The week before Passover we frantically clean our homes and remove all grain products that contain the slightest trace of chametz (leavening). During the eight days of the holiday, we’ll eat only unleavened bread, i.e. matzah.
The night before Passover we’ll do the final search by candlelight. This is a beautiful, mystical opportunity. Leavening represents our puffed-up ego. When we search each room for stray crumbs, we’re also searching for the spiritual residue of regrettable moments.
Whenever we arrogantly snap at a loved one, or turn away when we might have forgiven, or denied responsibility when should’ve sought forgiveness, we leave behind negative residue. Just as we banish edible puffiness from our homes during Passover, let us also banish puffiness of attitude and behavior. Moses, the greatest prophet in Jewish history, is known as the most humble man who ever lived. If the man who received the Torah from God himself on Mt. Sinai can conquer his ego, so can we humble ourselves and devote ourselves to service of God and each other. Have a zissen (sweet) Pesach!
Image: Streit’s matzoh factory on the Lower East Side, c. 1940