#BlogExodus – Chameitz as learning, art, and luck

I get it: get the chameitz, leavening out of the house before Passover. The Israelites had to leave Egypt in great haste that they had no time to let their bread rise before having to pack it all and leave.

For anyone who has ever tried to bake fresh bread, you know that there is chemistry, art, and luck all involved. The chemistry is having the water temperature just right so that the yeast will not die from being too hot or too cold – yes, think of the three little bears, that climate has to be just right for the yeast to do it’s thing…grow! Not to mention, mixing the yeast and water with some sugar to feed those little yeast creatures – what a great brood of bubbling goodness. The art; to get it all mixed together and holding tight, there is the art of kneading. Not to fast, not too slow. Don’t pull too hard and don’t be too gentle. Get the mass of ingredients mixed just right so that it can sit in a warm spot (chemistry again) allowing the dough to rest and rise. And then there’s luck; you’ve followed all the instructions passed on from generation to generation. You hope the yeast is still alive and the temperature seems just right for rising, but you still have to cross those fingers and hope that luck is on your side and the bread will rise to satisfy your hunger.

It takes time, it takes patience, it takes art to make a perfect loaf of bread, let alone the challah that will make our Shabbat table that much more special. But there is no time, there is only haste and the need to hurry. And when that happens, we are only left with a tight, heavy, mound of bread – too hard to eat, too touch to break, too challenging to enjoy.

Get the chameitz out of your house, hurry! And then during the week of remembering and celebrating our freedom, remember: when you return the chameitz into your home, do so with knowledge and learning (chemistry); art and the careful consideration of traditions passed down from one generation to the next – you can’t rush everything in life; and luck – we can always use a little faith that it will all turn out just right.