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What your Pesach Cleaning Style Can Tell You About You Inner Dimension

Now, we all know, in theory, that chametz (leavened products) equals gaava, or arrogance. As Pesach  (Passover) draws ever closer, we’ll be told that in any number of shiurim (lessons), articles and podcasts, that one of the main spiritual points of Pesach is to help us find and eradicate our chametz, or bad middot (character defects).

But the really cool thing about mitzvahs (the Commandments) that not everyone realizes is that God usually builds this spiritual work right into the fabric of the more physical work we have to do to prepare for our holidays – and nowhere is this more true than when it comes to Pesach.

How do you know what bad middot, or negative character traits you still need to work on, in the run up to Seder night? Simple! Just take a look at how you’re coping with your Pesach cleaning this year, and you’ll learn a whole ton about what spiritual stuff you may need to work on.

To help you figure things out, I’ve put together some common cleaning scenarios, and their deeper meaning.

SCENARIO 1: PROCRASTINATION

Yes, you know Pesach is in two days’ time, but in the meantime you still haven’t managed to even so much as clean behind the couch.

If this is happening to you, there’s probably a whole bunch of other important stuff you’re kind of ignoring or not dealing with, and hoping it will all just work itself out somehow.

Things to work on over the Omer:

• Taking responsibility
• Reducing the sense of panic and overwhelm that’s holding you back in life

SCENARIO 2: PERFECTIONIST / CONTROL FREAK

You cleaned the house straight after Chanuka, and switched your family over to a strict ‘gluten-free’ diet at home, to make things a little easier heading into the Chag.

Whenever a cookie crumb drops on the floor, you go into emergency ‘chametz removal’ mode, and your kids and husband are permanently walking around with PTSD (PESACH Traumatic Stress Disorder…)

If this sounds like your cleaning style, then you may well be over-reacting, over-controlling and over-planning in other areas of your life, too, instead of going with the flow more and putting God more into the picture.

Things to work on over the Omer:

• Building more emuna, especially the idea that Ein Od Milvado – you aren’t responsible for keeping the world going
• Developing more flexibility
• Letting go of the desire to do things ‘perfectly’, and accepting yours (and other people’s limitations) a little more happily

SCENARIO 3: GETTING OTHER PEOPLE TO DO THE WORK FOR YOU

Sometimes, when we’re working hard, or have our hands full, there really isn’t a lot of choice except to outsource as much of the Pesach cleaning as possible.

But if that’s a regular habit (and there isn’t a good reason for it like illness, pregnancy, or birth, etc), then you may want to explore what other important things in your life you are trying to get out of, and why.

Other people can clean our houses, but no-one else can do the hard work of really searching out our internal chametz and bad middot.

Things to work on over the Omer:

• Finding more meaning and joy in mitzvot
• Connecting more to the spiritual dimension of Jewish life and observance
• Working on feeling more grounded and present in the now

These are just some ideas to get your own creative juices flowing, but Hashem has built a great opportunity for personal development into the preparation for Pesach.
If you pay attention to the obstacles and challenges you face this year when you’re cleaning for Pesach, I guarantee you’ll learn some very interesting things about yourself, and what may be keeping you back in other areas of your life, too.

(In case you’re wondering, my main challenge at the moment is that I’m in complete denial that Pesach is around the corner, which is why I’m typing this instead of cleaning my bedroom…)

The last tip is to make a list of the 10 things you most want to ‘get rid of’, when it comes to bad middot, and to place one in each of the ten bags of chametz we burn after bedikat chametz.

As your bonfire is going up in smoke (and hopefully not spreading to the nearest tree or flammable bottle bank….), take a couple of minutes to ask God to really help you get all the chametz out of your home this Pesach, including the breadcrumbs, bagels and bad middot.

 

Rivka LevyRivka Levy is a writer,  journalist, and blogger.  She’s the author of several books on God-based holistic health with a Jewish twist. Levy made aliya from the UK in 2005, and now lives in Jerusalem.

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