How would you answer if someone asked you: “Why the obsession with finding every last crumb of chametz?”
Certainly, non-religious Jews are puzzled, but even those from traditional homes often wonder why the age-old custom to scrub endlessly with harsh chemicals and turn the house upside down. Why the literal “witch hunt” and obsessive search to ensure that not one shred of chametzremain?! Does God really care about a mere crumb?! And if it does matter that much, why can we eat bread a moment before and a moment after Passover?
On this Shabbat HaGadol when we historically review the laws of Passover, we shall look at a key law behind the laws – the very meaning of chametz and its antithesis matzah.
The first man, Adam, is described as “a bread formed from a dough” in the words of the Midrash. And we are all descendants of Adam. As such, we are all considered a product of dough. The question is how – through the exercise of eradicating all chametz on Passover – we can we make sure, as individuals, that our “dough” will not rise and become bloated?
The answer teaches us a tremendous lesson in the nature of the self and the ego, by addressing the big question: Is the self-contained ego the root of all evil? Do we have to annihilate it or can we channel it?