Are we ready for Pesach? Our Festivals of Freedom and Spring are fast approaching. Some of us are feeling the need to do some prep. One age old tradition is in the form of a spring cleaning, especially to rid our homes of Chametzdike products. We can also put our leavened products in a box and during the holiday, store in the basement or a closet. Many “sell” their Chametz to a non-Jewish person who is happy to help in this Mitzvah.
So, what’s the deal with Chametz? Besides reminding us how the Israelites left Egypt without time to leaven their bread, it also represents the “swelling of the ego that enslaves the soul.” We are, more personally, being called to cleanse ourselves before we realize and celebrate our freedom.
These coming days support the meaning and purpose of VaYikra, the Book of Leviticus which we begin reading this week. The Book of Leviticus, in its essence, is about creating Conscious Community. It begins by calling our attention to how we deal with guilt, wrongful deeds and how we express gratitude and appreciation for Life. In ancient times we did this through the ritual of animal sacrifice. Leviticus then proceeds to cover guidelines for diet, health, social behavior, how we relate to the earth and more.
What are our altars for sacrificial acts today? The Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hassidism offers: “Our heart is like the altar. In whatever you do let a spark of the holy fire burn within you, so you may fan it into a flame.” (Meta-Parshiot) Bivracha,