As many of us look at our Seders in the rear-view mirror (and I hope they were joyous and meaningful Seders), we still have the prospect of plenty of Matzah in our near future. Matzah is the symbol of the Exodus from Egypt, the bread of affliction and ultimately it is the culinary actualization of a chametz free-world.
Chametz is the name for those things that do not pass the Passover test. It is the name for foods that have been allowed to leaven - to puff up, to expand or to enlarge. The foods we eat during Passover are the ones that fall in line behind the Matzah and limit their amount of puffing, or expanding or enlarging.
Let us not only think of Chametz as a culinary category, for that only touches the surface of the depth of Chametz. Chametz names a spiritual element, as well. It describes what happens to human beings when we make choices that cause 'puffing up', expansion and general enlargement that is detrimental to our collective well being. While, this kind of Chametz may be more difficult to find than the food related Chametz that we find in our pantries each year - this kind of Chametz may be more pervasive in our lives.
Now that Passover has arrived and houses around the world have been successfully searched for Chametz, it is time for another kind of search for Chametz to commence. Pay attention to the puffiness, expansion and enlargement in your life. What choices have you made that have caused an unnecessary and possibly harmful expansion of your physical world? Parts of your body or your home may feel as if there is too much of something (or many things). What decisions have you made that have caused a destructive and limiting puffiness in your spiritual world? You may be feeling emotions or harboring attitudes that have become so large that they inhibit your ability to make loving connections with those closest to you.
The fact of the matter is that in our efforts to make our way in this world and create safe and nurturing places for us and our loved ones - we can make, collect and acquire too much for our own good. So much stuff - things, emotions, attitudes - that it gets is the way of living and loving. Don't just spend this week eating Matzah and worrying about putting Chametz in your mouth, accept the gift and challenge that Passover offers to consider and pay attention to the Chametz that you put into your mind, your heart and your soul.