The weeks before Purim and Pesach are weeks of planning and dedicated eating – eating as much of the chametz in our homes as we can, prior to Pesach. The pasta, the bulghur, the cookies, (so much baking as we use up the flour), checking our pantries for what must be eaten or sold before that first night.
Notice, I have not yet mentioned the cleaning. I start the farthest out from the kitchen – my study – and work in towards the dreaded kitchen! Not that there is much chametz in my study, but over the years I have come to include clutter to be included in that definition. I go through my books, reorganize them, dust shelves, sort through my files – putting hands on what I might not have seen for some time. My sense of order restored, I move into the living room, and similarly restore order.
Torah is much concerned with order. All of those adages about tidy desk, tidy minds is Biblical in my humble opinion. All the sequences of offerings we read about in Leviticus are essentially concerned with restoring personal and public order. A breach of order has occurred, be it from guilt or from sin, and an offering must be made to restore that collective or individual balance. So too, our preparations for Pesach.
Perhaps your practice has not included cleaning your house and contents – but I wonder if this year there might be one room, one corner, one shelf that could use an hour of your time. Whilst restoring calm, think about what inner spaces similarly need a little ordering, a little dusting. What part of our ego might need a little tempering? A little chametz for thought!
With love,Rabbi Lynn