Friday, April 18, 2008

Bedika Chometz

Last night was when we performed bedika chometz. It is a ritual where we hide 10 bundles of bread (well wrapped) and then search the house for any chometz (including the 10 pieces we just found.) The search is done by candle light after dark in preparation for Passover.

Passover is a holiday chock full of symbolism. Bedika chometz fits in with that definition. Each year it seems a bit different and this year it seemed poignant.

You see - chometz - which is leavened bread - is something which is puffed up, it stands for one's ego. 10 bundles corresponds to the 10 levels of the soul. As we search it is dark, and we are searching by candle light. Darkness, well think of any time that you thought was dark, it is place of limited vision.

In preparation for Passover, which celebrates the redemption from slavery - in particular the redemption from Egypt but in general (or perhaps in a personal sense) it is a time for personal redemption from whatever limitations or shackles we are experiencing.

So as I searched I thought of how the soul of (hu)man is the candle of G-d, and so how in the darkness we search out with the light of our soul to find any hidden ego, at any level of our soul, whether it is ego in our expansiveness or ego in our limits on things and so on. Through this searching we prepare to go out from slavery into freedom.

In a simple ritual we are shown that we hold the keys to our own shackles. If we can see beyond our own ego, burn it away (the found bread is burned the next morning) we can leave beyond that which is holding us back.

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