Barukh atah, Ad-noi, El-heinu melekh ha’olom asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu al bi’ur hametz. This translates to "Blessed are you Adonai our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to burn hametz."
Get into a comfortable position ... Loosen any tight clothing.
Take a deep breath … let it go … (x3)
At Rosh Hashanah we engaged in Tashlikh, casting off into the water that which kept us from being aligned with our deeper being – feelings, relationships, unfinished business, habits….. whatever we chose not to take with us into the new year. We asked ourselves: what do we want to leave behind?
As Pesakh approaches, we go on an inner and outer search for hametz – literally, that which has become sour, fermented or leavened. Physically, hametz is the product of a transformational process – grape juice become wine, and ultimately, it ferments into vinegar. Flour and water make matzah; flour and water, when exposed to air and time, become bread.
Spiritual hametz are those ethics, ideals, and responses that we’ve allowed to grow or fester, covering up or blocking access to our spiritual basics, those essential, critical values of our lives. When we don’t pay attention, these essentials begin to get covered up. By living our true values, we are able to continue on the journey to freedom. There really is no shortcut to becoming a truly free person, in the highest Jewishly spiritual sense of the word. Intense preparation is required in order to achieve that goal. And this month of Nissan is the time to search for and sweep away any hametz that we find inside, keeping us from being our most liberated and free selves.
Using your inner wisdom as a light, search in the attic and the basement, the crevices and the crannies, the corners of unused rooms. Look in your pockets for traces of Mitzrayim.
Notice anything in your life that seems to have gone sour – lost its sweetness. Has your innate idealism become overgrown with cynicism, or your joy been smothered into malaise?
Is this a place in your life where you can start fresh, begin anew? If the answer is yes, imagine that you are sweeping this bit of hametz into a pile.
Notice anything that has become fermented or over-ripe. Is there any part of your life that has overstayed its welcome, lost its original form and rich color, become shapeless, moldy or gray? Is this a place in your life where you can start fresh, begin anew? If the answer is yes, imagine that you are sweeping this bit of hametz into a pile.
Now, notice anything that has become too leavened, puffed up, exaggerated, grown beyond its natural form – something that has taken on the appearance of substance, but is in fact, only an illusion. Has accomplishment burgeoned into conceit, or striving into competition? Ask yourself once more, is this a place in your life where you can start fresh, begin anew? If the answer is yes, imagine that you are sweeping this bit of hametz into a pile.
Sour, fermented, or leavened. All is swept into a pile. We are making room for the renewal of spring – making room for a new beginning.
When you are ready, open your eyes, and if you like, write down the words that express the spiritual hametz that you found and are ready to burn.
BRUSH THESE PAPERS INTO THE PAN. GO OUTSIDE…
All that rises up bitter
All that rises up prideful
All that rises up in old ways no longer fruitful
All hametz still in my possession
But unknown to me
Which I have not seen nor disposed of
May it find common grave
With the dust of the earth
Amen, amen selah
Looking at this pile of hametz – what were the raw materials, the original values that you strove to embody, to define yourself? Perhaps ahavah/love, rakhamim/compassion, hesed/lovingkindness, shalom/peacefulness, self-awareness, gratitude, idealism, courageousness, generosity, simkhah/joyfulness, curiosity, intellectual honesty, trust, and emunah/faith. Take a few moments, and invite them to join you again, in their basic, natural form.
Let’s return to the room and re-gather in our closing circle.
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