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Dodging the Chometz !!

April 20, 2014


“Nothing is ever wrong. We learn from every step we take. Whatever you did today was the way it was meant to be. Be proud of you” – Tweet from @Fit_Motivator

Riding along beach road last Friday as is the practice one of my fellow cyclists pointed out objects in the road. I swerved the objects noticing that all that was on the road were some bread rolls that somebody had dropped. Empty, soft bread rolls that would have not caused any damage if I had ridden over them. This got me thinking and I thought I would try doing a blog on this bread (Chometz[1]) that I had to dodge.

On the night before Pesach, there is a custom to Search for Chometz in your houses. The search is not only for physical Chometz, but to search for a “spiritual Chometz”. On this spiritual level the Chometz represents our bad deeds, habits and weaknesses (Flaws) that we want to rid ourselves of. Maybe it is lifestyle changes? The next morning we “Burn the Chometz”. The Fire represents getting rid of our bad deeds, habits and weaknesses. This is the time we can say I am going to change – Maybe improve diet, more exercise or healthier food.

At the Pesach Sedar we are commanded to feel as if we have personally left Egypt, and achieved freedom. An approach taken by the kabbalists is that Pesach is a time to come out of personal slavery. This slavery manifests itself in us not being able to change our bad characteristics and habits. This may be that we are lazy, and are going to change.


The final days of Pesach represent an opportunity to “Spice Up your lives”[2]. I have based this on an article I read. This article lists a 13 step guide to appreciating the last days of Pesach. The list includes:

Step 3 – Come to love activeness and hate idleness;

Step 8 – Be pure in thought and action – really focus on thinking healthy positive thoughts. Take time off to really focus on your mental health, friends and family;

Step 13 – Look after your health – remember, Pesach does not do wonders for your digestive system, but more than that go for a long walk, or even try eating less cake than normal.

The article ends with a quote – “There is no time like the present to take good care of yourself.”

From the second night of Pesach until the festival of Shavout, we are commanded to count the Omer[3]. We also learn that this period is meant to spiritually prepare and refine ourselves. It was during that 49-day period that the Jewish people who left Egypt underwent such a radical transformation. From the lowest lows to the highest heights in just seven weeks!

The commandments of the Torah are not meant merely as our history, but instead represent on ongoing life lesson for everyone. We view the Torah as freshly received every day of our lives, and approach it and its commandments with appropriate vigor. “The growth that occurs during this time is akin to a marathon[4]”. We pace ourselves and seek to improve day by day until we reach the day that we again receive the Torah. In this process, we look deep within ourselves and work on all of our negative attributes, habits etc.

Chometz, being puffy and risen, is often used as a metaphor for arrogance, or for ones flaws in general. Pesach is the time that we are clean of Chometz and can clean our flaws. Pesach is also a time when it is easier to reach a high level of spirituality as we have tried to feel free of these flaws. A time we are determined and motivated to make changes. This is followed by forty nine days when we try further to refine our characteristics and the flaws we may have found on Pesach and to start this process of change.

If we make an effort to Dodge the Chometz and try to live a healthy lifestyle. We will feel the difference. To quote Rabbi Jonathan Sacks – “According to the Effort is the Reward”.

“I cannot change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination”. – JD –



[1] are leavened foods that are forbidden on the Jewish holiday of Passover

[2] Nased on Article in Mishlenu – Nissan 5774 by Jesse Sahpiro

[3]Counting of the Omer (Hebrew: ספירת העומר, Sefirat HaOmer, sometimes abbreviated as Sefira or the Omer) is a verbal counting of each of the forty-nine days between the Jewish holidays of Passover and Shavuot as stated in the Hebrew Bible: Leviticus 23:15-16.



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