal contract gives full ownership to a non -Jew. After Pesach, we can then buy back the Chametz if he is willing to sell it back to us. Click the button to fill in the sale of chametz form.
Why the war against Chametz? We Eat It All Year Round? Why Not On Pesach?
- Because we left Egypt in such a hurry, the bread did not have time to rise. We re-enact what happened to our ancestors by refraining from regular bread, to highlight the events of the Exodus which only saw complete freedom after the splitting of the Sea. We thus refrain from eating Chametz for the entire festival.
- Chametz is puffed up and symbolizes haughtiness and arrogance. We did not merit the miracles of the Exodus because of our piety, we thus humble ourselves before Hashem who took us out of Egypt by eating matzah.
- Chametz symbolizes laziness. To make Matzah we have to work quickly otherwise the dough begins to ferment and puff up. If we had been lazy the moment would have been lost and we would have remained in Egypt. Our ancestors rushed to leave. We use Pesach to motivate ourselves to escape our personal Egypt. We use the week of Passover to absorb the lesson of the Matzah, that in order to change one needs to be active and quick. Laziness will not save you.
Deeper Meaning To Cleaning
Before Pesach, we not only clean the house of Chametz we are meant to clean our souls too. So for every cupboard that you clean this week we can also clean a part of our soul. To free us from our own entrapments and slavery so that we can enter the festival of Passover with joy and feel the freedom.
When we throw the chametz in the fire, we release the spiritual Chametz into the fire too. This way we can start the festival, physically and spiritually clean and ready to exit our personal Egypt and be free to be ourselves.