Bedikas Chometz 5780

We are now at erev bedikas chometz, the day before checking our homes for chometz. This ceremony, which fulfills the halachic purpose of being certain we no longer have chometz in our house, has mostly become a symbolic rite practically speaking, due to the cleanliness of our homes from days to weeks of cleaning. One must check every room of the house they’ve taken food into, and it must be done with three implements: a candle, a feather, and a wooden spoon. The spoon and the feather are burned.

These tools should be looked at through the lens of Sod, in order to more clearly understand what we accomplish through this. The feather is associated with Avir, Air, because birds fly in the sky; the spoon of wood with Adamah, Earth, because trees grow from the earth; and the candle with Aish, Fire. The candle is used in order to illuminate the area of searching, while the feather is used to sweep the chometz into the spoon.

We can learn a path of self-perfection from this. Fire sparks, מתלהב, this is a hint to the part of a person that becomes hot with avodas Hashem and pushes them to do more all the time. This is the initial push towards removing spiritual chometz in the first place; the desire to seek out what must be removed in order to become closer to Hashem, hence why we use a candle. The feather, represents the Airy power of the intellect, which we must hone through learning Torah. One must evaluate their house, the external metaphor for the mind, with the refined intellect and figure out how to improve themselves from there. The spoon represent physical action, as it corresponds with the Yesod (Element in this context) of Earth. The intellect gets a person to commit to change, and utilizing the body causes that change to occur. The ten pieces of chometz put throughout the house represent the Ten Crowns of Impurity (י׳ כתרין דמסאבותא), which are reflected in us through bad character traits, chas v’chalila. When we burn them we effectively nullify these forces from the world, according to Rabbeinu Chaim Vital zt’l, therefore our kavonno should be to also burn up our own bad middos at the same time.

Hashem should bentsh us all with a healthy, happy, and kosher Pesach. Let it be His will that we should merit to the spiritual and physical presence of Eliyohu HaNovi at our Pesach Sedorim this year, and we should return to Yerushalayim with rejoicing to bring a korban for Pesach Sheni!

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