Pesach Seventh Day
Exodus 13:17 - 15:26

Pesach Eighth Day
Deuteronomy 15:19 - 16:17

Introducing Chometz Back Into Our Lives ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the Holy Days is dedicated in the loving memory of Mrs. Ethel Channah Sakash Belk may she rest in peace.

Get Real... everyone is not on the spiritual level of a Rabbi Akiva or a Moshe Rabbeinu even though that should be our goal. Pesach will soon end! Chometz becomes a part of our lives again. How we introduce ourselves to chometz again is an issue.

The Story Of Uncle Charlie And Pesach Struggles
Pesach is somewhat like mishpacha {family} that visits for two weeks, Uncle Charlie {Chaim}. Everyone knows that Uncle Charlie has bad feelings about several incidents which occurred in the community years ago. It was why he and Aunt Sally {Sarah} moved away. Even though Uncle Charlie tries real hard to tuck his real feelings in when he and Aunt Sally visit, it is not always possible to hold back mountains of resentment especially when members of the community push the right buttons.

There is no question. What happened to him was wrong. No one in the community would stand up to the powerful rabbi that mistreated Uncle Charlie, Aunt Sally and some other people. Many in the community knew about this problem. They knew the rabbi was wrong! He has a history of abusing people. Yet it's a small community! Standing up to such a powerful person is difficult. People could lose their employment. Jews are afraid of him. So most everyone just looks the other way, endures or moves out.

It is very painful for Uncle Charlie when community members act so innocent, so righteous, so clean. They ask, why did you leave? if they didn't know... It is difficult for Uncle Charlie to hold back the anger when self-righteous or ignorant members of the community judge him for moving to an area that has a few assimilated Jews! He would rather pray by himself than live in a community that permits what happened to him!

Few people understand what he went through. Few acted as if they cared. It embittered Uncle Charlie. As a result of what happened he strongly resents "SHOWTIME JEWS," especially rabbium. Now, years later, he still revisits the pain and occasionally sets a few pushy Jews straight when he visits.

Well, Pesach is somewhat like Uncle Charlie. We do extra housecleaning and preparation in advance of his arrival. At Pesach we clean our house from top to bottom, getting the Chometz out.

When Uncle Charlie and Aunt Sally arrive, everyone is on their best behavior. When Pesach arrives we are on our best behavior. We have elevated ourselves, G-d willing, to higher levels of Yiddishkeit.

After a few days, after the new has worn off, our real feelings begin to show. Uncle Charlie can't take it any more. He blows!

After eight plus days of matzah, matzah balls... matzah stuffing... matzah cake... matzah brie... matzah meal... matzah... matzah... we are sick of matzah. So like Uncle Charlie, so to speak, we have worn thin. Our real feelings are starting to show again. We want those "Hot Steamy Loaves of Challah." We want lox and BAGELS! We want toast and jam, apple pie and cheese pizza! We want chometz. We Want Chometz! WE WAnt CHometz! WE WANt CHOmetz! WE WANT CHOMetz! WE WANT CHOMEtz! WE WANT CHOMETz! WE WANT CHOMETZ!

G-d help us!

Dear reader, holy reader, are we going to just throw ourselves out into the chometz gutter? Are we going to return to everything we gave up? Are we headed for a chometz binge? This sounds like what B'nei Yisroel went through after the deliverance from Mitzriam, after the destruction of the great Mitzriam Army at the Sea of Reeds, after Hashem said, "If you vigilantly obey the voice of Hashem, your G-d, and do what is upright in His eyes, and give ear to His commandments, and preserve all His statutes; {then}, every sickness that I brought upon Mitzriam; I will not bring upon you, for I am Hashem, Who heals you." Exodus 15:26

Actually, holy reader, as Pesach departs we should exercise a great deal of caution not to let our desires for chometz get out of control. The key is to Remember, "{If we} vigilantly obey.."

Pesach is an exercise of separation and REENTRY. So much emphasis is placed upon the separation and so little on the reentry. Pesach is an elevating experience. Yet, living on such a high plane for more than eight days approaches the impossible for many of us. So, what are we to do? Well, dear reader, we try to retain as much of the holiness from Pesach as we can throughout this coming year. We guard against sinking back into habits that hinder our spiritual growth. We take steps NOT to let all the chometz back into our lives. We understand that we cannot live on the level of Pesach everyday, yet we also understand that we can live on a level higher than before entering Pesach.

Returning to the story of Uncle Charlie...
Each visit with Uncle Charlie and Aunt Sally is better. There is a level of improvement. The desire to overcome resentment is greater. The effort to reduce mountains to hills and to reduce hills to plains is there. It is happening.

In the same way, Pesach is our challenge to elevate our level of spirituality and to reduce our level of chometz.

Wishing you the very best as we reenter the world of chometz,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk


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