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Pesach Preparation: Get out leaven!

Pesach is just a week away. This is the beginning of a big week of preparation.

Exodus 12

12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.

The sacrifice of the Passover lamb would occur on Nissan 14. The date of picking the lambs for each family and the nation is Nissan 10. After the sacrifice, there would be the dinner (Seder). That Seder is the kickoff to the seven day feasts of unleavened bread.

Exodus 12

15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.

The Bible calls this matzah (unleavened bread) the "bread of affliction." The bread is not afflicted because it is unleavened, rather it is unleavened because of the affliction they were being delivered from. They did not have time for the bread to rise in the process of deliverance. How quick do you want to be free from sin?

We are reminded during this week prior to Passover that unleavened bread is symbolic of G-d delivering us from our slavery.

As the scripture says we are to remove all the leaven out of our homes on the first day of the feasts of unleavened bread. Over the years the tradition has been to do a deep cleaning of the homes the week before. This cleaning is designed to remove all the "crumbs" that have become hidden over the year. Using boiling water to cleanse pots, pans, dishes and even counters and tables has become part of the cleansing process. None of these rituals or traditions is required Biblically, however, we can glean a great deal from the physical removal of chametz in our homes. G-d uses the natural to work on us in the spirit.

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!

Try me and know my thoughts!

24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting!

Spend the next week preparing your home and your heart for the gift of atonement that is Pesach!

After this great gift of Atonement, G-d expects us to stay unleavened!

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