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Location: Kentucky, United States

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Chametz? Lets!



I am off work the rest of the week starting this afternoon. Starting tomorrow evening, we can not eat anything that is leavened, so tonight is Pizza night. Before we begin the eight days of unleavened bread, we eat up all the “Chametz” in the house. Yesterday we finished the hot dog buns and bread, followed by blueberry muffins. It is not a good time to be on a diet. Zachary has a full bag of breaded chicken nuggets to eat today, plus all that pizza I will bring home after work. All leavening must be out of the house tonight. After dark, we should go through the house with a candle and check for any left over Chametz, but the boys think they are to big for a “yeast hunt”. We do discuss the meaning behind the search; how we should examine ourselves for even the smallest speck of leaven in our lives. What I have learned from doing the Chametz house cleaning though is that you can never find it all. At first, it is easy; you grab the leftover loaf of bread, empty out the cookie jar, and throw out the crackers. Then you look under the boy’s beds to find any sandwiches that may have “escaped”. Half eaten PBJ’s chained together, running incognito, disguised as little green bushes. “You’ll nevah get me coppa. Top of da wuld Ma! Top of the wuld!”

Then it begins to get harder. The big things were easy or smelly anyway. Now you start looking for crumbs in the bottom of the stove, at the back of the pantry, or worked down under the cushions of the couch. It becomes harder to get at, but your always surprised and shocked at how much you do find. You start coming up with new places to look: the hamper, the medicine cabinet or between the washer and dryer. You no longer find anything big, but you wonder “How did those crumbs get there?”

That is why in a Jewish home after the final search and a token amount is burnt to destroy it, a blessing is said that disowns any Chametz that may be left in the house, whether forgotten or unknown.

That is why as a Christian I realize that as hard as I may try, and try I must, I can never remove all the hypocrisy from my life. This teaches me two things; first, like our spiritual forefathers I need the blood of the Passover Lamb on the doorposts of my life so the Judgment of God will “Pass Over” me. Second: although seeing these same faults in others prompts me to teach and encourage, it leaves me no room to condemn. I can only condemn myself.

So after days of cleaning and purifying yet not reaching the mark, we sit down to a meal and teaching that tells us of our need for the Hand of God to redeem us from our slavery to Pharaoh. It is accomplished by the sacrifice of another in our place, an unblemished one, meek and gentle. We eat bitter herbs to remind us of our life in bondage before; in slavery to ourselves. Then we look to the future, when “next year” we will share this meal in the city of “God’s peace”.

So tonight, miserably stuffed with all the pizza we can get down, groaning and queasy from so much grease and bread, we will try to ignore the comparison between our complacent lives and our bloated bellies, while looking forward to the clean “Bread of Affliction” the following evening.

To all who keep it and to those who do not

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